With all the scary things happening in the national news the last few weeks, I’ve been looking for literary escapes, and one of the genres I always come back to is dystopian fiction. What, you might ask, does dystopian mean? Basically, these stories tell of societies where the government has strict control in the hopes of making everyone’s lives better. Unfortunately, this tight control is usually the reason many people are unhappy and it’s the job of the heroes and heroines in these stories to overcome these oppressive regimes. While this is certainly not the cheeriest fiction, knowing that it is fiction helps me feel better about the real world and hopeful that we can prevent such disastrous events. If you’re interested in escaping into some dystopian fiction, we have several titles that fit the bill at the Prairie State College Library.
One popular recent example of dystopian fiction is The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, which is also in the process of being turned into a series of movies. Here Katniss Everdeen battles the corrupt Capitol government in the arena and beyond.
In all the hype about The Hunger Games and other popular YA dystopian series, it’s hard to remember that dystopian fiction has been around for awhile. One of the earliest dystopian novels, and one of my personal favorites is Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We. Our protagonist D-503’s attempts to understand the possibility of life outside the One State provided the inspiration for other dystopian classics such as Brave New World and 1984 and leaves us with the lesson that “There is no final revolution.” In other words, there will always be someone trying to overcome oppression.
In addition to The Hunger Games and We, there are several other dystopian novels worth trying at the Prairie State College Library and below is just a sampling.