Table of contents:
- 1. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- 2. "Cat's Cradle" by Kurt Vonnegut
- 3. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
- 4. "Invitation to Execution", Vladimir Nabokov
- 5. "Pit", Andrey Platonov
- 6. "The Sphere" by Dave Eggers
- 7. "Futurological Congress", Stanislav Lem
- 8. "Don't Let Me Go," Kazuo Ishiguro
- 9. "Snail on the Slope", Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
- 10. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
- 11. "City and Stars" by Arthur Clarke
- 12. S.N.U.F.F, Victor Pelevin
- 13. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
- 14. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
- 15. "Submission", Michel Houellebecq
2023 Author: Malcolm Clapton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-22 06:26
For those lovers of dystopias who have already read the most famous works of Orwell, Zamyatin, Huxley and Bradbury.
1. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
A group of boys as a result of a plane crash ends up on a deserted island. Gradually, the guys are divided into two camps. The first builds huts and makes a fire that rescuers can spot from the air. The second one hunts wild pigs and gradually more and more moves to a savage lifestyle with the worship of a certain Beast, according to rumors, living on the island.
Not all children pass the test of a free, uncontrolled life. By the time rescuers find them, both groups are undergoing irreversible changes. The novel, conceived by the author as an ironic story, has become a cult for many generations. William Golding provides each reader with an opportunity to reflect on the origins of evil and moral degradation: is it worth blaming some higher powers for the decline, or are we ourselves carrying the impulse of destruction?
2. "Cat's Cradle" by Kurt Vonnegut
What will people do if an unusually powerful weapon falls into their hands? Of course, they will try to wipe out humanity from the face of the earth, simultaneously justifying themselves with everything they can: from religion to world injustice. Purely like children playing the old rope game "Cat's Cradle". So the heroes of the novel by Kurt Vonnegut are running around with the dangerous substance "ice-nine", which the scientist Felix Honnocker invented on his own head.
Kurt Vonnegut wrote an elegant and very funny (at first glance) story of human stupidity. The main characters are easily guessed by the famous tyrants of the last century. After reading the novel, you will ask a reasonable question: can we draw the appropriate conclusions and avoid this in the future?
3. The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
H. G. Wells describes a classic dystopia: a degraded future society in which inequality has taken monstrous forms. The idle Eloi, the former nobility and elite, have reached the climax of hedonism, while their antagonists, the Morlocks, the descendants of the workers, are forced to live underground like animals. Further more, as the author narrates through the lips of the protagonist, the Time Traveler.
The novel was published in 1895, but since that moment it has not lost an iota of relevance. On the contrary, we, the inhabitants of the 21st century, find more and more in common in modern life with what H. G. Wells described.
4. "Invitation to Execution", Vladimir Nabokov
This novel was published in the homeland of Vladimir Nabokov only 50 years after the first foreign edition came out. The main character is awaiting execution for a terrible crime - being different from those around him. For 30 years, Cincinnatus managed to skillfully disguise himself and hide his true nature from people. Only 20 days separates the hero from the execution. During this time, he rethinks life, communicates with the jailers, relatives and even with his future executioner.
Stamped happiness, hordes of identical faceless and completely understandable (transparent) people or the possibility of self-realization and the right to uniqueness, even at the cost of misfortune - what should be the modern and future society? Vladimir Nabokov leaves us alone with these questions.
5. "Pit", Andrey Platonov
Andrei Platonov wrote a dystopian story in 1930. During the life of the writer, it was not published and was distributed only by samizdat. The work was first published only in 1987. The author harshly criticizes the senselessness of the totalitarian system of the USSR: a group of builders is digging a foundation pit for the first house in a happy future of universal equality. The first guest, a homeless girl Nastya, lives right there, at a construction site. Of all her possessions, she has two coffins: one for sleeping, the other for toys. She is a typical child of the revolution, forced to abandon her past.
At first glance, it may seem that Andrei Platonov confines himself to ruthless criticism of the system, drawing the world of the builders of the future. In fact, the author deeply sympathizes with the heroes. The goal is good, but, as has often happened in history, the funds have pumped up. The modern reader will be able to draw his own analogies in order to be convinced of the correctness of the path of development we have chosen.
6. "The Sphere" by Dave Eggers
The perfect hipster year 1984 has arrived. The brilliant minds of the generation have united in the Sphere company, where everyone respects and appreciates each other, and if they criticize, then very mildly. She brings absolute goodness and builds a world without crime and secrets, because an open and honest person has nothing to hide.
A society without envy and evil, likes for everyone and for free. You no longer need to be ashamed of your own craving for ostentation: the world will be happy to see what you are doing, what you eat and where you go. Dave Eggers raises important questions about the boundaries of personal space.
7. "Futurological Congress", Stanislav Lem
The congress of futurologists, specialists in the future, in the Latin American country was interrupted by the riots of the population, which is more concerned with the issues of the present. The authorities do not come up with anything better than to stop the raging masses with the help of psychotropic drugs. Soon everyone: the protesters, the police, and the futurists themselves - are covered with hallucinations, so much so that it is difficult to figure out where is reality and where is fantasy. One of the scientists turns out to be in the future, in 2039.
Stanislav Lem was one of the first to think about virtual reality and its impact on people's lives. It is believed that his ideas became the basis of the legendary trilogy "The Matrix". Lem expressed his attitude to the virtual world in the ending of the novel.
8. "Don't Let Me Go," Kazuo Ishiguro
A young woman recalls her childhood spent in a boarding school in dystopian Britain at the end of the 20th century. No lyrics, everything is very tough: some people are born in order to become organ donors for others. The heroine was unlucky, she is grown just for the purpose of subsequent use for donation. She and others like her are called clones, and society is not sentimental about them. The freedom of will and choice that has hampered humanity throughout history is finally destroyed. There is no choice, no murmuring, there is duty and purpose.
The British writer of Japanese descent examines the issues of will and freedom that are understandable to every thinking person. Passivity and unwillingness to solve problems of social inequality can go sideways, and you should not rely on a chance to join the successful majority.
9. "Snail on the Slope", Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
Strugatsie called the novel the most significant work and the pinnacle of their creativity. There is a Forest, there are people who are somehow connected with it. Some are watching him, drinking kefir and getting paid for it. Others try to escape from it, sinking more and more. No one knows the Forest one hundred percent, everyone appreciates its strength and power by a tiny piece, visible from a window or accidentally caught under the hands. Everything is chaos, everything is loneliness.
Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, in their characteristic manner, do not give us clear answers to questions that arise in the course of reading. Some see the world in the Forest, others - themselves, and still others are sure that it personifies a political regime, in comparison with which a person is a tiny snail on the side of a mountain. One thing is important - at the will of the authors, the small snail continues to move, and this is its strength.
10. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Published in the late 1950s, the book remains a bestseller to this day and seems to be gaining more and more relevance over the years. Ayn Rand masterfully portrays a dull, helpless and rotting society of those who are not responsible for anything and do nothing. Here everything is turned upside down: an active person looks like a renegade, and a bureaucrat-scribbler is elevated to the rank of a god. The main thing is to skillfully shift responsibility. In contrast to the dying world, a world of creators appears, capable of creating a new society full of work, happiness and job satisfaction with their own hands.
Ayn Rand managed to write a truly philosophical novel, which touches on many topics exciting the enlightened minds. Every word is verified, hollowed out in stone: for example, the writer worked on the main speech of John Gault for two years. The result is a poignant piece that will make you take a different look at life.
11. "City and Stars" by Arthur Clarke
The ancient city of Diaspar is located in the middle of the desert on planet Earth. It is more than a hundred million years old, it is older than eternity itself. Unnamed geniuses provided the Diaspar with machines that made the city immortal. The inhabitants showed little interest in the affairs of other settlements. Smart, calm, indifferent, they did not know fear and never got bored. All the more incomprehensible is the throwing of young Alvin, who is drawn to escape from a paradise place to find out what passions are raging in the rest of the world.
Arthur Clarke makes us think: do we really want peace and will we be satisfied with a quiet measured life in a paradise provided with everything we need? The author convinces readers that there is no development without curiosity, thirst for knowledge and the desire to see the unknown. And even if excessive activity and courage will lead humanity to death, well, something new will come, a new dawn will begin and new people will be pulled along the path that a person has already chosen once.
12. S. N. U. F. F, Victor Pelevin
SNUFF, according to Viktor Pelevin, is Special Newsreel / Universal Feature Film, which can be translated as "special news issue", the very latest news, the showing of which interrupts programs on television. The action of the dystopian novel involves two fictional countries: one is inhabited by orcs, the other is inhabited by business people. The inhabitants of Byzantium, the second state, live, despite their material wealth, hard times.
You can only start a relationship with people over 46 years old, you have to desperately be young and generally look for ways to prolong the eternal beauty and youth. Many found a way out for themselves and started sex robots, quite advanced. One of these "feminine robots" involves its owner, the operator of hot news, in a dashingly twisted alteration. Viktor Pelevin, in his characteristic relaxed manner, makes subtle hints and conducts transparent allegories with the world in which we live today. The author's sinister satire will certainly resonate in the heart of every thoughtful reader.
13. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
“Labor soaked through with pain,” said Anthony Burgess about his novel. He described the scary world in which Alex, the main character, lives. There is no peace here for anyone and no one is protected from the criminal actions of Alex and similar scoundrels. Violence is interspersed with classical music and therefore looks even more monstrous. In prison, where the main character is expected to end up, they are trying to treat him from a tendency to aggression in very unusual ways.
For Anthony Burgess, a clockwork orange is something twisted, abnormal, strange. Together with the author, we reflect on the origins of evil, the causes of violence and our silent obedience to someone else's aggression.
14. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
New "wondrous" times have come for women. They were deprived of freedom of movement, religion, belief and the right to independently manage money. They are forbidden to read, write, know the truth, talk a lot and love. Henceforth and forever, their role has been minimized: fertile ones give birth to children from the elite, the rest live in the backyards or monitor the economy of party bosses - those who are tired of feminism and decided to establish their own rules.
The main character, Fredova, Fred's maid, recalls her past happy life, in which there was a husband and beloved daughter. A secret movement is reaching her, the women's underground, formed by the bravest and most caring women.
Margaret Atwood deliberately leaves the ending of the novel open. This is a great opportunity for us to make sure once again that discrimination on one or another basis is always sad.
15. "Submission", Michel Houellebecq
While we quietly and peacefully enter the midlife crisis, build a career, buy smartphones and like friends, history and big politics are happening next to us. Left, right, centrists - with the usual indifference we wave our hand, we have no time to follow politics, and besides, we do not trust anyone. We do not believe that we can somehow influence life in the country. So far, we are surprised to find that a man of moderate Muslim views is becoming the new president. This is exactly what happens to the protagonist of the novel François, a 40-year-old Parisian professor of literature.
Michel Houellebecq has attempted to reach out to the hearts of modern intellectuals. Own deliberate detachment from politics, according to the writer, can lead to serious social collapse.