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by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I'm discussing different book genres/categories. Each day, I will give a few details about th...

April 4, 2024

D is for Dystopian Fiction #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter D

For the A to Z Challenge, I'm discussing different book genres/categories. Each day, I will give a few details about the genre/category and an example or two. I would love to know your thoughts on the genre/category and if you have any reading suggestions. Be sure to check out all of my A to Z posts.

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Dystopian fiction is a subgenre of speculative fiction where society is in decline. Characters usually face environmental problems, technological control, and/or government oppression. While the dystopian genre has gained popularity in the last couple of decades thanks to blockbuster young adult novels such as Hunger Games and Divergent, it has been around for quite some time. One of the earliest dystopian novels was published in 1872, Erewhon by Samuel Butler. Most of us are probably familiar with Nineteen Eighty-Four by by George Orwell which was published in 1949 and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, published in 1932.

Some fun facts about the dystopian genre from Wikipedia
  1. It's history is rooted in the French Revolution (1789) when mob rule could result in a dictatorship
  2. One of the earliest examples of technological dystopian fiction is the short story The Machine Stops by E.M.Forrester, published in 1909.
  3. Dystopian fiction gained momentum post-WWII
  4. Today's dystopian novels focus not only on oppressive governments but increasingly on environmental, health, and economic crises.

I don't think I read much (any?) dystopian fiction until the Hunger Games trilogy. Following that series, I read several other dystopian series, but most were young adult novels. So I joined a book club at my library that read post-apocalyptic fiction. Not all post-apocalyptic fiction is dystopian fiction, nor is all dystopian societies a result of an apocalypse. But we have read several dystopian novels over the years, mostly for adults, such as The Handmaid's Tale by Maragaret Atwood. We are reading Nineteen Eighty-Four for our May meeting.

I like dystopian fiction because it often offers speculation and commentary on current social issues. When it is not explicitly explained in the novel, I always wonder what lead to a society becoming what it has.

I've already mentioned several dystopian novels, both classic and young adult. Here is an adult dystopian novel that I reviewed in May of 2023 and then read with my book club in December. It mixes dystopian with noir crime fiction. It also doesn't have a totalerian government as the focus, instead it is more of a technological dystopian.

Titanium Noir by Nick Harkaway

book cover of dystopian noir novel Titanium Noir by Nick Harkaway

Cal Sounder is a detective working for the police on certain very sensitive cases. So when he's called in to investigate a homicide at a local apartment, he's surprised by the routineness of it all. But when he arrives on scene, Cal soon learns that the victim—Roddy Tebbit, an otherwise milquetoast techie—is well over seven feet tall. And although he doesn't look a day over thirty, he is ninety-one years old. Tebbit is a Titan—one of this dystopian, near-future society's genetically altered elites. And this case is definitely Cal's thing.

There are only a few thousand Titans worldwide, thanks to Stefan Tonfamecasca's discovery of the controversial T7 genetic therapy, which elevated his family to godlike status. T7 turns average humans into near-immortal distortions of themselves—with immense physical proportions to match their ostentatious, unreachable lifestyles. A dead Titan is big news . . . a murdered Titan is unimaginable. But these modified magnates are Cal's specialty. In fact, his own ex-girlfriend, Athena, is a Titan. And not just any—she is Stefan's daughter, heir to the massive Tonfamecasca empire.

As the murder investigation intensifies, Cal begins to unravel the complicated threads of what should have been a straightforward case, and it becomes clear he's on the trail of a crime whose roots run deep into the dark heart of the world.

Buy Titanium Noir at Amazon

Do you read dystopian fiction? Do your prefer young adult, adult, or the classic dystopian novel?

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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  1. I loved The Handmaid's Tale, but I haven't read Nineteen Eighty-Four. Are you enjoying it?
    I think I'll give it a try. I did read all of The Hunger Games, and I've read a few other young adult novels in the same vein. But now you've given me a few more books to consider. Thanks!

  2. I do enjoy dystopian fiction,, but i've never read The Hunger Games. I have read a couple of books by Nick Harkaway though Angelmaker and Gone Away World. He's quirky but good. Idea-ist@GetLostInLit

  3. I enjoyed "The Hunger Games" and "Divergent". I don't go out to read dystopian, but when a good one gets recommended by friends I'll read it.

    Ronel visiting for D: My Languishing TBR: D