First line: A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories. Over the main entrance the words “Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre” and, in a shield, the World State's Motto: “Community, Identity, Stability”.
1984 by George Orwell: Something tells me I *may* have mentioned this novel a *few* times before… Orwell's prophetic future consists of a totalitarian government (ruled by the omnipresent "Big Brother"). And amongst this constant surveillance, arises our unlikely hero: everyman Winston Smith. Winston isn't a "hero" by nature, but by chance as he one day begins to write in a diary – an act which would be strictly forbidden. In 1984 Orwell imagines every aspect of a dystopian future (newspeak, Room 101, you name it)… this novel is perhaps the most dystopian of all dystopians.
First line: It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
First line: It was a pleasure to burn.
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood: Atwood depicts a dystopian future where women have no rights. Birth rates are down in the post-nuclear age of Gilead, so all fertile women (referred to as the Handmaids) are forced to produce offspring in order to keep the population going. Offred is a handmaid: everything about her life is stripped away from her, she's not even trusted to read. Atwood's dystopian is perhaps the most fascinating – I've got two more chapters left and I can't coherently explain how brilliant it is.
First line: We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro: I think the most interesting thing about Ishiguro's world is that it's easily the most character-driven. And since you know the characters so well, the slow reveal of the real purpose behind Hailsham's nurturing facade becomes all the more painful. I can't really explain why I love this dystopian without spoiling it, but Ishiguro explores childhood innocence and the way a society can exploit it.
First line: My name is Kathy H. I'm thirty-one years old, and I've been a carer now for over eleven years.
Do you have any favourite dystopians that you'd like to recommend? I'd love to hear your recommendations!