*SFN*: A Book Showcase: Dystopian from a Skeptics POV!

Posted Thursday, 7 November, 2013 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , 3 Comments


| A Book Showcase: Dystopian from a Skeptics POV |

I must confess, I have been avoiding reading books that fall under this sub-heading across all genres for such a long time because I still have issues with certain books I read whilst in school! Writers like Steinbeck and Orwell did not paint my future well for appreciating dystopian stories! Nor did I feel very inclined to read them on my own inclination due to the heavy amount of violence and dark undertones that seemed to be all the rage inside the stories that were being produced for the genre overall. Which is why I decided to undertake this challenge during SFN! To approach the genre as a skeptic, but perhaps emerge after a month of readings as an appreciator?


Sounds pretty straight-forward doesn’t it!? OR, is it really!? To walk through a genre where you have already set your mind partially against with only a sliver of a door ajar to entertain the smallest of margins that there could be a book out there that could interest you of Dystopian origins? I knew prior to Sci-Fi November taking wing and shape that I would have to avoid all the typical books under this umbrella that I knew would not tempt me nor dissuade me of my pre-set and pre-determined opinion! Novels such as The Hunger Games for instance! I understand its a world-renowned phenom but I am simply not the girl for that kind of story, sorry! Its a champion amongst my friends’ which I fully respect, but as for me!? Sorry. No! I’d rather see Harry Potter IIX!

After making my choice to embark down a road of the unknown, I found myself a bit intrigued by what I was finding as apparently this branch of the genre is a bit more wide encompassing than I previously gave it credit for bearing! So much so, I was quite happy by find the following selection of books:

  • Prized by Caragh M. O’Brien
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  • Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi*
  • The Postman by David Brin
  • Across the Universe by Beth Revis
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth

*replaced: All Our Yesterdays as Rinn kindly pointed out I had mistaken this for Dystopian rather than Time Travel!

Previously, when I had seen the film previews for “Cloud Atlas” I all but shrugged my shoulders and rolled my eyes over the insanity of that premise! It wasn’t until I was curating a short list of books to seek out and attempt to read this month for SFN, that I started to approach Cloud Atlas from a reader’s point of view rather than a girl simply turned off by a motion picture trailer! I’ll freely admit that there are occasions where I surprise myself, there are times where I don’t feel keen on a subject or a story at the first look-see, and there are other times where my first impression of a story or character were jolly justified. It all depends. I always strive to keep an open mind, but there are certain elements that tend to turn me off more than allow me to enter into a setting that at first might appear to be the complete opposite of something I’d been keen to get to know on a deeper level. I still might pick up Cloud Atlas and wonder why I even bothered, or perhaps just as plausible I will pick up the book and wonder why I hadn’t read it sooner!?

I hadn’t even felt that The Postman, the beloved film of mine from yesterday’s past would even be considered part of a genre I always have been outspoken against! Talk about a proper wake-up call! I would suppose this would be akin to saying that despite the fact I am not a particular fan of horror, there are elements of my interests that run parallel to the horror genre, yet I do not watch, read, or listen to horror itself! Wells, except for the odd classic motion picture that is considered ‘classic horror’ but for me is more psychologically suspenseful! I am starting to wonder if there was a sub-path inside Dystopian that I have simply overlooked all these years, if I could find seven potential novels to read, whose to say I could not uncover others!?

I’ll admit I have read so many lists by other readers who are recommending their favourite Dsytopian novel that I nearly felt it was going to be a hopeless pursuit! You see, I suppose I wanted to seek out stories that had a bit of hope left inside them, where the dark undertones were not completely overtaking the plot, and where the level of violence would not supercede my tolerance for its inclusion! I was looking for stories that would stand out to me rather than disinterest me merely by plot premise! A daunting task but I like to challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone more times than naught, and this felt like a good challenge to me!

What I am keenly interested in is having this post serve as a conversation opener as I would love to hear from other SFN participants who are more well-versed in this genre than I am, put in their thoughts about the type of story that I am seeking and if they have found any that they think I might appreciate reading myself!? This is merely the start of a quest to seek out books and authors who write Dystopian stories that are gentle enough and engaging enough to draw my interest!

I suppose the Skeptic POV is simply this:

I do not think I’ll become over the moon excited about a Dystopian novel simply because I have had bad experiences with similar authors and books in the past.

I do not think we need to consume books with such darkly lit story-lines in order to learn something of the story.

I do not find it necessary to always walk down such a dark road of disillusionment to step back into the light.

I’m on the fence about whether or not I am going to enjoy the stories or if I’m going to find what I always felt I might if I read Dystopian stories: seriously serious plots in a world that feels like its holding me down with negativity.

Are there any happy endings in a Dystopian novel?

And, there you have it! A literary experiment to unearth if I can find a semblance of enjoyment from a genre I have positively avoided in the past! To see if there are a few authors and stories out there that fall close enough to what I generally find myself fond of reading, to where I can carve out a bit of a niche instead Dsytopian literature! More than even that, to use this post to serve as a stepping stone of conversation to help me further educate myself on the genre I know so little about! Let the reading begin!

This feature is brought to you by:

Sci-Fi November | Hosted by Rinn Reads{SOURCE: Sci-Fi November Badge provided by Rinn Reads for participants to advert the month long event and to encourage people to follow along with those of us who are contributing}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2013.

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Thursday, 7 November, 2013 by jorielov in Dystopian, Sci-Fi November

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3 responses to “*SFN*: A Book Showcase: Dystopian from a Skeptics POV!

  1. Fahrenheit 451 is brilliant and is probably in my list of top ten all-time reads. 1984, The Hunger Games trilogy, and The Road are other dystopian favourites of mine. I’m not familiar with many of the books you listed, though.

  2. I personally really enjoy Dystopians because they’re perfect for a scary read. I mean, what’s more frightening than the human race turning on each other? The only issue nowadays is that YA Dystopian has flooded the market and it’s really hard to pick out the good ones.

    Another one you might like (although it’s a bit violent) is The Passage by Justin Cronin. Set on a dystopian Earth, a virus is spreading amongst humankind that turns its victims into vampire like creatures. A brilliant book (but pretty hefty at about 800 pages), the sequel ‘The Twelve’ came out last year.

    • Hallo Rinn,

      Actually, I was sort trying to avoid the guttingly visual and graphic violent stories! :( Would “The Passage” fall into this category or would it be more like a cozy mystery with hard-boiled edges inside it?! I’m always better to compare my tolerance levels with the murder mysteries I like to read! For instance, I can handle Heather Graham’s Ghost Harrison series & Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse series (as their both listed in my sidebar for favourite authors) however, I am not akin to harder hitting murder mysteries like James Patterson or such?

      The page count wouldn’t discourage me but the level of violence might! I have noticed the same as you, that there is a heap of YA DYS on the market right now, and for someone like me whose entire approach is with a skeptic eye it makes navigating this even more difficult than usual! :( This is why I appreciated that you dropped by and offered a suggestion! I am hoping more will drop by throughout the month!

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