It can be incredibly difficult to find decent dystopian lists of books, cinema and television. Believe me, I’ve looked. So with that, I have compiled a list in these three categories, and will continue to add to them as I discover more…
The Death of Grass by John Christopher.
Published in 1956, The Death of Grass is an easy but somewhat brutal read about the psychology of survival. Following a 3 day journey of the main protagonist, John Custance along with his family, this psychological thriller will have you questioning your own ethics.
The nature of the story isn’t so far-fetched either, arguably as much foresight as Orwell.
1984 by George Orwell
If you claim to be a dystopian fan and have yet to read this literary feat, then stop claiming…
The book that coined the term “Big Brother is Watching” is essentially a guide to what is fast becoming reality. Orwell saw the writing on the wall through his experience in the Imperial Forces, and from his journalism.
Ahh, not the rats!
The Wool Trilogy by Hugh Howey
Three books of sheer thriller in a small confined space in a time ahead of ours. I read “Shift” in one night – all 565 pages. The others are equally impressive.
This series has it all, from 3 dimensional characters to the landscapes and plot. Men are evil brutes, politicians are far worse; their schemes, cruel. Humanity is flawed and weak. What happens next?
Go read and find out.
Red Dawn – both the original and the remake.
In the original, Patrick Swayze leads the fight against the Russian invasion on American soil. In the 2012 remake, starring Chris Hemsworth, they’re fighting the North Koreans. Either way, the Wolverines kick foreign ass in a patriotic, yet sometimes gut wrenching fight for freedom.
How I Live Now
This Oscar nominated movie depicts yet another nuclear war, yet the backdrop is young love. Get the tissues out—this one is a bit of a tear jerker, too, as you shake your head at the suffering and misery one can cause the other, and mouth the word “no” in utter disbelief.
This movie depicts a hauntingly real outlook on AI and the effects it has on society and the middle classes. One single mother is faced with a gruelling choice.
A truly dystopian movie, where “getting older is [simply] not an option.”
Between – Only for Netflix Goers.
What feels as something taken from the pages of Stephen King’s The Dome, “Between” offers more insight into the desperation of youth when all those above the age of 22 die from what appears to be a mysterious virus. The kids can’t leave their small town due to quarantine restrictions, and eventually the world forgets their existence.
But not all’s as it seems as the scientists swoop down.
On The Beach
From memory this was presented as a 2 part miniseries in Australia—but I could be wrong.
This depiction represents a very real life in the event of a nuclear attack elsewhere, and what it could look like for those in the Southern Hemisphere. With all nations destroyed, the Aussies have no choice but to sit back, contemplate life and wait for the nuclear cloud to come. Mass euthanasia, psychological terror and utter disbelief will leave you shaking your head at the very thought as parents bury their children—a very realistic movie/miniseries that influenced my writing career.
This is the avoidable dystopia.
The Walking Dead – Yes. Really!
The unlikely candidate.
The Walking Dead evolved into a Dystopian series somewhere around the third season with the arrival of the Governor. From here on in no longer do we worry about zombies, but rather man—the bigger threat. We’ve gone through the crash of the zombie apocalypse, now the brutality is beginning. The zombie goes to the background, barely a mention but a lingering threat, as the post-apocalyptic mess turns into a society of savagery, literal cannibalism and the survival of the fittest.
And then there is Negan…
You don’t get any more dystopian than that.