Top 10 MORE Deplorable Dystopian Worlds

This is a follow up article to Top 10 Deplorable Dystopian Worlds. Read it HERE

Dystopia will always be popular and with the success of The Handmaid’s Tale TV series, it’s clear this genre isn’t going away anytime soon.

So, to celebrate the release of my debut dystopian novel Skeletal (out TODAY!) let’s take another look into the dirty cracked mirror and see what’s reflected in it this time …

1) Defender by GX Todd

TYPE: Dystopian Post-apocalyptic

Defender is my favourite book of 2017! I won an advanced copy and after reading it, I bought the special edition hardback. I loved the book THAT MUCH. Defender is centred around a teenage girl (Lacey) and a vagabond (Pilgrim) who has a ‘voice’ inside his head called Voice, of which he has to hide. In this world, it’s not good to hear voices. Pilgrim has agreed to guide sixteen-year-old Lacey across the dangerous wasteland that was America and deliver her safely to her sister’s house.

Along the way they find Alex, who has been beaten and sexually abused. The trio navigate the desolate terrain and cross paths with the most insidious characters. The opening letter at the beginning of the book sets the tone: “I suspect this letter will find you in despair, or lonely, or lost. That is how we live now. We have all become strangers to each other and, worse still: enemies.” Check out this chat with author GX Todd.

 2) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margret Atwood

TYPE: Dystopian Thriller

If you have not heard of The Handmaid’s Tale then where have you been? I read the book for the first time this year and then watched the recently adapted TV series – loved it.

The reason this is such a good dystopian story is because it’s plausible, and even though the book was written in 1985, the story feels modern. Being forced to be baby factories when birth rates are down, seems a likely thing to happen. I recommend both the book and the TV series but I’m annoyed with Atwood for ending things like that! WHY? Luckily, we can find out what happens next because series two is in the pipeline.

 3) 1984 by George Orwell

TYPE: Dystopian Futuristic

This is a classic. I read this book in my 30s and I’m glad it didn’t come to me until later because my younger self would not have been able to digest the horrors of this totalitarian future society. Propaganda, control and deceit are the central themes, along with the human condition and what it takes to destroy the mind. The protagonist’s job is to rewrite history as and when he is told to but Winston Smith is sick of the strict rules and routines and soon wants more from life. He tries to bring down the system but Big Brother is always watching.

4) The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

TYPE: Dystopian Fantasy

The Bone Season is a seven-book series which follows Londoner Paige Mahoney who is a rare type of clairvoyant called a dreamwalker. Set in the future with an alternative history, voyants are considered unnatural and Paige commits treason simply by breathing. Many voyants make a living working for criminal gangs and Paige is no exception. ‘Unnaturals’ hide their voyant gifts, careful not to be caught by Scion – a governing system that controls cities around the world. Unfortunately, Paige does get caught and finds out the enemy is not what she thought. This series is a fantastic twist on dystopia.

5) Skyjack by L V Hay

TYPE: Dystopian Post-apocalyptic

This novella is part of ‘The Forgotten Women Series’ and is about a mysterious event called ‘The Fall’ which killed off 99% of the female population. Maddy is one of the survivors who managed to escape the government’s ‘haven’ in London where women are rounded up and tested on. Maddy and her father created a fort in the Westcountry, for women and their male allies in which to hide out. They are constantly under threat of attack and one such threat falls from the sky. For a novella this story really packs a punch. I flew through it. I would love to see a TV series spawned from Skyjack! BUY IT HERE.

6) The Anthropocene Chronicles Part I by Saranne Bensusan, Carmen Radtke & Emma Pullar

TYPE:  Dystopian Sci-fi

Yes, you read that right, my name is on this one. I wrote ‘Old Trees Don’t Bend’ but the reason I’ve included it is because I didn’t write the other three stories and they are fantastic!!

When asked to contribute to this project, I was a little reluctant because I wasn’t sure I could write in someone else’s world. I was given a character and a brief and once I’d read the other stories I knew this was going to be something special.

With each story comes a different protagonist and their view of the corrupt dystopian world. An event forced the population underground (dirt-dwellers) and their futuristic lives became tightly controlled. What they don’t know is there are people living above ground (air-siders) and that humans are no longer the ones in control. Each story is wonderfully rich and my favourite character has to be the she-bitch Maud. She’s so obnoxious and self-important. *Shudders*. BUY IT HERE.

 7) Animal Farm by George Orwell

TYPE: Dystopian Political

Another great story from Orwell. Animal Farm is a small book but it left a huge impact on me. What George has done is take every loathsome aspect of human society and apply it to animals and wow does it hit home. The animals on the farm are sick of the way the farmer treats them so they stage a revolution but their new-found freedom is not all it seems and things go from bad to worse to chaos! Another classic tale of terrible ideas and attitudes in society. An important book.

8) The Maze Runner by James Dashner

TYPE: Dystopian Post-apocalyptic

Thomas arrives in a glade where other boys are camped outside a towering maze. The only way out is to navigate the maze, which is full of dangerous creatures and boobytraps. Soon Thomas and the other boys figure out how to get through the giant puzzle. The government is behind this awful post-apocalyptic experiment and this is only the beginning. The Maze Runner is part of a thrilling dystopian trilogy. Read the BOOK VS. FILM case study on The Maze Runner, here.

9) The Anthropocene Chronicles Part II by Rachael Howard, Nick Jackson & Fiona Leitch

TYPE: Dystopian Sci-fi

This is part two of the chronicles and again there are four amazing stories set in a future dystopian world. A new protagonist with each story. In part one we met an office worker following a strict schedule she can no longer cope with, an old-timer who refuses forced retirement, a young man trying to get to the top of society and an overprivileged madam who wouldn’t spit on you if you were on fire. In part two, we meet a rather cheeky elderly lady, a neurotic writer, a poor factory worker and a hunky doctor. I was drawn into every single story and though short, I invested in the characters. The is a multi-media project and the film makers behind it are planning to bring it to our screens. An actress has been hired to play the first protagonist and we should see some fun snippets from her character very soon!

10) Skeletal by Emma Pullar

TYPE: Dystopian Thriller

Shameless plug! As a huge fan of dystopian fiction I endeavoured to write my own. I hope readers enjoy it and much as I have enjoyed other authors’ dystopian stories.

Gale City is the last city in the world and under the strict control of the illusive Centrals. When females reach adulthood, they’re given the chance to compete at Showcase for the honour of becoming surrogates for the Morbihan – a highly intelligent, obese race of people, unable to procreate naturally. All the other girls are excited to become hosts, all except Megan Skyla. Convinced there’s more to life, Skyla teams up with an unlikely friend and they go in search of a cure for the Morbihan condition. Things don’t go to plan and their journey becomes a harrowing quest fraught with danger and deceit.

Enjoy! 

BIO: Emma Pullar is a writer of dark fiction and children’s books. Her picture book, Curly from Shirley, was a national bestseller and named best opening lines by NZ Post. You can read her SJV Award shortlisted horror story, London’s Crawling, in the Dark Minds charity collection and her dystopian sci-fi story, Old Trees Don’t Bend, in The Anthropocene Chronicles. Emma has also written three shortlisted stories for Create50. Her debut novel SKELETAL published by Bloodhound Books is out NOW. Follow Emma on twitter HERE or visit her website www.emmapullar.com.

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