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The Anthem

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The Faber Book Of Utopias would be a good book for you to seek out. Note: in case you didn't know, 'utopia' just means 'no place,' meaning a fictional society/city/nation, and contrary to popular belief is a neutral term. Dystopia obviously implies dysfunction, but technically is a type of utopia, not the opposite of utopia. Maybe they should invent a word for happy utopias like Galt's Gulch... 'Blisstopia?'

Lord of the Flies is a classic, although i guess it's not a full-blown utopia (read Coral Island along with it for some extra fun). Someone else mentioned Fahrenheit 451 - that along with 1984 and Brave New World and Darkness at Noon were sort of my literary awakening when I was 13 or so.

If you were to read the whole Dune series there's some interesting dystopian elements from the 4th novel onwards when the 'God-Emperor' sets his 'golden path' in motion (he has a plan for the long, LONGterm survival of humanity but it necessitates a tough love approach). That's a lot of reading to do if that's the only payoff you're after though. And it's not exactly Objectivist...

The Time Machine is a short book that fits the bill, as does Animal Farm. Gulliver's Travels has lots of utopian/dystopian episodes. The Forever War is a cracking sci-fi take on utopia - very amusing as well as thought provoking.

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  • 8 months later...

FLASHBACK by Dan Simmons

Simmons' earlier works have hints of a liberal world view, though he tends to keep politics out of it. Not in his latest dystopian novel, FLASHBACK.

It is set 20 years in the future, in a world in chaos due to a lot of the pressing issues that we notice today. This is his take on what could happen if we continue on this course. The world is in economic collapse due to entitlement spending that eventually could not be contained. Islam and sharia are allowed to spread due to the multicultural policies of our governments. About 85% of the US population is addicted to a drug called flashback, which allows user to relive moments in the past with perfect memory. America is now down to 44 states. Only electric cars are available unless you are rich. These cars only get about 40 miles during a good day

The story mainly follows Nick Bottom, a former detective turned flashback addict. It has a noir feel throughout the story. It also follows his son and father-in-law. Though the characters do not seem sympathetic at first, they grow into very likable characters throughout the story.

Simmons seems to be a intellectual that follows the classics mainly. I'm thinking Greek. Thucydides and maybe some Aristotle. He defends capitalism, but mainly by denouncing socialism. Individual rights and egoism are not mentioned, but I don't think that would serve much of a purpose in this story. I think he is so disillusioned with modern "intellectuals" that he sticks to the classics.

I would recommend it to fans of dystopias, noir-ish mysteries, science fiction, or just if you are interested in historical analysis.

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Planet of the Apes

A Clockwork Orange

While I enjoy the original POtA movie and (to a much lesser extent) respect Kubrick's adaptation of A Clockwork Orange, neither movie does justice to the themes in the respective novels. This is particularly true of A Clockwork Orange, which cuts out the entire last chapter--a chapter which has a diametrically opposite ending to the one in the movie.

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If you can find a copy, This Perfect Day by Ira Levin. It has some similarities with Brave New World, mainly the use of drugs to keep the population controlled, but it has a much better plot and ending. (The novel is divided into four parts, titled "Growing Up", "Coming Alive", "Getting Away" and "Fighting Back", which accurately describes the overall plot arc.)

It’s worth mentioning that Levin attended NBI lectures, and would slip references to Ayn Rand into his works. The Fountainhead movie is mentioned in Rosemary’s Baby, and its sequel has a character named Alice Rosenbaum, part of a kind of Anti-Christ deniers group called the Ayn Rand Brigade. I really can't recommend the sequel though, it's only so-so at best.

In the end, Rosemary wakes up and it was all a dream. The first novel too, it goes all the way back to the beginning. So there's no Satan after all, tsk tsk.

Here's a discussion of This Perfect Day and Levin's connection to Rand.

I think Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson would qualify as dystopian, and it's really good.

Edited by Ninth Doctor
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  • 2 months later...

The City of Ember is a good "young adult" dystopian novel that is concise and an easy read but not too original. I do enjoy its parable-like simplicity though about individual will power, fear, and bureaucratic cronyism.

Also I highly recommend reading "The House of the Scorpion" which is another "young adult" dystopia but is definitely more adult than "City of Ember". The author, Nancy Farmer, is an excellent storyteller particularly when handling child characters. The book takes place in a futuristic Mexico which is run by an Oligarchy of Opium mob families that use clones as slaves. Very enjoyable read - I've revisited it several times over the years.

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  • 2 months later...

I just finished this really great scifi-distopian novel called We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin. It reminded me a lot of Anthem, but imo it's much more interesting. It's about this mathematician who finds his "soul" (his square root of -1, as he calls it) by falling in love with a strange woman (who is actually apart of an organization that wants to bring down the totalitarian government)! In the end... well, I won't write any spoilers, but it gives us a little bit of hope for the future, something that 1984 did not. [[i have no clue why this is less popular]]

"...Zamyatin's book was immediately banned in the Soviet Union. His literary position quickly deteriorated during the 1920s and he eventually fled to Paris in 1931. The novel was first published in English in 1924, but its first publication in the Soviet Union had to wait until 1988, when glasnost resulted in it appearing alongside 1984. A year later We and Brave New World were published together in a combined edition." [1]

Edited by Michele Degges
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  • 1 year later...

There is another one that I know of the Truancy trilogy by Isamu Fukui. I do not know if the third book in the series has been published or not but I read the first two.

book trailer says


In an alternate world, in a nameless totalitarian city, the autocratic Mayor rules the school system with an iron fist, with the help of his Educators. Fighting against the Mayor and his repressive Educators is a group of former students called the Truancy, whose goal is to take down the system by any means possible--at any cost."

Edited by intellectualammo
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