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5 dystopias to read before the world ends

5 dystopias to read before the world ends

5 dystopias to read before the world ends
August 06
13:00 2022

It’s become a quick turn of phrase as of late to say that the world is ending. With pandemics and social tensions growing ever present, it can be a fun and cathartic experience to settle in with a book and escape the world we live in for ones already doomed.

“Tender is the Flesh” by Agustina Bazterrica

Hungry for a dystopia that reveals the evils of the human spirit? This harrowing read from Agustina Bazterrica will certainly satisfy your appetite.

A strange disease has made all animal meat inedible and poisonous to humans, so humanity turned to the worst alternative: each other. This book takes a bite out of any reader with its slow-cooked story following Marcos, the second-in-command at a “special” meat processing plant. The gore is shockingly subtle, as Bazterrica opts to scare less with brutality and more with the horrors of the human spirit.

This book features the nastiest last-page twist of any novel out there that will have you re-reading the final words over and over. If you’re searching for a taste of the worst human nature has to offer, look no further than “Tender is the Flesh.”

“The Road” by Cormac McCarthy

If you’re looking for a book that will park you in your seat from start to finish, Cormac McCarthy’s grim novel will easily deliver.

The book never gives up what exactly caused the collapse of society, but it’s past the point of relevance as our two unnamed characters trek across the interstate. As they traverse the long-dead world, they must outrun tribes of looters, disease and cannibals while looking for anything that hasn’t already been scavenged.

Using a highly unconventional writing style that never once touches a quotation mark, McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning piece will surpass every expectation as it drenches you in bleakness. “The Road” puts you on a journey that you won’t be able to put escape while challenging the expectations of how writing must be presented.

“The Memory Police” by Yoko Ogawa

Cannibalism and anarchy aren’t the only nightmares society can sink into. “The Memory Police” provides a less intense read while still displaying a dystopia that is equally unenjoyable.

Yoko Ogawa’s piece finds us in the mind of an unnamed writer who lives on a remote island. Every so often, the people of the island will forget some crucial element of their lives, while the memory police deal with anyone with more acute minds. Alone for years after her parents are killed for going on about something called “birds,” the protagonist is forced into a race against time as she discovers truths while forgetting more and more.

Combining a blunt writing style with a human-interest story, Ogawa creates a gaslit world that pulls itself apart as she pieces the story together with a riveting end that leaves more questions than answers.

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins

No introduction is needed for this dystopic anthology that has become a 2010s classic. While often advertised as a young adult novel, make no mistake — “The Hunger Games” deals with timeless topics that transcend any age group. It has its emotional moments, but it is much more laid-back and linear compared to the blood pressure-raising intensity that other novels on this list have.

A world is divided into districts by a fascistic government that overworks and underserves its people. To keep society in check, officials hold an annual tournament where children fight to the death. Our heroine Katniss Everdeen volunteers herself to the Hunger Games in place of her sister.

This is the only book on this list that is part of a larger series. With yet another movie on the way, now is the perfect time to start or revisit this timeless collection.

“The Farm” by Joanne Ramos

The simple title of this short read by Joanne Ramos betrays the sneakily sinister and socially cognizant story that unfolds on the page.

An impoverished new mother, Jane seeks out financial relief by becoming a surrogate mother at an illustrious organization that provides everything a mother could need — so long as she doesn’t leave the premises. Trapped far away from her infant daughter, Jane’s story unravels into a commentary about sexism, class and the American dream.

Ramos’ writing is casual and comforting, a soothing tool she uses to lure the reader into a false sense of security. She gives readers a more relatable dimension.

Featured Illustration by Erika Sevilla

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Ayden Runnels

Ayden Runnels

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