Trump in charge of America.
Boris Johnson looking after the UK’s foreign affairs.
A ‘loose woman’ won Celebrity Big Brother.
You’d be forgiven for thinking we don’t need any dystopian fictions to liven up our day to day wanderings – after watching the news perhaps we’re all bleaked out. But perhaps that’s exactly why we do need them.
Fiction helps us to understand our world. It helps us to think through the dark things. It helps us to wonder about what might be further down the line. With sales of Orwell’s 1984 heading through the roof over the last few months, here’s a few I’d add to the list if you want to exchange the current dark weirdness for some fictional dark weirdness.
- The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
One of the first books I remember reading as a kid and sticking with me. Having a handicapped brother may have made it resonate particularly strongly, but I can’t recommend this book enough – equal parts scary and riveting.
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Surely a classic of dystopian fiction. Many essays abound, and with a TV series on the cards if you’ve not read this book yet I’d suggest you get in there quick.
- Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Beautifully sad. A perfect rendition of a reality slightly different to our current one, but not so far removed as to be completely unknown.
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
I read this fairly literally. All my friends were talking about the metaphors, and I was talking about some pigs and a horse. However you read it, there’s some horrifically scary stuff in here.
- The Death House by Sarah Pinborough
At some point I’ll post something a bit more coherent about this book, but suffice to say it made me cry. With sadness, with horror and with hope.
Sometimes dystopian fiction is about small changes, sometimes it’s about world changing events. Whatever you think it is, it’s normally an insight into human nature, and more often than not, a warning.
And it’s important to remember that warning.
Because sometimes the little things, the small changes, result in extreme consequences.
And we should not let these things happen without taking care, without being conscious.
Because if we’re not conscious of these changes, people get hurt. A lot of people get hurt. You get hurt.
So, there’s my pick of five. There’s plenty more, and there’s a lot on my to-be-read pile, but what would you have on your list? Share in the comments or on Twitter or on Facebook. I also accept carrier pigeons but be aware that the Diester may get too excited about that, and I cannot guarantee the safe return of any feathered friends.
Stay safe, fiends, and take care of yourself and those around you.