DYSTOPIAN FICTION- comparisons and reviews...

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danceu4ia
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DYSTOPIAN FICTION- comparisons and reviews...

Post by danceu4ia » 16 Jan 2007 10:40 pm

I've noticed that many topics in the "Epilogue" section have to do with dystopian fiction-fiction that is set in a world that has tried to achieve a utopia (perfect society) and yet has failed miserably.

Here I thought we could also post more recent dystopian novels that we enjoyed...starting with me then! :D


The classics I know of:

Fahrenheit 451
Handmaids Tale
1984
Brave New World


A new one I just found in my local library:

Uglies -Scott Westerfeld

Published as a Young Adult novel, I felt this novel covered all the bases of a dystopian fiction, and had quite believable characters.

Part one of a trilogy (have yet to read the other 2) the protagonist Tally, is an Ugly, a 15 year old waiting for her "pretty" operation, which occurs when she is 16. Born and bred to anticipate this moment, the reader realizes that all children hate themselves, and think they are truly ugly until their 16th birthday.

Tally never questions this, until she meets another girl, Shay, who hates the adoration of the Pretties, and who longs to have a choice in the matter. Shay plants a seed of doubt in Tally's mind about the procedure, as all Pretties are not only the same physically, but mentally as well.She escapes to a colony of permanent Uglies, called the Smoke, leaving Tally with the biggest decision of her life.

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Post by AngharadTy » 17 Jan 2007 08:22 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dy ... literature

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (better known as Blade Runner, a movie) is quite good.

Logan's Run (also a movie) is... interesting, if not to my taste. Might be because I saw the movie first, when I was already an adult, and it's cheesy and has eye-rollingly bad special effects. Derek and I mocked the tinfoil robot for ages after we saw it.

Shade's Children is one of my favorite post-apocalyptic stories, though it's YA fiction (I happen to adore YA fiction). It's by Garth Nix, who is very popular for his Sabriel books, but less known for his other work.

I personally find it hard to define dystopian literature. Science fiction in general is typically created by taking an element of science or society and raising it to a maximum. Dystopian stories do the same thing, with narrower selections of elements that are exaggerated. So in a way, dystopian fiction is a subset of science fiction in general. However, so many books have dystopian elements without being in the dystopian literature category that it's hard to just discuss that limited label. If I went through my bookshelf, I could pick out dozens of books that have elements of an anti-utopia, but I wouldn't call them dystopian.
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Post by danceu4ia » 17 Jan 2007 09:27 pm

A dystopia (alternatively, cacotopia[1], kakotopia or anti-utopia) is a fictional society that is the antithesis of utopia. It is usually characterized by an oppressive social control, such as an authoritarian or totalitarian government.

Some academic circles distinguish between anti-utopia and dystopia. A dystopia does not pretend to be good, while an anti-utopia appears to be utopian or was intended to be so, but a fatal flaw or malefactor has perverted it.[2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dystopia

(Yes wikipedia isn't the most reliable, but its the same as my class notes, and I'm not riffling through THOSE for definitions. :P)


Since a dystopian novel usually is set in the future, as a warning for society, then yes, there would be many science fiction aspects to these novels as well, most are probably defined as just Science Fiction, but if this board was just for science fiction, then how broad this board would be!

If anyone has novels with dystopian (or anti utopian) notes in it, they are welcome to this board as well...
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Post by AngharadTy » 17 Jan 2007 09:45 pm

I find it fairly condescending to quote a definition of a word I was just discussing, as if I don't know what it means. Especially when the page you linked is one I accessed earlier, in order to get to the list of dystopian novels, which was in my previous post.

I was trying to open up a discussion on science fiction's dystopian qualities in general, and expressing my distaste for the term, based on my experience as a reader (and sometime writer, as well).
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Post by danceu4ia » 18 Jan 2007 04:56 am

:oops:

I'm afraid I did it again...talking on a parallel...I seem to do it all the time nowadays.

I also was intending to open up the board with a better definition than what I had left it off with, sorry. :(


Back to the books...I found the titles of the other Scott Westerfeld "Uglies" series, and it shows Tally's progression into the depths of this society. Titled "Pretties" and "Specials" I can't wait until they come to my local library!
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Post by Chandi » 19 Jan 2007 10:47 pm

I'm not sure I can add much on to a discussion of science fiction dystopias, but I find it interesting to discover the term anti-utopia and make the distinction between that and a dystopia. I went through the list Ty posted and didn't find Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand on there, which seems to be a good example of an anti-utopia. They keep trying to fix the government and force everyone to see they have a moral obligation to help everyone else and give up priveleges for the good of the masses, but in truth, it's a miserable world. That's all the more enhanced by a special society that provides a foil to the government.

I also saw the short story The Lottery on there. I read that same story for at least four different classes in high school. Short and to the point. Another one that makes me think of is A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift, though that is more of a satire... hrmph.

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