Monday, 5 August 2013

Classic Love - Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic Edition

Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

In this feature I will portray some of my favourite Classic (thus non-YA) books.

This week:

dystopia is a community or society, usually fictional, that is in some important way undesirable or frightening. It is the opposite of a utopiaDystopias are often characterized by dehumanization, totalitarian governments, environmental disaster, or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society. 

Post-apocalyptic fiction is set in a world or civilization after a catastrophe. The time frame may be immediately after the catastrophe, focusing on the travails or psychology of survivors, or considerably later, often including the theme that the existence of pre-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten (or mythologized). - Wikipedia

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Tired of their servitude to man, a group of farm animals revolt and establish their own society, only to be betrayed into worse servitude by their leaders, the pigs, whose slogan becomes: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Published in 1945, this powerful satire of the Russian Revolution under Stalin remains as vivid and relevant today as it was on its first publication.

I absolutely loved this book! It is a funny story on its own, but if you know what the story actually mocks you'll appreciate the book even more.

1984 by George Orwell

Winston Smith works for the Ministry of truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent - even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101 . . . 
Ninteen Eighty-Four is George Orwell's terrifying vision of a totalitarian future in which everything and everyone is slave to a tyrannical regime.

This book's subject of Big Brother and government control is a very actual subject. The society is scary, but unfortunately pretty realistic. 

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Far in the future, the World Controllers have finally created the ideal society. In laboratories worldwide, genetic science has brought the human race to perfection. From the Alpha-Plus mandarin class to the Epsilon-Minus Semi-Morons, designed to perform menial tasks, man is bred and educated to be blissfully content with his pre-destined role.
But, in the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, Bernard Marx is unhappy. Harbouring an unnatural desire for solitude, feeling only distaste for the endless pleasures of compulsory promiscuity, Bernard has an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress…

Brave New World is a great book! It is one of the few books with a POV of an outsider, someone who doesn't live in the dystopian society.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

William Golding's compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At first it seems as though it is all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious and life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic and death. As ordinary standards of behaviour collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with them—the world of cricket and homework and adventure stories—and another world is revealed beneath, primitive and terrible. Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was first published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. Though critically acclaimed, it was largely ignored upon its initial publication. Yet soon it became a cult favorite among both students and literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought and literature.
Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies has established itself as a true classic.

Lord of the Flies may not be the typical dystopian, but it is. The boys form a society on the island, but it is far from ideal and is based on fear. If that is a bit too far-fetched it is definitely a post-apocalyptic story, with stranding on the island the catastrophe for the boys.

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

Bill Masen, bandages over his wounded eyes, misses the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. Removing his bandages the next morning, he finds masses of sightless people wandering the city. He soon meets Josella, another lucky person who has retained her sight, and together they leave the city, aware that the safe, familiar world they knew a mere twenty-four hours before is gone forever.
But to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids, strange plants that years before began appearing all over the world. The Triffids can grow to over seven feet tall, pull their roots from the ground to walk, and kill a man with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers. With society in shambles, they are now poised to prey on humankind. Wyndham chillingly anticipates bio-warfare and mass destruction, fifty years before their realization, in this prescient account of Cold War paranoia.

From this list this is probably the least known book. It is a post-apocalyptic book with some sci-fi elements.

All of these books did not have any too difficult language and were very intriguing and exciting. I would recommend them to everyone!
Some other examples of Classic Dystopian or Post-apocalyptic fiction:

  • Fahrenheit 451
  • Battle Royale
  • The Road
  • Handmaid's Tale
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • We

Have you read (some of) these books? Do you have any other dystopian recommendations?


  1. I had to Lord of the Flies in high school and I hated it.

    I always wanted to read something by George Orwell, but somehow, I never had the chance to. Maybe in the near future. So many books, so little time...

  2. Uh-oh, I haven'r read any of these, but Fahrenheit 451, 1984 and Brave New World sound so interesting! And I think I've watched the A Clockwork Orange movie... but I'm not sure.

    I've read a few dystopian books, like Divergent and Shatter Me... I'm not a big fan of that genre for some reason.

  3. The only time I've read a classic was in high school. I have read Lord of the Flies and I actually enjoyed it which was a shock to me. Great post :)

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  4. I remember enjoying BRAVE NEW WORLD and LORD OF THE FLIES when I was in high school - both were fascinating. I still need to read the other books sometime soon!

    Great post :)

  5. I love dystopian and post-apocalyptic books. I've read some of the classics, like Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies. Handmaid's Tale was excellent, although disturbing. I've heard great things about The Giver, which is considered a classic, but I've never read it. The other day I was in Barnes & Noble and I saw Cinder on the Summer Reading List for some school (not sure how Cinder would be classified, I guess more sci-fi/fantasy). Still, how fun would that be to read for school? ~Pam

  6. The Giver is still on my TBR list, I heard incredible things about it too:) I would say Cinder is sci-fi, yes:) Oh, yes, I'd have loved to read YA books in high school!

  7. Hope you like these other books too!

  8. That's a pity you don't like dystopians! I hope you don't have too much trouble with finding dystopian-free YA books (there aren't a lot these days it seems..) I thought the clockwork orange movie was a bit weird, I wouldn't base my opinion on that one:)

  9. That book was indeed quite shocking and horrifying! I hope you got some other book suggestions from this post :)

  10. This is JUST the post I need! I am really wanting to read some classics, I feel I haven't read enough. This also fits right in with my obsession with dystopia and post-apocalyptic books at the moment! I am ashamed to say that I have only read Lord of the Flies, but I've heard of The Road, 1984, Fahrenheit 451 and A Clockwork Orange. I shall keep all these in mind as I next go to the library/book shop!

  11. I actually just finished 1984 recently and was really disappointed with Winston's story. I thought the ideas of Big Brother and the Party and the world in the book were all interesting, but I just got so bored of Winston and Julia and it dragged the book down for me. I posted a mini-review of it recently and I'm also going to elaborate more on a post on Friday about the interrogation part of the book, which to me was the strongest part of the book without a doubt.

    I do want to read Brave New World sometime but haven't yet.

  12. I'm definitely going to have to check these out, because I haven't really read any classics.

  13. Hope you like them, they're really good!

  14. I thought that part with W & J was least interesting too, but the rest of the book was amazing in my opinion:) The interrogation indeed was very powerful, looking forward to your post about it!

  15. I'm glad this post is helpful to you! Hope you enjoy those books, they're really good:)

  16. I'm a little embarrassed to say the only one I've read from those listed is Lord of the Flies, which I remember loving. I should check out the others too. Thanks for sharing!

  17. I hope you enjoy the others too:)

  18. This is by far my favorite genre! You have some great choices up here. The only classics I can think to add are The Giver by Lois Lowry and Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (it's from 1993. Is 20 years long enough to be considered classic? Who determines that anyways??). I'm almost finished reading The Handmaid's Tale!

  19. I haven't read those, but The Giver is on my TBR and I will check the other one out:) The handmaid's tale was pretty shocking, did you like it?


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