In honor of that, I will name my top 5 favorite dystopian novels…
So calque I know.
I’m going to get the obvious out of the way early on. There is a chilling point where the character O’Brien has tortured our hero Winston into oblivion, and more importantly, the suspension of logic…and then states…
Orwell was a high-level elite…he was married into the Wedgewood and the Darwins the Galtuns. He saw heavy combat in the Spanish Civil war and lived a “true” socialist” lifestyle while fighting there and it is detailed in a fantastic book named Homage to Catationia.
There is a poignant moment in the books pages where Obrien is torturing Winston, and the following passage although lengthy is the point:
The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world, there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy – everything. Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future, there will be no wives and no friends. Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. I guess there will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent, we shall have no more need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed.,,.if you want a picture of the future–Imagine a boot stamping on the human face forever!”
Powerful, prescient words!
I vision of the future that is in contrast to 1984 and is a vision that is a self-imposed dystopia.
Brave New World Revisited is also a great read.
Margrett Atwood’s masterpiece published in 1985. She crated the world in which women that are fertile are the property of the state. And de facto properties of the Government which assigns them to wealthy men who have wives who are infertile. Don’t like to read? You are in luck Hulu optioned the book and is currently releasing the series week by week with a three episode dump up front. How kind.
Perhaps more satirical than dystopian but it checks the list of dystopian in my book. Especially in current times. A Russian foreign exchange student tells the story of himself infiltrating a nice American family and it s all told from his perspective. In true Palahniuk, then hilarity ensues.
A very dark novel that tackles an environment which is an ambivalent post-apocalyptic nuclear event. A father and son work their way through this nightmarish scenario.
And full spoiler warning but it includes perhaps the most lucid and lyrical ending to a book I have read:
“Once there were brook trouts in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man, and they hummed of mystery.”
If you can find a more beautiful passage in literature, I encourage you to leave it in the comments…