Who doesn’t like to gaze into the future and dream about how wonderful things will soon be?
Not these authors. They are/were more interested in trying to figure out just how bad things could get. And they each created at least one very specific vision of what that might mean.
1. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut was the patron saint of anyone who thought the world was headed straight to hell. But his own visions of what that might look like are so off the wall that they resist imitation. Cat’s Cradle is about a new non-religion, a crazy island republic, a midget, a bunch of poems, and something called Ice-9. Ice-9 was invented for the military, it sits in several little bottles, and ends the world in one of the oddest ways imaginable.
Rating: 90 skeins of thread.
2. 1984 by George Orwell
Read full 1984 book review here. Absolutely perfect in a way that will make you shiver for a week.
Rating: 100 rusty cages of rats.
3. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
In the future of The Handmaid’s Tale women wear weird little hats and red dresses. Oh, and their ovaries are commodities, so the women are kept under lock and key so they’re always handy for reproduction. Women who can no longer reproduce–or who never could–are not treated well.
Rating: 50 million reasons I’m glad I’m a man.
4. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
In the too-near future, gangs of young thugs called “droogs” roam the streets killing, raping, and doing whatever they want. They even speak their own language, a truly brilliant literary creation called “nadsat.” The brutal leader of one of the gangs is captured. He undergoes a scientific experiment that literally cures him of violent urges. It also takes away his love for Beethoven. A Clockwork Orange is a glorious, depraved must read.
Rating: 25 codpieces and false eyelashes.
5. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
A depressing tale about a man and his young son, wandering down a freezing road after a nuclear winter. Bad people are doing bad things so they can survive. Nobody is safe. Nobody is warm. Author Cormac McCarthy spends a lot of time in dark places–The Road, in my opinion, is his most relentlessly bleak novel after the beautiful monstrosity of a western that is Blood Meridian. The movie for The Road is going to have Viggo Mortensen in it. It opens in late November and will share the theaters will some movies that will be a bit cheerier.
I think Blood Meridian takes itself even more seriously than the Dune books, if that’s possible.
Rating: 100 bottles of anti-depressants and a warm sweater.
There are a lot more books about dystopian futures. Let’s talk about your favorites.
If you liked this post, please Subscribe To The RSS feed.