Tag Archives: dystopian

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

I know Monday is usually a review of short fiction, but I’m in the middle of five different books right now (a read aloud with the kids, the audiobook we started and didn’t finish on our trip to the outskirts of Philly this weekend for a gymnastics meet, a book Mr. Curiosity and I are reading together for school, and two books for my pleasure because I couldn’t help starting the second one) and I just can’t manage to add another to the mix without my brain exploding. So, another book review it is.

For our last read aloud, Mr. Curiosity requested a science fiction book. I actually had a hard time coming up with something that was the right length (I like novella length so the book doesn’t take forever to finish) and something I wanted to read to the kids. After looking through a bunch of recommendations, I settled on this classic. It’s something I read in high school, but remember very little of (beyond things like “Ending is better than Mending”).

Published: 1932

Genre: science fiction

Length: 152 pages

Setting: near future London

Summary: Short version: In the future, we consume, not think. Continue reading


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Solar Crossroads by Claire Davon

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: October 2016 in Chronicle Worlds: Paradisi

Genre: science fiction short story

Setting: near Earth, near future

Summary: In eight words: Pregnant wife leaves sick husband for new world Continue reading

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Pretties by Scott Westerfield

This is the second book in the Uglies series. Mr. Curiosity started reading the series and I decided to try to finish the series while the book was in the house.

Published: 2005

Genre: dystopian YA

Length: 370 pages

Setting: New Pretty Town, soon after the events of Uglies

Font: Berkely Book Continue reading

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

This is a classic science fiction story that is referenced on a regular basis. I had never read it and decided to rectify that hole in my reading list.

Published: 1953 originally. My edition had end notes from 1979 and 1982 as well

Genre: science fiction dystopia

Length: 179 pages

Setting: an American city sometime in an alternate future Continue reading

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What I Will Be Reading #31: from the Modern Mrs. Darcy

Between listening to What Should I Read Next and reading Modern Mrs. Darcy’s blog, I could keep my to-be-read list in an ever-growing state of wishing for more time. I’ll share a few of the books I’ve recently been interested in from her site.

I try not to add every book I hear Anne describe on her podcast, but she’s great at making books sound interesting. For the one-year anniversary (episode 62), Anne gathered suggestions from the listeners of what she should read next. I thought several of the books sounded good, including: Continue reading

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The Giver by Lois Lowry

Published: 1993

Genre: dystopian YA

Length: 179 pages

Setting: an unnamed Community, sometime in the future

Interest: It’s recommended many places as a great story for kids. Mr. Curiosity decided it would make a good bedtime story.

Summary: Jonas is almost a Twelve, but he has no idea what job he’ll be assigned at the yearly Ceremony. He’s chosen to become the Receiver of Memory, a unique job in the Community. The Giver is the holder of all the memories of the world Before, when choice and differences and bad things were possible. As Jonas receives memories from the Giver, he realizes how limited life in his Community is. He and the Giver devise a plan where Jonas will leave the Community and head Elsewhere. This should result in all his newly-transferred memories being released back to the people. The plan is accelerated when Jonas learns the newchild his family has been raising is scheduled for release.

Final thoughts: I can totally see why this book is recommended so often and won the Newbery Medal. It really made you think about how life was different for Jonas and if those changes were good. I liked how Lowry kept sneaking in details that made Jonas’ world seem more and more alien (assigned families, assigned jobs, Precision of Language, Release if you were old or didn’t fit in, sharing of feelings, etc.). Mr. Curiosity was shocked when he discovered they had given up the ability to see color to improve their sameness. The worst of it was, the people had no idea what they were missing. There were so many rules to follow, and if you couldn’t follow them, you were Released (which Jonas discovered did not mean going to another Community. It meant you were killed). And the ending was so ambiguous – did he save Jonas or did they both die of exposure in the mountains? I think he was hallucinating at the end, but it’s not clear so a kid can think they were saved.

The book worked very well as a read aloud. The chapters were the perfect length for a single night of reading, and there weren’t too many voices that I had to do. Each night, we were left wanting to read more, which is good incentive to get ready for bed in time the next night.

Awards won: Newbery Award in 1994

Title comes from: The Giver’s job

Reading challenges fulfilled: 48/100 in my Finally to 100 Challenge, and 10/12 in my Award Winning Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


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We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

Published: written in 1921 in Russian, originally published in English in 1924, 2009 in this particular translation

Genre: dystopian science fiction

Length: 216 pages

Setting: the City, a future time

Interest: It was suggested somewhere as an influential, classic science fiction book.

Summary: Δ-503 is a mathematician working on The Integral, a space ship designed to take their perfect, mathematical society to the stars. Society has become perfectly regimented so everyone knows their place and what to do at all times during the day. But things are not as perfect as Δ-503 believes. He becomes involves with I-330, who absolutely fascinates him. She’s part of a conspiracy to bring down the Glass Wall (that separates their perfect city from wild, untamed nature). Δ-503 is willing to do anything to keep I-330’s attentions, but in the end, the conspiracy is crushed and everyone gets their imaginations surgically removed so they are perfectly happy.

Final thoughts: This reminded me a lot of Brave New World and 1984, which it should since We inspired those books. Sadly, neither of those books is high on my list of favorites. It takes a while to get into the book, since you have to get a picture of the society, and Δ-503 isn’t very good at describing the society he takes for granted as absolutely perfect. Of course, not everyone’s going to be happy in the regimented society. It shows the Russian mindset of the author that the State wins in the end, not the revolutionaries. It’s interested to see Δ-503 change from a cog in the wheel (and a happy one at that) to someone who wants something (to be with I-330). He’s willing to do anything to get what he wants, even break out of his mold in society.

Title comes from: The narrator names the book. It is an attempt to record what “we” think about events (since he considers himself a spokesman for society.

Awards won: a Prometheus Award in 1994

Reading challenges fulfilled: 67/100 in my 100 Book Challenge, a Z in my Author’s Alphabet Soup Challenge, and (I didn’t realize until I started the book) a Classic in Translation in my Back to the Classics Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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