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Dystopian recommeded reads? And what has become cliche in it?

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by LeoWolfish, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. LeoWolfish

    LeoWolfish Scribe

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    OK so I have read all three of the hunger games books, one and a bit of the three books in the divergent series. I have also read, though I am not sure if it counts, Lord of the flies. But this was years ago at school and we also watched the movie so I can not remember what was or wasn't in the book. And I have seen it listed as dystopian.

    So my question is what would you recommend reading next after I finish the divergent series and what would you say are the worst examples in this genre or sub genre? I did like the hunger games books, though the last one felt a bit flat with how it started. I like divergent so far but haven't got very far into the second one. Apparently from what little I know about the third book it has some unnecessary deaths according to some.

    Also what would you say had become cliche, as in seen in most dystopian fiction to the point of overuse?

    I ask because I am contemplating doing one as a writing project for both practice and to get my brain working. Since I seem to be enjoying reading them at the moment.
     
  2. Noma Galway

    Noma Galway Archmage

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    I read the first book of the Matched series and it kept me interested, but then Crossed is the sequel and it isn't good at all, IMHO. I don't know others just off the top of my head, though.

    As for cliches within the genre, I do not have any expertise here. Dystopian fiction is not really my thing (though I love reading it). I haven't learned much about it.
     
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  3. LeoWolfish

    LeoWolfish Scribe

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    I just looked up what the matched series is. I will give the first book a look at then decide on the second from there. I am not sure how I feel about Disney making a movie out of it based on the premise though. I am not saying it will be a bad thing but there is a danger that it could turn into a teen soup drama type thing.
     
  4. Darkblade

    Darkblade Troubadour

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    Before you read any other contemporary dystopian fiction go back to the basics.

    1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell are essential reads in general but especially if you have an interest in dystopias.
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is likewise an important classic that set the bar for every dystopia to come out after it.
    We by Yevgeny Zamyatin rounds out the main dystopian canon, it was originally written in Russian and translated decades ago so it's language may seem a little odd but it furthers the same ideals.

    From there you may want to do some historical research, if only to look for ideas that haven't been done to death by fiction. Look into the rise of fascism in Europe in the early twentieth century, communism in Eastern Europe, Asia and South America, Margret Thatcher in the UK, the Taliban in Afghanistan and McCarthyism in the United States. Those are just some starting points, from there you might find some other avenues of research since history is full of horrific governing bodies all over the world.

    Other quality dystopia literature in no particular order:
    The Only Boy by Jordan Loke
    The Trial and In the Penal Colony by Franz Kafka
    The Giver by Lois Lowry
    A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
    Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
    Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
    Neuromancer by William Gibson
    Perdido Street Station, The Scar (to a lesser extent than the other two) and The Iron Council by China Miéville
    Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

    I hope this helps.
     
  5. kirai

    kirai Dreamer

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    Darkblade recommended some great ones. I would like to further recommend 1984, Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, and my personal favorite, The Giver.
     
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  6. LeoWolfish

    LeoWolfish Scribe

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    I will admit that I haven't read a brave new world yet. Though I did see the movie and I am aware that they changed a great deal. I must add that to my list. I did read Animal farm in school, along with lord of the flies and of mice and men if that one counts. I have always wanted to read Battle royale but have only ever found it in manga form. (I assume that I am thinking of the correct series that was based on a novel anyway).

    Oh and as someone who is from the UK Thatcher was one of my first thoughts :D. But I don't think I will base my story around what she did and didn't do though.

    I will give The giver and Fahrenheit 451 a look see as well. Thank you all for these so far. I will give as many of these a read as possible. Starting with the rest of the divergent series and a brave new world.

    That being said I have been reading/ looking up what other people see to be cliches in YA dystopian fiction and it seems people are getting tired of having love triangles. Is this more common in modern dystopian fiction or has it always been the case for the most part?
     
  7. kirai

    kirai Dreamer

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    Love triangles are becoming common across all genres. Nothing is more romantic than when the MC decides whom they love more. Love triangles are not a bad thing. But if I'm not reading/watching romance, it gets annoying. The MC is trying to save the world. She doesn't have time to pick which guy she likes best.

    Writers typically use love triangles as a source of drama and tension, like a sub-plot. I personally don't write love triangles. If I am going to write romance, I prefer a one-on-one relationship that's healthy and endearing.

    The biggest issue is when the love triangle becomes the plot. If the genre isn't romance, love triangles and love interests shouldn't take over or take away from the plot. With the Hunger Games, some people fell in the Team Trap: Team Peeta or Team Gale. It was silly to me because Katniss is so much more than just a prize to be won. The best response I saw to this was when they interviewed the actress who plays Primrose. When asked which team she fell on, she replied, "I'm Team Katniss."
     
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  8. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    I'd say start with almost anything by Philip K Dick.
    Man in the High Castle [for all it faults] and Do androids dream of electric sheep are two of my favourites...
     
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  9. LeoWolfish

    LeoWolfish Scribe

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    I loved that interview as I also found the whole team Peeta/ Gale thing stupid. Personally I have never been much of a romance fan though I don't hate it either. I guess this is why I liked the divergent series (based on what I have read so far), a little more than the hunger games series. Because not only is there no love triangle as far as I can tell but it just seems a bit more believable in terms of build up. That being said I plan to have mine more a group of friends type thing. I have not decided if I will include any romance or not.

    I shall add them to my list. Thank you both.
     
  10. Jake Belsten

    Jake Belsten Dreamer

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    I will give The giver and Fahrenheit 451 a look see as well. Thank you all for these so far. I will give as many of these a read as possible. Starting with the rest of the divergent series and a brave new world.

    That being said I have been reading/ looking up what other people see to be cliches in YA dystopian fiction and it seems people are getting tired of having love triangles. Is this more common in modern dystopian fiction or has it always been the case for the most part?

    Remember you could always take what Thatcher did as a basis for your story, but make it as a fictional allegory to what really happened, as is often used in dystopian stuff - good example is Animal Farm. I sometimes think thats some of the best uses of fantasy/sci-fi - using fantasy to share you thoughts about reality. :)
     
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  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Maybe:

    The Time Machine (Wells)
    Cat's Cradle (Vonnegut)
    The Road (McCarthy)
     
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  12. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Loved "The Road"
     
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  13. DassaultMirage

    DassaultMirage Minstrel

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    Try Steelheart. Not 100 percent dystopian, but pretty close.
     
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  14. LeoWolfish

    LeoWolfish Scribe

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    Thank you everyone I have a good list now. I will also reconsider about the Margret Thatcher thing.
     
  15. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    I didn't enjoy The Road as much I expected I would. However, I picked up Blood Meridian a while back and man, that's a freaking book. It's not as casual as I usually prefer my books, but it's one of those I'd highly recommend if you're in the mood for more "literary" fiction.

    I agree with the other earlier recommendations of 1984, Brave New World, and a lot of Philip K. Dick's work. I also recently read Neuromancer and that's a pretty intricate book (although easily one of the best written I've read in the SFF genres). I believe modern dystopian fiction and classic dystopian fiction seem to be widely different, so if you're looking for more stuff like The Hunger Games, those aforementioned books may not necessarily be up your alley. I'd still recommend them though.
     
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  16. LeoWolfish

    LeoWolfish Scribe

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    OK I have just finished re reading the first two hunger games books and have also read half way through Matched. I will read Brave new world after that followed by Insergent and the last hunger games book Mockingjay.

    @Philip Overby I have not actually heard of Neuromancer but from what I can tell it is probably something I would read. So I will try and get a copy at some point along with Blood Meridian since I have heard of that one but never read it.

    Thank you all again. I will look into all of these though I may not read all of them. I am not sure if I want to read Allegiant for example based on what little I do know about the book that has been spoiled for me. Steelheart as suggested by DassaultMirage also seems like a good idea though since it might give me some good ideas of what to do if my dystopian novel mutates into something not quiet dystopian. Plus it is just a good excuse to read a new book.

    As far as old versus new though I honestly could not say which I prefer since it is the newer ones that are freshest in my mind at the moment. And I haven't read much of either. Yet.
     

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