Although I can't explain it, teen publishing trends clearly demonstrate that we are obsessed with our own destruction.
The truth is, I'm getting a little tired of dystopic reads, but there isn't a lot I can do about it because publishers just keep churning them out. And, truth be told, there are a lot of great dystopic reads out there. Let me tell you about just a few of my favourites:
Bacigalupi paints a bleak future for earth--a world where fossil fuels have all been used and the oceans have risen to drown coastal cities. It is here that we meet Nailer, a ship breaker. He and many others are foreced to scavenge beached oil tankers for things like copper wire and fuel. When Nailer finds a beached clipper he is forced to decide if he will strip the ship of its wealth and become a rich man, or try and save the ships only survivor--a rich girl, daughter of a shipping-company's owner.
Geneticists have developed a vaccine for all physical ailments and administered it to a whole generation. What they didn't know, was that their vaccine was a time-bomb. The children of this generation are now susceptible to a virus that claims the lives of men at 25 and women at 20. There are few remaining first-generation individuals who are now aging, and working hard to develop an antidote. Meanwhile, perpetuating the species is of the utmost importance. The need for new births has spawned an ugly breeding program where young women are kidnapped and forced into polygamist marriages. Rhine, a 16-year old, has been taken from her Manhattan home and thrust into the hands of a wealthy young man as his fourth wife. Her determination to escape never wavers, despite the privilge and comfort of her husband's mansion.
Cassia Reyes lives in a perfect society. What's more, she is perfect--a model student, daughter and citizen who has everything she needs: food, shelter, education, training and even a future husband that has been carefully chosen just for her. Cassia even knows when she will die--after all, every citizen in this perfectly controlled, perfectly monitored world dies at 80--the perfect age to die.
At Cassia's Match Banquet she is paired with Xander, her best friend and definitely her soul mate, and everything seems fine. But when a computer error shows Cassia Ky's face instead of Xander's, Cassia starts to have questions. Her mind begins to work differently and and suddenly Cassia's society doesn't seem so perfect anymore.
Matched has been compared to Margared Atwood's Handmaid's Tale, Lois Lowry's The Giver as well as George Orwell's 1984. Definitely worth the read.
It is time for Tally Youngblood to party. Her sixteenth birthday is coming up and soon she will be transormed into a great beauty. Scott Westerfeld paints a world where people are perfectly proportioned, perfecly groomed and perfectly lovely. Modern science has developed a surgery that has elimited all forms of ugliness--but at what expense?
Right before her surgery, Tally meets Shay, a wild, willful girl who decides she doesn't want the surgery. To Tally, this is unheard of--or is it?
Tally discovers a group of runaways who have all chosen not to have the surgery and live at a refugee camp -- the Smoke. It is there that Tally and the other refugess start to learn more about the perfection surgery and the price you pay for beauty.
Years ago a grand experiment led to the development of Incarceron -- a gigantic prison made of metal and designed with cutting edge technology. Incarceron was created to lock away all undersirables, resulting in a perfect utopia.
The experiement failed and Incarceron became self-aware, sentient and tyrannical, and generations of inmates have been struggling to survive. Technolgy has now been outlawed and society has reverted to a feudal state.
Claudia, daughter of Incarceron's warden has an arranged marriage to an impending heir. When the marriage is moved forward, Claudia vows to do whatever it takes to avoid it --i ncluding helping a prisoner of Incarceron to escape.
In order to end war, society has been divided into five factions: Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (fearlessness), Candor (truth), Erudite (intellect), Amity (friendship). At sixteen, you are allowed to decide which faction you will spend the rest of your life in.
Beatrice Prior was raised as an Abnegation, but is certain she does not want to remain there. She takes her aptitude test to discover which faction she is best suited to and surprisingly, is given several options. Beatrice is Divergent -- a fact that she cannot reveal to anyone. She chooses to join the Dauntless faction and undergoes an exhausting initiation ritual which will determine if she can remain with the faction or must go factionless.
Beatrice slowly discovers what it means to be Divergent and learns more about how her society has maintained peace.
This is such a popular topic, Tyler posted on it just last year, so if you want to hear abour more dystopic reads check out his post.
Now, one final thought. Because thoughts of our impending destruction (or not) have been on my mind, I've started collecting dystopic songs to make a little 'The world is going to be destroyed and we're all gonna die' playlist. There are tons of great tunes on this topic--clearly people have been thinking about the end of the world for a long time. This is what I've collected so far:
- You and the Candles Hawksley Workman
- Tables and Chairs Andrew Bird
- It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) REM
- The Beginning After the End Stars
- The Eve of Destruction Barry McGuire
- Animals andThe Wall Pink Floyd
- They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From the Dead!! Ahhhh! Sufjan Stevens
- 2+2=5 Radiohead
- Citizens of Tomorrow Tokyo Police Club
- Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground) by Mike + The Mechanics
What am I missing? Tell me all your best end of the world songs so I can beef up my list!