Monday, February 13, 2017

Dystopian literature of interest

So I was asked to make this into a blog posting to make it easier to find.  As there are many listing available concerning dystopian literature, I find it rather odd.  But I aim to please!!  I have provided URLs to Amazon, but just a reminder I am an affiliate.

Some dystopian novels (not my normal reading genre) suggested to me to read besides 1984,,, If you have any other suggestions, please by all means add them in the comments.  While I would like to stick just to dystopian literature predictive of current events, non-fiction is also welcome.  I will be doing a posting doing a comparison to other fascist regimes as I find the comparison fascinating.  Accuracy will be left up to you.

Not a novel but suggested read,

George Orwell - “Politics and the English Language”
The essay focuses on political language, which, according to Orwell, "is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." Orwell believed that the language used was necessarily vague or meaningless because it was intended to hide the truth rather than express it. This unclear prose was a "contagion" which had spread to those who did not intend to hide the truth, and it concealed a writer's thoughts from himself and others.[1] Orwell encourages concreteness and clarity instead of vagueness, and individuality over political conformity.
George Orwell - Animal Farm
But Stanford University literature professor Alex Woloch, who penned "Or Orwell: Writing and Democratic Socialism," says another book by the late British author might provide better insight for what’s happening to America today: "Animal Farm."

"In '1984,' however we’ve gotten into that situation has already occurred," Woloch says. "But in 'Animal Farm,' [Orwell is] really tracing that sense of a 'slippery slope.'"

Woloch is referring to the "slippery slope" scholars on authoritarian regimes call the transition from democracy to totalitarianism.

"And there does seem to be a sense that you're playing with fire with these kind of things — the deliberate use of falsehoods in a political context, the attacks on the media," Woloch continues.
George Orwell - Nineteen Eighty-Four
Often published as 1984, is a dystopian novel by English author George Orwell published in 1949. The novel is set in Airstrip One (formerly known as Great Britain), a province of the superstate Oceania in a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public manipulation. The superstate is dictated by a political regime euphemistically named English Socialism (or Ingsoc in the government's invented language, Newspeak). The superstate is under the control of a privileged elite of the Inner Party, that persecutes individualism and independent thinking as "thoughtcrime".
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
It is an alternative history in which Franklin Delano Roosevelt is defeated in the presidential election of 1940 by Charles Lindbergh. The novel follows the fortunes of the Roth family during the Lindbergh presidency, as antisemitism becomes more accepted in American life and Jewish-American families like the Roths are persecuted on various levels. The narrator and central character in the novel is the young Philip, and the care with which his confusion and terror are rendered makes the novel as much about the mysteries of growing up as about American politics. Roth based his novel on the isolationist ideas espoused by Lindbergh in real life as a spokesman for the America First Committee and his own experiences growing up in Newark, New Jersey. The novel depicts the Weequahic section of Newark which includes Weequahic High School from which Roth graduated.
Ray Bradbury - Fahrenheit 451
The novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed and "firemen" burn any that are found. The book's tagline explains the title: "Fahrenheit 451 -- the temperature at which book paper catches fire, and burns ..."
Aldous Huxley - Brave New World
Aldous Huxley’s 1931 novel is often compared to Nineteen Eighty-Four. Where the latter shows a dystopia that rules through fear and repression, Brave New World shows an iron fist in a velvet glove. The population are kept repressed through standard acts of an authoritarian regime, such as control of the media, but also through being kept too happy to rebel. Soma, an antidepressant hallucinogen, is used by almost everyone to tackle any residual unhappiness, while hypnosis ensures that all members of the society’s caste system are happy and content with their place in society.
Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid’s Tale
Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel is set in a near-future New England following the collapse of America into the authoritarian, theocratic state of Gilead. It was groundbreaking for its treatment of gender, depicting a state in which the advances of feminism have been comprehensively destroyed. Women are considered inferior to men, and their every behaviour is tightly controlled by the state. In particular, their role in reproduction is bound to a strict caste system: abortion is illegal, and fertile women are required to bear children for higher-status women.
According to Atwood, the rise of Trump with his boasting of sexually assaulting women on whim — as well as once saying women should face punishment if they get an abortion — is making her book more relevant now than ever with the book once again becoming a best seller.

You are seeing a bubbling up of it now,” Atwood said, referencing Trump. “It’s back to 17th century puritan values of new England at that time in which women were pretty low on the hierarchy”.
William Gibson - Virtual Light
Virtual Light, the first of Gibson’s Bridge trilogy, is set in a sprawling community living on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge following a devastating earthquake. Ever greater concentration of wealth has rendered multinational corporations miniature states in their own right, with private security forces acting like personal armies for the super-rich, while the middle class has almost entirely dissipated.
Brian K Vaughan and Marcos Martin - The Private Eye
Brian K Vaughan and Marcos Martin created the colourful world of The Private Eye in 2015. Set in Los Angeles in the latter half of this century, it explores a world two generations after the “cloud burst”: a catastrophic collapse of internet security that left everyone’s personal data exposed for all to see. To contain the damage, the internet is never rebuilt, and privacy becomes the new focus of society, over liberty or security. But the world still has to deal with its failures to contain the damage of climate change, and the citizens of LA are only safe from the ravages of the ocean thanks to an enormous coastal wall that keeps the waters out.
Alfonso Cuarón - Children of Men
Alfonso Cuarón’s thriller bears little relation to the PD James novel on which it is based, except for the central premise of a world in which no children have been born for decades. Cuarón shows a Britain ruled by an authoritarian regime, the last functioning government in the world, rousing the public in hatred of “fugees” fleeing the chaos in other nations.
Max Barry - Jennifer Government
Published in 2003, it is Barry's second novel, following 1999's Syrup. The novel is set in a dystopian alternate reality in which most nations (now controlled by the United States) are dominated by for-profit corporate entities while the government's political power is extremely limited. Some readers consider it similar in satiric intent to George Orwell's 1984, but of a world with too little political power as opposed to too much. Consequently, the novel can be seen as a criticism of right-libertarianism or anarcho-capitalism. Many readers also see it as a criticism of globalization, although Barry claims he is not an anti-globalist. He has created a game based on the novel: Jennifer Government: NationStates.
Hannah Arendt - The Origins of Totalitarianism 
Describes and analyzes Nazism and Stalinism, the major totalitarian political movements of the 20th century.

[Novel summary's taken from unless noted]

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