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Top 50 Dystopian Novels
Old 08-03-2011, 11:28 AM   #1
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Default Top 50 Dystopian Novels

http://listverse.com/2008/03/12/top-...topian-novels/

12. Lord of the Flies (1954) by William Golding
11. Handmaid's Tale (1985) Tale by Margaret Atwood
10. Neuromancer (1984) by William Gibson
9. Iron Heel (1908) by Jack London
8. The Running Man (1982) by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
7. Armageddon's Children (2006) by Terry Brooks
6. The Chrysalids (1955) by John Wyndham
5. The Children of Men (1992) by PD James
4. The Time Machine (1895) by H.G. Wells
3. 1984 (1949)by George Orwell
2. Fahrenheit 451 (1953) by Ray Bradbury
1. Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley

So, I've challenged myself to read all of these novels (some which I read a long time ago, in high school or college). I thought about reading them in order by their position on the list or chronologically by date published, but availability in Kindle form is interfering with both of those plans so I'm reading them randomly.

Recently there's been an upsurge in the number of dystopian novels for young adults published, which is a nice break from the backlash after Harry Potter and the other backlash after the awful Twilight books. This is backlash from Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins), which was why I became interested in the genre.

Any other recommendations to add to my list?

So far I've read The Time Machine and I'm going to read War of the Worlds, also by H.G. Wells, because it was free for Kindle also.

Added recommendations here: http://secondcitizen.net/Forum/showp...0&postcount=41

Last edited by Sansarya; 08-09-2011 at 10:00 PM. Reason: added titles to last post
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:29 AM   #2
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No Foundation Trilogy?
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:35 AM   #3
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The Foundation Trilogy is dystopian?
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:37 AM   #4
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The Foundation Trilogy is dystopian?

I always thought that it was. One of my most vivid memories of the book is when the First Foundation falls apart and no one knows how to fix the gadgets
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:40 AM   #5
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The Iron Heel is also free on Kindle, for anyone interested. Added Day of the Triffids by Wyndham because it sounds like it fits the genre.
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:41 AM   #6
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nm
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:43 AM   #7
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never mind. i ahve the wrong definition of dystopia
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:49 AM   #8
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This is my crazy paranoid side coming out, btw. I've also got an EPP kit ready to go in case of disaster, I have an obsession with disaster movies, and I'm interested in what happens after the disaster.
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:51 AM   #9
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Darkness At Noon.

For abject depression, that's the one.
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Old 08-03-2011, 06:25 PM   #10
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I'd recommend Philip K. Dick, but to be honest, his short stories have made better movies (Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, Paycheck*, A Scanner Darkly, Adjustment Bureau) than books.



*Okay, Paycheck was kind of an awful movie.
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Old 08-03-2011, 06:49 PM   #11
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I'd recommend Philip K. Dick, but to be honest, his short stories have made better movies (Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, Paycheck*, A Scanner Darkly, Adjustment Bureau) than books.

*Okay, Paycheck was kind of an awful movie.
If the rumors of Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said or Ubik movies are true and they manage to top the novels I'll be pleasantly surprised.

The adaption of A Scanner Darkly was very good, and in my estimation is the greatest adaption of his work. The end blunted the rather brutal end of the novel but fully communicated all that Arctor lost and the machinations behind it.
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:28 PM   #12
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The adaption of A Scanner Darkly was very good, and in my estimation is the greatest adaption of his work.
...thanks to Robert Downey, Jr.

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Old 08-03-2011, 07:32 PM   #13
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...thanks to Robert Downey, Jr.
You weren't supposed to start using Substance D after you watched the movie, sir.
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Old 08-03-2011, 08:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Augustus Bainbridge View Post
I'd recommend Philip K. Dick, but to be honest, his short stories have made better movies (Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, Paycheck*, A Scanner Darkly, Adjustment Bureau) than books.



*Okay, Paycheck was kind of an awful movie.
Yeah, after I finish my list I'm going back to watch the movies, if they're made into movies. Neuromancer is in production now. Surprised it wasn't already a movie.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:30 AM   #15
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Yeah, after I finish my list I'm going back to watch the movies, if they're made into movies. Neuromancer is in production now. Surprised it wasn't already a movie.
I do not believe Mr. Gibson is involved with the production of the movie which lowers my estimation of its chances to please me.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:47 AM   #16
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I always thought that it was. One of my most vivid memories of the book is when the First Foundation falls apart and no one knows how to fix the gadgets
Wrong genre. You could argue the foundation itself could lead to a dystopian state, and that the preceding empire was one that eventually frayed around the edges and broke down (This is a hell of a stretch though). Really if you wanted to draw a parallel these novels resemble nothing more than a post apocalyptic desert scene ~in space~ with the foundation acting the part of the rare enclave of civilization.

Dystopian novels are those that showcase humanities coping mechanisims and their failures to cope with ever advancing technology and the implications those technologies have as societies mores fail to keep up. Rather than a toppled empire you get the all powerful police or corporate state. If you want a super futuristic hard sci-fi dystopian novel (Which is hard because by definition most dystopian novels are dealing with societies in a transitional state) I'd consider "The Culture" series by Iain M Banks, and again even that is stretching it in points.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:48 AM   #17
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I Robot on the other hand is Dystopian as all getout and considered to be a much earlier juncture within the same universe as the Empire and Foundation.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:55 AM   #18
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Wrong genre. You could argue the foundation itself could lead to a dystopian state, and that the preceding empire was one that eventually frayed around the edges and broke down (This is a hell of a stretch though). Really if you wanted to draw a parallel these novels resemble nothing more than a post apocalyptic desert scene ~in space~ with the foundation acting the part of the rare enclave of civilization.

Dystopian novels are those that showcase humanities coping mechanisims and their failures to cope with ever advancing technology and the implications those technologies have as societies mores fail to keep up. Rather than a toppled empire you get the all powerful police or corporate state. If you want a super futuristic hard sci-fi dystopian novel (Which is hard because by definition most dystopian novels are dealing with societies in a transitional state) I'd consider "The Culture" series by Iain M Banks, and again even that is stretching it in points.
The "Culture" series is most often described as a socialist utopia...so...um....yeah to call it a dystopia might be considered a bit of a stretch.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:02 AM   #19
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Added to list. Thanks, Jor.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:09 AM   #20
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A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:38 AM   #21
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The "Culture" series is most often described as a socialist utopia...so...um....yeah to call it a dystopia might be considered a bit of a stretch.
Some of the novels contain very distopian themes, and just so I can get our relationship off to a proper start: I already called it a stretch you contrarian shitheel.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:11 AM   #22
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Another one that may be worth a look is We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, published in the 20s.
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:58 AM   #23
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Adding The Road by Cormac McCarthy, which I haven't read yet, and We (which is available on Kindle. Yay!), A Clockwork Orange (not on Kindle, boo!), I, Robot, and the Culture Series (also on Kindle). Really, the only thing I'm ever patient enough to wait for getting in the mail is yarn, so I'll be reading Fahrenheit 451 and A Clockwork Orange after September sometime.

The New SCMkII Dystopian Lit List:
30+. Snowcrash (1992) by Neal Stephenson (adding this bec. I started it and never finished and it seems relevant).
27-??. Short stories of Philip K. Dick (1955-1988)--I'm actually looking at a fan site for him and a lot of what Augie listed as short stories is listed on his SF Novels page: http://pkdickbooks.com/sfnovels.php
18-26. The Culture Series (1987-2010) by Iain M. Banks
17. I, Robot (1950) by Isaac Asimov
16. We (1921?) by Yevgeny Zamyatin
15. The Road (2006) by Cormac McCarthy
14. A Clockwork Orange (1962) by Anthony Burgess
13. War of the Worlds (1898) by H.G. Wells
12. Lord of the Flies (1954) by William Golding
11. Handmaid's Tale (1985) Tale by Margaret Atwood
10. Neuromancer (1984) by William Gibson
9. Iron Heel (1908) by Jack London
8. The Running Man (1982) by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
7. Armageddon's Children (2006) by Terry Brooks
6. The Chrysalids (1955) by John Wyndham
5. The Children of Men (1992) by PD James
4. The Time Machine (1895) by H.G. Wells
3. 1984 (1949)by George Orwell
2. Fahrenheit 451 (1953) by Ray Bradbury
1. Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:03 PM   #24
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I'm gonna be anal and say The Road is post-apocalypse, not distopian.

Scrub that and replace it with Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:19 PM   #25
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Dystopian novels are those that showcase humanities coping mechanisims and their failures to cope with ever advancing technology and the implications those technologies have as societies mores fail to keep up.
I don't believe that ever advancing technology is a required component of a dystopian novel. Being speculative, they are often set in the future, but that doesn't make them technology oriented.

Dystopian novels generally revolve around the dehumanization and control of a population at the hands of a totalitarian government or other elite organization. The means might be technological, but then again they may not be. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the means was manufactured war, surveillance and propaganda.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:24 PM   #26
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Some of the novels contain very distopian themes, and just so I can get our relationship off to a proper start: I already called it a stretch you contrarian shitheel.
Which I acknowledged in my post you cock waving fuckwit.
Beginnings are important aren't they?

Seriously though... Banks likes to have his cake and eat it...he paints this picture of a balanced hedonistic society...but this doesn't generate much drama...cause...er folks are happy...so most of his stories involve "Special Circumstances"...working at the fringes of this Utopia....Contact meeting Barbaric Civilizations...and more-or less having their way with them.

For a peace loving socialist..Banks seems awfully enamored of weapons ...death, mayhem, and destruction.
Sighs...Scottish Socialists...murderous Mother-fuckers. ( Coughs Luc..Coughs).
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:24 PM   #27
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I suggest "The Trial" by Franz Kafka.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:25 PM   #28
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Great Sky River, by Benford
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:42 PM   #29
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Quote:
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Dystopian novels generally revolve around the dehumanization and control of a population at the hands of a totalitarian government or other elite organization. The means might be technological, but then again they may not be. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the means was manufactured war, surveillance and propaganda.
This sounds like where I work. Seriously.
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:49 PM   #30
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THE HYPERION CANTOS BY DAVID BRIN

BUT READ IT ALL AT ONCE, OR YOU'LL BE TOO DEPRESSED BETWEEN BOOKS.
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:57 PM   #31
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"A Canticle for Leibowitz" -- Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Fanaticism in the post-apocalypse.

Quote:
A Canticle for Leibowitz opens 600 years after 20th century civilization has been destroyed by a global nuclear war, known as the "Flame Deluge". The text reveals that as a result of the war there was a violent backlash against the culture of advanced knowledge and technology that had led to the development of nuclear weapons
Not an especially cheerful book.
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:32 PM   #32
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So under this definition (Dystopian societies feature different kinds of repressive social control systems, various forms of active and passive coercion. Ideas and works about dystopian societies often explore the concept of humans abusing technology and humans individually and collectively coping, or not being able to properly cope with technology that has progressed far more rapidly than humanity's spiritual evolution. Dystopian societies are often imagined as police states, with unlimited power over the citizens.--Wikipedia), it doesn't necessarily have to be a futuristic society. It can be a past society or present society (like where I work). Would that allow The Stepford Wives into the genre?
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:37 PM   #33
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There's a book that comes constantly to mind when "Good Christians" like Michele Bachmann and Sara Palin put themselves forward as political leaders: Revolt in 2100 by Robert Heinlein. It takes place in an America that has become a religious dictatorship, one that is full of the kinds of hypocrisies that so outraged Martin Luther about the Catholic Church of his time. It ends hopefully, in contrast to most dystopian novels of which I can think.
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:38 PM   #34
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So under this definition (Dystopian societies feature different kinds of repressive social control systems, various forms of active and passive coercion. Ideas and works about dystopian societies often explore the concept of humans abusing technology and humans individually and collectively coping, or not being able to properly cope with technology that has progressed far more rapidly than humanity's spiritual evolution. Dystopian societies are often imagined as police states, with unlimited power over the citizens.--Wikipedia), it doesn't necessarily have to be a futuristic society. It can be a past society or present society (like where I work). Would that allow The Stepford Wives into the genre?
Dystopian Future is just a subset.

Arguably, Gor could be considered Dystopian fiction.
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Old 08-04-2011, 06:26 PM   #35
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Logan's Run by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson.

Anthem by Ayn Rand (or just listen to 2012 by Rush -- it's sort of the Cliff's Notes version).

Second Life by Linden Lab... oh, wait. We're all characters in that one.

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Old 08-04-2011, 08:15 PM   #36
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I can't believe they left out:

"Make Room! Make Room! " -- Harry Harrison.
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:57 PM   #37
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Dystopian Future is just a subset.

Arguably, Gor could be considered Dystopian fiction.
I would call Gor shit. Really. Ever read one of those books, they are terrible.
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:29 PM   #38
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I'm gonna be anal and say The Road is post-apocalypse, not distopian.

Scrub that and replace it with Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro.
The Road is as dystopian as it comes. It doesn't specify what the world-ending disaster was (nuclear war is implied heavily but treated as irrelevant) but the entire focus of the book is a future *I* don't particularly want to live in, and also a warning to the present - two main features of the genre. I would argue pretty much any well-written post-apocalyptic work is dystopian by definition.

Some others (links are to Kindle versions)

http://www.amazon.com/Darkness-at-Noon-ebook/dp/B0030H7UFI/, by Arthur Koestler. A dystopia many lived through (it's a loose retelling of the Stalin show trials), and a classic of modern literature.

http://www.amazon.com/Day-Oprichnik-Novel-ebook/dp/B00457X8AS/ - a dystopic novel from Russia, set in a crazed future Russia where czars and corporations rule. The author is probably the best surrealist writing today.

http://www.amazon.com/One-Second-After-ebook/dp/B002LATV16/ - ignore the Newt Gingrich (???) endorsement. An EMP pulse throws the US into the Middle Ages in one moment.

http://www.amazon.com/World-Made-Hand-Novel-ebook/dp/B001JEPKY2/ - first in a series of books on a town surviving the end of oil.

http://www.amazon.com/Plot-Against-America-Novel/dp/B004JZWMRQ/, by Philip Roth. Instead of FDR, Charles Lindbergh wins the Presidency in 1936. As it becomes clear he is actually a Nazi sympathizer life for the Jewish protagonists becomes more and more difficult as the country itself slips further into fascism. The ending is pretty deus-ex-machina weak but overall it's surprisingly dystopic for a mass-market novel.

http://www.amazon.com/THE-IRON-DREAM-ebook/dp/B0041D9F26/, by Adolf Hitler... er, Norman Spinrad. I can't even begin to describe this one, save the opening conceit, that Hitler emigrated to the US in 1919 and wrote science fiction. A commentary on right-wing SF in the 1960s (the book "Hitler" writes, which is a large part of the book, is intentionally horrible, and the "reviews" for Hitler's magnum opus are a hoot by themselves), it also takes place in a grim world where the Soviet Union and Japan hold most of the planet in thrall.


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Originally Posted by Sansarya View Post
Adding The Road by Cormac McCarthy, which I haven't read yet, and We (which is available on Kindle. Yay!), A Clockwork Orange (not on Kindle, boo!), I, Robot, and the Culture Series (also on Kindle). Really, the only thing I'm ever patient enough to wait for getting in the mail is yarn, so I'll be reading Fahrenheit 451 and A Clockwork Orange after September sometime.

The New SCMkII Dystopian Lit List:
30+. Snowcrash (1992) by Neal Stephenson (adding this bec. I started it and never finished and it seems relevant).
27-??. Short stories of Philip K. Dick (1955-1988)--I'm actually looking at a fan site for him and a lot of what Augie listed as short stories is listed on his SF Novels page: http://pkdickbooks.com/sfnovels.php
18-26. The Culture Series (1987-2010) by Iain M. Banks
17. I, Robot (1950) by Isaac Asimov
16. We (1921?) by Yevgeny Zamyatin
15. The Road (2006) by Cormac McCarthy
14. A Clockwork Orange (1962) by Anthony Burgess
13. War of the Worlds (1898) by H.G. Wells
12. Lord of the Flies (1954) by William Golding
11. Handmaid's Tale (1985) Tale by Margaret Atwood
10. Neuromancer (1984) by William Gibson
9. Iron Heel (1908) by Jack London
8. The Running Man (1982) by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
7. Armageddon's Children (2006) by Terry Brooks
6. The Chrysalids (1955) by John Wyndham
5. The Children of Men (1992) by PD James
4. The Time Machine (1895) by H.G. Wells
3. 1984 (1949)by George Orwell
2. Fahrenheit 451 (1953) by Ray Bradbury
1. Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:39 PM   #39
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Adding this one, recommendation from Kristian http://www.amazon.com/Distraction-ebook/dp/B005EGXN4A/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:54 PM   #40
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7. Armageddon's Children (2006) by Terry Brooks
I was only familiar with Brooks through his earlier books in the Shannara series, i.e. The Sword Of Shannara, et al, which always seemed to me to be a Lord Of The Rings wannabe, and his Landover series, beginning with Magic Kingdom For Sale, Sold! which are quite funny and very entertaining.

I read the first three Shannara books and then lost interest. However, according to the description and reviews of Armageddon's Children on Amazon, this is actually a continuation of the earlier books, much as if Tolkien had written a sequel to the Rings series where Lord Sauron arose once again... and founded Nazi Germany.

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Here's the biggest thing I can tell you.

MAKE SURE YOU READ THE WHOLE WORD/VOID TRILOGY FIRST. It also doesn't hurt to make sure you read First King of Shannara and perhaps Elf Queen of Shannara beforehand.

There's a reason for this. The book is attempting to bridge the worlds of Word/Void with the Shannara world in very subtle ways. Reading the Shannara series isn't vital, it will just give you clues into some of the content that's discussed, but reading the Word/Void seems to be a prerequisite, because if you don't, you won't understand why this book is explaining certain things. Indeed, the very subname of this book is a direct link to the Word/Void's future.

Reading the book the first time I had never read the Word/Void and I was thusly confused. There is one small section that links back to the Shannara world and I loved that part, but the rest seemed very unappealing. I went back and bought that trilogy and read it through, went back and read this book and finally understand the connections being implied. It's an intriguing approach, to be sure.
Lots of reading ahead. I think there are eight or ten books in the earlier Shannara series.

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