The future of mankind has been a hotly contested topic ever since humans learned the concept of time, and there will never be a shortage of ideas on the directions our civilization could end up taking, especially as our societies become increasingly complex, our mores and values more convoluted.
For some reason, people seem to be generally drawn towards the tragic, and over time we seem to have developed a collective interest in depictions of our future which take us to dark and even nightmarish worlds.
The dystopian literary genre is, in a lot of cases, more than a simple a cautionary tale of what might await us if we don’t repent our sins and start helping our neighbours. Many authors use it in order to explore, expose and criticize some of our very own political, social and religious structures.
On this page you will find the various dystopian science-fiction books which I believe take it a step further beyond simply depicting a poor and oppressed society in a nightmarishly-totalitarian world. These are the novels which try and force you to stop, take a break, and really think about the current state of affairs, and where our social structures might end up leading us.
Only a hundred years ago, computers would have sounded like something originating from the dreams of a complete madman. Nevertheless, today they are an essential tool for modern society, allowing countless services and processes to function with immeasurably more efficiency than ever before.
As many have observed, the place computers are taking up in our lives is becoming alarming, especially since we’ve managed to reduce them into palm-sized devices, allowing them to be used anytime and anywhere. Considering this, I don’t think anyone should be surprised the Cyberpunk genre is seeing a tremendous surge in popularity.
There are plenty of evolutionary directions our infatuation with computers could take us, and Cyberpunk explores the darker side of the equation, generally depicting oppressive societies and lawless landscapes heavily anchored in an obsession with computer technology.
In this category you’ll find the Cyberpunk novels which I believe stand out from their numerous peers and try to communicate new and original ideas to the reader. These are the novels which I believe hold some truth worth thinking about in regards to our collective future.
“Master Class” by Christina Dalcher – Shedding the Pretense of Understanding
Christina Dalcher certainly isn’t content with tackling small and meaningless topics, with her second novel Master Class examining potential extreme our society might yet reach one day.
The story takes place in a society where the worth of individuals is determined by their quotient score (Q), and follows a mother’s efforts to save her daughter who gets transferred to a state boarding school hundreds of miles away after failing a monthly test.
“Providence” by Max Barry – Alone in the Void
Max Barry has been a distinct voice in the realm of science-fiction ever since he published his first novel over twenty years ago, and he certainly is intent on spreading it further, as he does with his latest novel, Providence.
The premise is quite simple: four people are tasked with manning, but mostly monitoring a space warship sent to wage war against an alien threat to humanity.
However, as they travel further into space, the communications are cut off, and the ship becomes less an less reliable, leaving them stranded in the great cosmic void, headed for war all by themselves.
“Followers” by Megan Angelo – Shattering the Illusionary Attraction of Fame
Megan Angelo just began her literary career with the publication of Followers, and has already gone a long way towards cementing herself as a quality author.
The novel tells two stories, the first one following two friends and dark, questionable decisions they make for the sake of internet fame.
The second one takes us thirty-five years into the future, where a government-appointed celebrity tries to break free from the shackles of her corporate sponsors.
“Wanderers” by Chuck Wendig – The Sleepwalking Saviours
Chuck Wendig was never one to let a good and original idea go to waste, and in his novel Wanderers he presents a truly unique idea, something which happens less and less often in this world.
In essence, it tells the story of an ever-growing flock of sleepwalkers journeying across America, their friends and family protecting them along the way, and the society around them which begins to collapse, some even seeking their deaths.
“The Wall” by John Lanchester – Surviving the Grand Divide
John Lanchester is a man closely engaged in following the modern sociopolitical landscape, and in The Wall he attempts to imagine what it would be like if taken to its absolute extreme.
The story begins by presenting us with an island nation, England, which built a giant wall around itself as a means of protection against a dying world.
Enter John Kavanagh, a new Defender of the wall, tasked with keeping the desperate souls outside from getting in, under penance of death if he were to fail.
“Days of Panic” by Jack Hunt – Leaving the World Behind
Jack Hunt has quite a bit of experience in penning post-apocalyptic stories, often fantasizing about how people would react to different scenarios.
In Days of Panic he takes us into the heart of New York as four strangers find themselves in need of each other in the wake of a devastating EMP blast, completely annihilating the country’s electric grid.
A bike messenger, a support representative, a homeless man and a convict; the clock is ticking for all of them as the city that never sleeps falls into chaos and disarray.