Dystopian Fiction

I was recently thinking about doing some analysis of works of dystopian fiction from a preparedness perspective on this site.   I suppose I already did one when I reviewed Tomorrow When The War Began a while back ago and enjoyed doing it and have a few ideas for good ones to look at.
Simply defined, dystopian fiction takes place in some kind of a nightmare scenario.   Good examples of this would be the police state of George Orwell’s 1984 or the V for Vendetta comics/film, the Soviet invasion of the US in Red Dawn,  the nuclear war in The Day After Tomorrow and the list goes on.     Basically works of fiction that take place in a world worse off than the one we live in.   There’s a subgenre of “prepper fiction” with Joe Nobody and James Wesley Rawles’ books, Lights Out by David Crawford and others that I feel would be well within the realm of dystopian fiction.

I think it’s good to take a closer look at some of these works because you can learn a few things and exercise your imagination a bit all while entertaining yourself.    I know stumbling across various works of dystopian fiction and putting myself into the situation has definitely steered me towards being concerned with issues of preparedness.   Plus some of it is just plain cool.   Who doesn’t like Red Dawn?

 

Watch out for some posts on this subject sometime in the near future.

7 comments

  • Rottenclam

    Sadly, this is almost exclusively the kind of fiction I read these days. There was a time when I would read your average mystery or action-hero type of novel. Nowadays, the books I’m reading always have to contain some kind of survivalist angle or “prepper porn”. Still, I love them. They are my new guilty pleasure. And there is certainly no shortage of them, given that Amazon picks up ‘fan fiction’ small authors like nobodys business.

    My favorites so far have been the American Apocalypse series by “nova”, and the two novels by H. Grant Llewellyn (‘As Wind in Dry Grass’, and ‘In The Valley of Dying Stars’).

    Oh, and there is a lot of crossover with this genre into the zombie genre too. So a section of my survivalist novels also contain zombies…which is nice.

  • Ryan

    I haven’t read that many of the “prepper porn” books, but I really got into the few I’ve read despite the usual complaints of weak characters, unnatural dialogue, saving the day without using any four letter words, etc. Definitely a guilty pleasure. It feels so wrong reading them, yet so good…

    I picked up “Patriots” on a whim a few years ago before getting into the preparedness thing and I do have to say that I learned a lot from it. I thought I had stumbled into some sort of thinly-veiled survivalists manual and I suppose that’s about what it is.

    I’ll have to check out American Apocalypse and the Llewellyn novels.

  • Rottenclam

    Patriots (and Survivors) are fantastic “stories”, but horrible books. I almost feel like they would better spun as campfire tales. Still, the true “prepper” content is sooooo strong. Rawles is ‘the man’. Though I disagree with 70% of his politics and his approach to life, I still say that he has forgotten more about survivalism than even the most well-schooled survivalists today.

    Patriots was my first exposure to “prepper porn”. It got me thinking in a manner that I had never thought about before. I’m a city guy – Rawles actually got me to think about moving to the country. I was a constant debtor – Rawles got me to think about paying with everything in cash. I’m into knowledge and armchair intellect – Rawles got me to think about having practical skills. I’m into my own whimsical hobbies that tie to anachronistic material possessions – Rawles got me to thinking about owning tangible and practical items.

    So as much as I get mad at him for having a blog that is filled with a bunch of yo-yos writing articles for him…For as much as I disagree with his religious and political views…He has my utmost respect.

    Now – if you really want more of a Hunter S. Thompson survivalist view of things, check out James Dakin’s blog (formerly known as the Bison Blog). This guy is a complete maniac, and he constantly cracks me up and gets me thinking too:

    http://jamesmdakin.blogspot.com/

  • Ryan

    I read Survivors a couple months ago, but I should re-read Patriots. It’s very dense with info and I’m sure some of it was lost on me without the right frame of reference. I might get more out of it now than I did then.

    One thing I don’t like about Rawles’ books (and it’s a matter of personal preference) is that it seems like all of the characters have some sort of leg up on the average person – the guy who brings gold and silver to Afghanistan, the black lady with the massive seed collection, people being in survival groups with compounds halfway across the country stocked with all kinds of cool gear, etc. I’d like to see a good story from someone like Rawles about an average person with average circumstances dealing with this kind of thing.

    I just looked at that guy’s blog, he does seem like a maniac – I’ll dig deeper into it in the next few days.

  • Rottenclam

    When he bothers to write his own articles, I think Rawles is damned near untouchable.

    Over time, in his two novels, he has taken faint stabs at trying to get a “normal person” in there, but he does always seem to end up giving them an extreme leg-up with some weird advantage. Although, to be fair, he creates a variety of people with different ages, backgrounds, etc – that *can* do one thing to empower themselves. In that sense, he is showing us models that we can apply to our own lives (given that we all come from various backgrounds).

    If you want to read some books about “average people”, I’d highly suggest reading the 2 fictional books by James Howard Kunstler; “A World Made by Hand” and “The Witch of Hebron”. These are both stories of post-peak-oil communities 20-30 years after society has dealt with the demise of using oil. These books, in a way, opened my eyes more to what survivalism can look like under different conditions way more than Rawles’ books.

  • Ryan

    I just checked the library’s website and they have both of those titles in one book. I just put it on hold, so I’ll get to it shortly. I see they have another one by him that looks like non-fiction (at least from the title).

    Have you heard anything about Revolution on NBC? Looks like network TV is picking up a prepper porn series. From the looks of it there’s an EMP attack or something that takes out the world’s power with images of planes falling out of the sky and suburban lots ten years after the fact being used as corn patches. I’ll probably check it out if I’m home when it’s on. I’m sure it will be kind of silly. http://www.nbc.com/revolution/

  • Rottenclam

    Regarding Kunstler’s books, definitely read “A World Made By Hand” first. “The Witch of Hebron” is a sequel. The non-fiction book that is *probably* in the library is “The Long Emergency”. This is magna opus peak-oil book (and it is quite good), though he has also written a few other non-fiction books.

    I have not heard anything about “Revolution” on NBC. I watched the 5-minute intro that you linked and then found the full length pilot here: http://www.nbc.com/revolution/video/pilot/1415378

    It definitely looks silly, but at least it does not look cheap (Favreau and JJ Abrams at the helm). I see a bit of Lost meets the Hunger Games, while slightly ripping off Kunstler’s books. I watched all of Jericho (crap) and continue to watch Falling Skies (total crap). The BBC show “Survivors” is not bad though. I’d recommend that one.

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