Dystopian fiction can give a jarring glimpse into worlds not all that far removed from our own, which can either make you feel better that society hasn’t become quite so scary yet, or terrified that we’re careening over the edge into chaos. As these five novels are starting to look a lot less like fiction and more like reality, check them out now before they become just another lame old history book!
The Handmaid’s Tale
Quick! Read this classic before America actually becomes a totalitarian theocracy where women are forced to bear children in order to survive, and not just because all the Planned Parenthoods in a 300-mile radius have been shut down. We’re already so close to Margaret Atwood’s vision of a dystopian, fundamentalist society now that our own Vice President refuses to eat a meal alone with a woman who’s not his wife, lest she tempt him with her feminine wiles. Better take out this book before old white Republican men get ahold of it and change the name to “The Plan!”
The only difference between 1984 and our society today is that microwaves were not commercially available back then. Had they been, Big Brother totally would have used one to spy on Winston. Aside from that, 1984 practically depicts our government right now—a totalitarian figure rules with unchecked power, worshipped by the brainwashed masses. Copies of this book and screenings of the movies are back in demand because they feel highly relevant again, so enjoy the story now before it becomes the very world around you!
The Hunger Games
Much like America, the fictional country of Panem is ruled by a brutal demagogue. While his substantial aggression and refusal to be questioned once seemed so foreign, they now look like the defining characteristics of our President. It’s no longer possible to read this novel without noticing the uncanny parallels to our own world: Katniss Everdeen is the nasty woman who was warned not to stir up trouble. She was given an explanation, but nevertheless persisted in inciting a rebellion. Ugh! Better read this book before America literally becomes Panem and we lose all our good teens to state-sanctioned bloodsport!
The shelf life of these dystopian masterpieces is getting shorter all the time. So short, in fact, you may not even be able to finish one before it’s no longer fiction — luckily, you were probably just going to stream the movie version and pretend you read it anyway.