The Sheep Look Up never gets enough recognition
September 8, 2017 9:16 PM   Subscribe

Vulture lists 100 great dystopian novels.
posted by Chrysostom (71 comments total) 89 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hey, look, it's a list of my favorite books of all time, including Marge Percy and John Brunner. And I wonder how I got so fucked up and cynical.
posted by loquacious at 10:08 PM on September 8 [13 favorites]


For a book that doesn't deal at all with the penetration of computing into the lives of ordinary people, it is startlingly, even uncannily prescient. It completely changed how I think about science fiction - and genre fiction more broadly - and brought me back to it as a serious reader as an adult.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:26 PM on September 8 [5 favorites]


Which book, ryanshepard?
posted by Chrysostom at 10:28 PM on September 8


Sorry - The Sheep Look Up.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:29 PM on September 8 [2 favorites]


Ah! Yes. For the computing angle, The Shockwave Rider is the way to go.

Brunner mostly wrote a lot of middling stuff, but for four or five books there, he was seriously on fire.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:31 PM on September 8 [8 favorites]


I've read five of the good Brunner books: The Sheep Look Up, Stand on Zanzibar, The Stone That Never Came Down, Jagged Orbit and The Shockwave Rider.

Parts of them are so spot on sometimes they're utterly bewildering how close he predicted some pretty complicated and nasty stuff.

Like Sturgeon most of the rest of his catalog is weird, mealy pulp.
posted by loquacious at 11:02 PM on September 8 [6 favorites]


Whoa, I read The Sheep Look Up in high school and immediately did my absolute damnedest to compel everyone else to read it too.

This list is already OK with me.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:48 PM on September 8 [1 favorite]


Like Sturgeon most of the rest of his catalog is weird, mealy pulp.
Pistols at dawn.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:09 AM on September 9 [8 favorites]


I'll suggest two books by Australian sci-fi writer George Turner: Drowning Towers (1987 winner of the Arthus C Clarke award under the original title: The Sea and Summer) and Brain Child (1991). Both deal with a world wrecked by climate change, technology-based unemployment, human genetic augmentation, and so on. Cassandra novels.
posted by Auden at 12:26 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


A fine list. I would probably have added a couple of books by Iain (M.) Banks, e.g., The Bridge or Feersum Engine, and while new wave SF was represented by Ballard, Barefoot in the Head by Brian W. Aldiss might also be of interest.
posted by bouvin at 1:26 AM on September 9 [5 favorites]


An interesting list even if there's plenty to quibble with, like e.g. the classification of The Dying Earth or The Book of the New Sun as dystopian rather than far future fantasies. Just because our world is forgotten and crushed under the flow of history doesn't make it dystopian.

Same with novels like Neuromancer.

Also, the inclusion of The Wind-up Girl with its relentless orientalism and utterly stupid future immediately invalidates this as a list of the best dystopian novels.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:34 AM on September 9 [9 favorites]


This is an odd list. Many of the titles aren't dystopian (as MartinWisse pointed out) and it mixes in a short story and some comics (which, if you're going to do that, there are so many that a list would be too long to use). And some of the descriptions are off-kilter or just peculiar. Mentioning three of Ballard's Element novels, but ignoring the fourth, The Wind from Nowhere, for instance. See, Ballard has Earth/humanity dying from fire, water, earth (crystal world), and air so... But okay, this is quibble, I guess. I mean it's a nice list and all but doesn't live up to the premise. Dystopia is about social organization gone wrong, not bad things happening to organized society. (So The Stars My Destination is not dystopian, it's more a Jacobean revenge play, or Victor Hugo in the future or something. And Dhalgren is not dystopian, it's about another world glimpsed in 1966-67. And... and... /rant)
posted by CCBC at 2:57 AM on September 9 [8 favorites]


Sheep was the most depressing book I'd read to that date (sometime in the '70s), probably because I could believe it all might come true.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:23 AM on September 9 [2 favorites]


How in Cthulhu's name did the author of this list manage to discuss Ryman's The Child Garden without mentioning that it's explicitly an LGBT dystopia?!?

And I'm with CCBC on this being a very odd list, that confuses a crapsack world setting with actual dystopia. (A crapsack setting may provide the background for a dystopian narrative ... or it can be the background for a story about breaking out of a dystopian frame and building something better (or escaping).
posted by cstross at 4:26 AM on September 9 [6 favorites]


There's a lot to like about this list - I was impressed by the depth of the mid-century section. ]

I do feel like it skews way too recent, not least because there's a lot of very so-so near-future dystopias right now. I appreciate that we all have the same concerns with climate change, Peter Thiel becoming immortal through drinking the blood of the young, etc, but there's only so many really new observations to make on the topic. (It's funny, I guess I'd almost always rather read a realistic novel than a near-future dystopia, because I feel like science fiction is more likely to be really new and interesting when it's far future-y, space-y or otherworldly; the mere near-future often seems sort of samey, and it tends to leave out the psychological realism and day-to-day texture that regular fiction draws from being in the now.)

That said, look, okay, The Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman is not even remotely a dystopia, or even science fiction. It's a sort of pomo-y fantasy pastiche that, frankly, is really careless in how it deals with race. (Carter is obviously trying to unpack all kinds of stuff about racist tropes and anxieties, but whoa, that is not how I'd do it. I like Angela Carter a lot, and it's a significant book, but it really illustrates how white left writers of the sixties/seventies were not in dialogue with writers of color on this stuff.) But still, dude, it's not even science fiction.
posted by Frowner at 5:02 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


Like most of these kinds of lists, it gets way less selective as it gets to recent years, with much less curation for the newer titles. Maybe that is inevitable, but sometimes the range of quality can be rather broad.

And, like many of these lists that I see here, I get a strong sense that someone knew enough to start it, but then completed it with google searches and looking at other people's top-100 lists.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:11 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


Wow... that's a depressing list.... I've seen a few of those books made into movies... World War Z for example... I feel the need for injecting an antidote... an anti-distopian novel, just to help balance out the world... where people are thrown into a crapsack, and fix it...

1632 by Eric Flint is such a novel.... a town is transported from 2000 West Virginia backwards to the year 1632 in the middle of the 30 years war, in Germany... and proceeds to kick off democratic revolution a hundred years early. I found it to focus my attention on the infrastructure we all depend on, including our libraries and machine shops.
posted by MikeWarot at 5:31 AM on September 9 [5 favorites]


Yeah, it's a weird list, conflating dystopian fiction, apocalyptic fiction, crapsack worlds, and even some utopian fiction (although it sort of tries to explain why it does the last.) That being said, I'm glad it includes some favorites of mine that are a bit more obscure along with the well-known classics.

Geoff Ryman's The Child Garden, Nicola Griffith's Slow River, Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines, and M. T. Anderson's Feed are all great, great books, even if they don't have the name recognition of 1984 or The Handmaid's Tale.
posted by kyrademon at 5:31 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


A list that includes "Ready Player One" and Ayn Rand (a book that they describe as a slog), but ignores "The Postmortal"? This author understands that these lists are primarily good for angering people.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:06 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


Not quite entriely dystopian, but very much along those lines, The Alteration is a novel about an english choirboy in a world where instead of nailing his theses to the door, Martin Luther becomes pope, and Catholic Hegemony rules over europe. There are some nasty bits......

It's author? Martin Amis.
posted by lalochezia at 6:34 AM on September 9 [1 favorite]


Expected to see Lanark there. Was disappointed.
posted by kariebookish at 6:36 AM on September 9 [2 favorites]


Very interesting and at times strange list. It hits the classics one might expect - We, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Brave New World - then piles on some lesser know books. Then adds, as others have said, titles that aren't exactly dystopias. (Gene Wolfe? The Stars My Destination?)

A fun reading list!
posted by doctornemo at 7:05 AM on September 9


It's excellent to start my (web) day with a little love for John Brunner. Just to be clear, the only title of his on the list is Stand on Zanzibar. Brunner's lesser novels are not up to his best, but they always contain an idea that's worth considering. Should you have those pulp titles and want to divest yourself of them, send them my way; I lost my Brunner collection in a flood. I really like post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction, but I can't read it right now, reality is too dystopian already.
posted by theora55 at 7:06 AM on September 9 [2 favorites]


Late 60s/early 70s Brunner is basically "Hey, do you want to see what SF will be focusing on in 10-15 years?"
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:28 AM on September 9 [10 favorites]


In the past year or two I've been picking up John Brunner novels as I see them in used bookstores; this week I read The Stone That Never Came Down.

It always seemed odd to me that a writer as prolific as Brunner rarely got any shelf space at the new book stores I have frequented from the 1980s through now. Most of the other authors collected in Dangerous Visions were far easier for me to access 35 years ago.
posted by Radiophonic Oddity at 7:31 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


When I read Stand on Zanzibar, I checked the publication date and it was something like 8 or 10 years earlier than I'd expected. So, yeah. What ROU_Xenophobe said
posted by rmd1023 at 9:26 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


I'm reading The Last Policeman trilogy by Ben Winters right now. The book is excellent in its pacing. The basic premise is that a comet is hurtling towards earth and impact will most likely wipe out all life on Earth but policing and keeping the peace still goes on. In the first half of the first book the murder/possible suicide mystery is a little slow and uncertain but that allows the reader to take in all the implications as society generally begins to unravel. It is heartbreaking of course to consider what happens if people think civilization itself has no future and their present day actions have little consequence. Why bother to recycle? Why bother to educate children? Why bother to keep your marriage vows or go to work? One of my favorite details is that people take up smoking again and restaurants and bars that stay in business become the smoke-filled rooms of the 50's.

I did a lot of SF reading as a teenager and even took a class on it in college in the early 80's. It's only in the last 10 years that I have returned to the fold, much of that interest I ascribe to Atwood. Many of the books on the list I read nearly 40 years ago but a good dystopian novel like Canticle for Leibowitz can really stick in your head. I also read a lot of spy thrillers and horror as well but the SF genre aspired to a loftier plane and occasionally reached that goal.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:43 AM on September 9 [2 favorites]


Like Sturgeon most of the rest of his catalog is weird, mealy pulp.

a man's gotta eat.

And who says Stand on Zanzibar is dystopian? (SPOILER ALERT): mankind starts evolving at the end. Of course, this was ten years before Devo put that idea down.
posted by philip-random at 10:11 AM on September 9 [1 favorite]


I frequently enjoy reading dystopian or post-apocalyptic novels just to try and figure out how the new society is structured: what are the rules, who is in charge, etc. The Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey was one such series that kept me engaged without depressing the heck out of me.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:30 AM on September 9


I'm reading The Last Policeman trilogy by Ben Winters right now.

Those books destroyed me when I was reading them. I had to keep reminding myself to give a shit about anything again when I would come up for air because I was so sucked into that world, and I clearly do not have Palace's fortitude

One of my favorite details is that people take up smoking again and restaurants and bars that stay in business become the smoke-filled rooms of the 50's.

The last season of the tv version of The Leftovers, another wonderfully soul-destroying yet somehow affirming series, reminded me so much of this trilogy.
posted by bibliowench at 11:22 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


They left out the greatest of all post-apocalyptic novels, George R. Stewart's Earth Abides.
posted by goatdog at 11:30 AM on September 9 [7 favorites]


I miss The Gone Away War on that list
posted by Omnomnom at 11:52 AM on September 9 [1 favorite]


Pistols at dawn.

Pistols? How quaint. *drops a black hole in your pocket*

a man's gotta eat.

I should probably make it clear that Theodore Sturgeon is probably my favorite SF author of all time, though Marge Piercy and Sherri S. Tepper might surpass him at this point, as I've outgrown his wide-eyed innocence and utopianism. I've basically read everything of his that I can get my hands on. A lot of it was mealy pulp fiction written just so he could eat. And as far as random pulp fiction goes, it's still better than most.

Apparently Vonnegut and a few other authors helped support him, as he was famously broke for most of his life.
posted by loquacious at 12:08 PM on September 9 [4 favorites]


lalochezia: "Not quite entriely dystopian, but very much along those lines, The Alteration is a novel about an english choirboy in a world where instead of nailing his theses to the door, Martin Luther becomes pope, and Catholic Hegemony rules over europe. There are some nasty bits...... "

It's fun to do a compare and contrast between The Alteration and Pavane by Keith Roberts.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:11 PM on September 9 [2 favorites]


whoa

Apparently Vonnegut and a few other authors helped support [Theodore Sturgeon], as he was famously broke for most of his life.

Just realized why there is a Vonnegut character named Kilgore Trout.

/whoa
posted by Daily Alice at 1:47 PM on September 9 [18 favorites]


The Road isn't a dystopia. It's a no-topia. As in, there's nothing fucking left. It's like calling Threads a neo-pastoral.

I don't mind seeing Akira on this list, but if you're going to include manga, then Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind should also be on there. Early modern states scavenging the remains of a vastly technologically superior society and fighting each other while the wastelands created by a devastating war (involving giant robots) continues to expand? I think that counts.

Disappointed not to see Jack Womack's Random Acts of Senseless Violence on the list, although perhaps it is getting a bit too real these days.

Divergent? Oh, fuck off.

Atlas Shrugged? Oh, fuck right off.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:54 PM on September 9 [6 favorites]


I think it's pretty much inevitable that a list like this will have some surprising omissions (e.g., The Iron Heel, Kallocain, The Chrysalids, Logan's Run, Uglies) and include some questionable choices.

I do kind of wish it had focused a bit less on things that aren't really dystopian but get lumped in with it, and used the space for things not normally put into dystopian lit but fit the definition reasonably well -- dystopian fantasy, Kafka, etc.
posted by kyrademon at 2:16 PM on September 9


Yeah, all four of Brunner's Club of Rome novels really should've made the list, not just Stand on Zanzibar. (The other three are The Sheep Look Up, The Jagged Orbit, and Shockwave Rider.)

Also, as an aside for other Brunner fans, since i've seen several folks mention The Stone that Never Came Down -- a current SF writer, James Alan Gardner, wrote a sort of homage to it as part of his League of Peoples series. The first in the series is Expendable, and you should probably start there; but the second, Vigilant, is Gardner's love letter to Stone.
posted by adrienneleigh at 3:29 PM on September 9 [3 favorites]


The real dystopia is the one where you try reading an article on the internet about books but some script apparently embedded in an advertisement randomly scrolls you back to the top every two minutes or so. A chilling prospect.
posted by eykal at 4:11 PM on September 9 [5 favorites]


I do appreciate that Riddley Walker is on the list. Also Girl Who Owned a Citywas a childhood favorite.
And seconding the White Skull 's recommendation of Nausicaa (skip the crappy truncated anime, please, and read the manga in its full multivolume glory).
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 4:16 PM on September 9 [1 favorite]


Dystopia is about social organization gone wrong, not bad things happening to organized society. (So The Stars My Destination is not dystopian, it's more a Jacobean revenge play, or Victor Hugo in the future or something.

You forget how women were treated in Stars my Destination; for half the population, it's extremely fucking dystopic. But hey, unless they are forcibly used as breeding stock, I guess the treatment of women doesn't qualify something as dystopia.
posted by happyroach at 4:45 PM on September 9 [4 favorites]


I've read Stand on Zanzibar, Jagged Orbit and Shockwave rider and loved them but couldn't get through Sheep. Not that it wasn't good but it was so depressing that I just couldn't face living that world. I should go back to it seeing as how I'm going to be living in that world whether I want to or not.
posted by octothorpe at 4:45 PM on September 9 [1 favorite]


May I suggest the book, I Who Have Never Known Men. Heavy.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 5:03 PM on September 9 [2 favorites]


If I could make a few other Brunner recommendations outside the dystopic novels: I greatly enjoyed The Crucible of Time and The Compleat Traveler in Black. The Best of John Brunner also has some good stuff.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:42 PM on September 9 [2 favorites]


Octothorpe: Yeah, Sheep is the only one of the four i have never reread, and i never will. I reread Shockwave Rider every few years, on the other hand -- because while it's a very realistic dystopia, it ends on a real note of hope.

Chrysostom: I've read nearly everything Brunner's ever written, including the deeply pulpy stuff, and i concur, all of those are excellent choices. :) I'm also particularly fond of a couple of his lighter-but-still-thoughtful works, The Long Result and Born Under Mars -- both novels are deeply concerned with engineering stable, long-term societies, and the tradeoffs one makes in order to do so.
posted by adrienneleigh at 5:47 PM on September 9


Ooh, I'll have to track those down. I also liked The Squares of the City, but more in a, "hmmm, that's an impressive thing do with the strictures you chose" way (it was based on the moves of a chess game).
posted by Chrysostom at 5:51 PM on September 9 [1 favorite]


Oh, my.

well that should keep me out of trouble for 5 more years

but after that ... watch out
posted by Twang at 6:23 PM on September 9


Just realized why there is a Vonnegut character named Kilgore Trout.

And he was a penniless pulp fiction author, no less. (Ambiguity intended.)
posted by loquacious at 6:23 PM on September 9


Yay! New politics thread! Yay! New escapist reading thread!
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:59 PM on September 9


The Sheep Look Up gets enormous respect from me and has since I read it 20 years ago.
posted by SteveLaudig at 9:37 PM on September 9 [1 favorite]


The list mentions "The Just City" by Jo Walton which I haven't read. But I've just finished her "Small Change" trilogy, an alternate history about a Britain sliding slowly into fascism after signing a peace treaty with Germany in 1941, and I thought it was one of the most grimly plausible dystopias I've read. Very very good.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:49 PM on September 9 [2 favorites]


Ah, here's a dystopian setting not many people have thought about: Harry Potter. Class ridden, antiquated and cruel notions of law and punishment, incompetent bureaucrats failing to hold the line against a racist agitator. It's not a nice place to live.


I also think I have to revisit what I said about The Stars my Destination. I'm not sure that "Women are treated as property" is so much dystopic, as a standard setting trope for Fantasy and Science Fiction. Is the status of women in TSmD really all that different from their second class status in A Mote in God's Eye? In this view, A Handmaid's Tale might be considered dystopic not so much because of the status of women in the story, but because it's told from the PoV of women, and truly extrapolates out the horror of such a society. Like the difference between "Gone with the Wind", and Gary Paulson's "Nightjohn". or Julius Lester's "Day of Tears".
posted by happyroach at 11:58 PM on September 9 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde wasn't on that list - it's one of the best recent dystopian novels I've read.
posted by bq at 12:02 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


no KW Jeter

now that's an oversight
posted by philip-random at 12:08 AM on September 10


May I suggest the book, I Who Have Never Known Men. Heavy.

Yes, I read that probably 20 years ago now and it still sticks in the memory.
posted by tavella at 12:10 AM on September 10 [1 favorite]


HappyRoach: You forget how women were treated in Stars my Destination; for half the population, it's extremely fucking dystopic. But hey, unless they are forcibly used as breeding stock, I guess the treatment of women doesn't qualify something as dystopia.
The question is, how is Bester's society different from that of the time he wrote it? Breeding stock? From the viewpoint of the males running the show, perhaps, but was that different from pre-birth control society generally? Certainly not different in the European era Bester used as a template, at least for the class he was talking about.
Now, if you want to argue that all fiction is dystopic before some given point in time, then you may be correct.
posted by CCBC at 3:44 AM on September 10


HappyRoach, I just read your followup post. That bit about The Handmaid's Tale -- I don't know, but it got me thinking. Is dystopia even conceivable unless there are agreed standards of norm-topia? And if those norms include institutions such as slavery, then what? Thomas More's Utopian society was pretty dystopic from our perspective.
posted by CCBC at 3:51 AM on September 10


TheophileEscargot, the Just City is wonderful but it's the point in that list where I went from grumbling sottovoce "that's hardly dystopian, that? Why is that on this silly list" to flat out loud this list sucks. The Small Change books are much more dystopian - if so dark that I can't read them and I've read just about everything Jo Walton has ever written, twice. The Just City books (there are also three!) are really strange. They're philosophical allegories that are very upfront about being philosophical allegories. But they are also good (if a tad slow moving) fiction: at the same time the characters are discussing philosophy they're also ..having a plot which is moving forward and changing and revealing complexity, etc. They are like the literary equivalent of this painting. I recommend them highly if you are into novels of ideas. But there is nothing dystopic about them.
posted by mygothlaundry at 4:13 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


> "You forget how women were treated in Stars my Destination; for half the population, it's extremely fucking dystopic."

When Naomi Alderman was asked if "The Power" was dystopic fiction, her reply was that everything that happens in the novel is happening to women RIGHT NOW, so if it's dystopic fiction we're living in a dystopia.
posted by kyrademon at 5:56 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


I'm definitely going to read The Just City when I get around to it. I put the Small Change trilogy on hold for years because the first one was so grim, just went back to the last two as they're so horrifically relevant at the moment.

The second volume is as downbeat as the first, the third volume less so.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:32 AM on September 10


These lists are always a combination of infuriating and useful.

"Earth Abides" is the glaring omission for me - it's mostly a thought experiment on the ecological consequences of most of humanity disappearing.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:55 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


There's no Doris Lessing. How in the name of all things speculative is there no Doris Lessing on this list? I mean, I've read a lot of these books and they're fine and all, but she towers by comparison. She even won the Nobel Prize.

Lessing is for me the ultimate dystopian novelist. She is absolutely clear-eyed about what can happen when a society breaks down, and she never for a moment loses sight of her subjects' humanity. Her love for her characters is savage and pitiless, yet somehow in the darkness she always offers a glimpse of redemption, even when it never arrives.

They should have listed The Memoirs of a Survivor. It's quite a lot better than The Dark Knight Returns.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 12:43 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


Phillip K Dick's, The Penultimate Truth, dystopian and relevant.
posted by Oyéah at 2:13 PM on September 10


This is...actually a pretty excellent list. Thanks!
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:54 PM on September 10


They left out the greatest of all post-apocalyptic novels, George R. Stewart's Earth Abides.

While I agree that Earth Abides should be on just about every list of "good books" regardless of context, I consider that certainly post-apocalyptic, but more utopian than dystopian.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:48 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


Jo Walton's collected Thessaly trilogy (The Just City, The Philosopher Kings, Necessity) comes out in a single volume in two days, but you can pre-order it on Amazon now.
posted by homunculus at 3:59 PM on September 10


Lot and Lot's Daughter (by Ward Moore) was among the bleakest and most convincing of the post-nuclear war dystopias of the early '50s, that brief period of the cold war before nuclear arsenals grew so huge as to make novels positing mere survival of the human race almost necessarily fantasies:
“Lot” deals with David Jimmon, a Los Angeles suburbanite whose car is packed to the gills like a mockery of a camping vacation, as he prepares for the long crawl along a freeway full of motorists hoping to flee the atomic blasts raining down on American cities. Jimmon gloats over his preparedness, mentally chiding his family—two obnoxious sons, a naive wife, and dutiful daughter Erika—for their lack of vision. For you see, unlike his family, Jimmon has realized that this is the end of civilization, that they are now on their own, that bridge nights and grocery stores and teenage dating drama has now been replaced by icy survivalism. Only Jimmon realizes how cutthroat this new world is, and how callous his family must become to survive in it.

Therein lies the crux of “Lot,” which isn’t the icy libertarian power-fantasy you’d expect; instead, it’s a portrait of the meek family man full of middle-age (and middle-class) resentments now loosed upon the wilds, a broken individual unrestrained by the flimsy pretenses of civilization or law. ...
posted by jamjam at 4:43 PM on September 10 [4 favorites]


Kingsley, not Martin, wrote The Alteration
posted by whuppy at 6:07 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]


Was hoping to see Sherri S. Tepper's The Visitor on this list, but perhaps the vaguely magical bits of that exclude it?
posted by hanov3r at 2:26 PM on September 11


I'm more than a little surprised that Max Barry's Jennifer Government wasn't included.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:53 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


The Visitor is one of Tepper's later works, and most of those ... frankly kinda suck. And i say that as someone who adores huge chunks of Tepper's oeuvre, and who considers Tepper's work to have been immensely formative.

Tepper's canonical dystopia is The Gate to Women's Country, but unfortunately people really will persist in reading that one as a utopia, despite the text very clearly telling them not to, which is probably why it isn't on the list.
posted by adrienneleigh at 11:46 PM on September 11


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