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July 9, 2013 / The Promiscuous Reader

The Sweet Smell of Apocalypse in the Morning

I’ll admit it…I’m a sucker for dystopian fiction.  If there’s a story about a small group of brave folk banding bravely together while facing the end of the world, I’m all over it.  With the growth in popularity over the last few years of this genre, I’ve been in heaven!  Naturally, in such a crowded field, there have to be ways to set oneself apart and to that end we have robots, zombies, the moon falling out of orbit, vampires, plagues and…you get the picture.  Apparently there’s no end to the ways in which the world can, well, end.

Over the past few years I’ve read several books that could be considered part of the genre.  Here’s a rundown of a few of the top dystopian novels I’ve read.

  • Since it’s currently a blockbuster movie, I’ll start with World War Z by Max Brooks.  Now, if you’ve seen the movie don’t be surprised when you pick up the book and find a series of stories from around the world at the time of the “the zombie war” that don’t strictly follow the narrative of the movie.  Unfortunately, despite my warnings, my son, who’d seen the movie first (usually a mistake) was disappointed.

  • Another book that follows a similar structure as World War Z is Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson. Just imagine robots in place of zombies.  This one also has a structure that follows a variety of characters from around the globe.  One of my favorites was the story of the Takeo Nomura who, because of his love for his robot, ends up coming up with a workable solution to the problem.

  • These next two selections are YA series that I’ve especially enjoyed reading.  The first, the Life As We Knew It series, currently has three books that have been released with a fourth due to be released in August 2013.  The first two books tell two different versions of life immediately after the disaster and the third weaves these two narratives together when the two protagonists meet a year later. The Rot & Ruin series is another zombie series and has been a fun read-along with my zombie-obsessed middle schooler.  It follows a young boy as he matures and learns more about what being a hero really means.

  • These last two series I’ve mentioned previously on the blog.  The Strain Trilogy was co-written by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.  A super vampire virus spreads through the world assisted by a wealthy, but sickly man seeking immortality.  Very dark.  The next series, The Passage Trilogy by Justin Cronin, is, as I told my dad, like early Stephen King (think, The Stand).  I don’t want to give too much away, because the story unfolds so carefully but I recommend it without reservation to friends interested in end of the world type stories.

Finally, in a quick search of dystopian lit online, I made some fabulous discoveries that will definitely be added to my TBR list.  First and foremost of these is Jasper Fforde’s book called Shades of Grey.  Yes, currently this title probably will get a double take or two while reading on the bus, but I so enjoyed Fforde’s Thursday Next novels that I will put up with the quizzical looks and read on.  Also on the list was Wool by Hugh Howey.  It already happens to be on my Kindle since I’d read about it in another article and it was available free through Amazon.  Now I’m doubly excited to read it.  What end of the world fare have you been reading?

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