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Dystopia Mania


Elements of Dystopian Novels

Elements of Dystopian Novels:                                 

  • intense or extreme social control (with emphasis on the negative effects of the control)
  • satires or makes fun of a utopian society
  • concerned with politics and culture
  • offers a warning of what will happen under certain circumstances
  • author examines "poverty, squalor, or oppression"
  • elements of control and lack of freedoms
  • restricted information
  • humanity taken away (dehumanized)
  • illustion of a utopia or perfect world

Elements of a Dystopian Hero:

  • helps the reader to understand the problems with the society
  • discovers secret, restricted, or hidden information which causes them to act
  • feels trapped or isolated physically and/or socially
  • takes a risk or is a rebel
  • insider to their society

End of the World Literature

Utopia: the perfect society; an imangined place or state of things in which everything is perfect. This genre of literature explores social and political structure.

Dystopia: an imperfect society; an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one. This genre of literature explores social and political structure.

Apocalypse/Post-Apocalypse: This genre deals with the threat to civilization after a world altering disaster such as nuclear war, pandemic, climate change, etc and how humans overcome the event.

Ectopian: a world that revolves around environmental conservation or destruction.



Elements of a Dystopia

  1. The People are Restricted from Independent Thought and Free Will:  Free will is the power of acting without the constraint or the ability to act on one's own decisions.
  2. The Government in Control is Often Oppressive:  An oppressive government is often overbearing, has constant surveillance on its people, creates curfews, has military control, and suppresses its people.
  3. The Setting is Often Futuristic or in a Fictional Universe:  The setting is often in the future or in a fictional universe after a massive war or catastrophe. This helps to create the background for the appropriation of the supposed utopia on the society.
  4. Contains Elements of Communism, Conformity, and ‘Equality’:  The people are made to be similar and conform to the rules and expectations that the government set forth.
  5. The Government Portrays Their Society as an Utopia:  They use propaganda and subtle manipulation to trick their people into believing things are perfect.
  6. The Protagonist Wishes to Restore the People to Conventional Life:  The main character has a moment of clarity and realizes how poor life is without choices. Therefore, they try to make a change to 'free the people'.




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Ashfall - Mike Mullin
ISBN: 1933718749
Publication Date: 2012-10-16
Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.

For Alex, being left alone for the weekend means having the freedom to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence. Alex begins a harrowing trek to seach for his family and finds help in Darla, a travel partner he meets along the way. Together they must find the strength and skills to survive and outlast an epic disaster. # book series
Ashen Winter #2, Sunrise #3

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Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
ISBN: 1442419814
Publication Date: 2011-05-03
Tally Youngblood lives in a futuristic society that acculturates its citizens to believe that they are ugly until age 16 when they'll undergo an operation that will change them into pleasure-seeking "pretties." Anticipating this happy transformation, Tally meets Shay, another female ugly, who shares her enjoyment of hoverboarding and risky pranks. But Shay also disdains the false values and programmed conformity of the society and urges Tally to defect with her to the Smoke, a distant settlement of simple-living conscientious objectors. Tally declines, yet when Shay is found missing by the authorities, Tally is coerced by the cruel Dr. Cable to find her and her compatriots–or remain forever "ugly." Tally's adventuresome spirit helps her locate Shay and the Smoke. It also attracts the eye of David, the aptly named youthful rebel leader to whose attentions Tally warms. However, she knows she is living a lie, for she is a spy who wears an eye-activated locator pendant that threatens to blow the rebels' cover. Ethical concerns will provide a good source of discussion as honesty, justice, and free will are all oppressed in this well-conceived dystopia. Characterization, which flirts so openly with the importance of teen self-concept, is strong, and although lengthy, the novel is highly readable with a convincing plot that incorporates futuristic technologies and a disturbing commentary on our current public policies.
Trilogy #2 Pretties #3 Specials

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The Time Machine - H. G. Wells
ISBN: 1505255600
Publication Date: 2014-12-01
The Time Machine is a science fiction novel by H. G. Wells, published in 1895. Wells is generally credited with the popularisation of the concept of time travel by using a vehicle that allows an operator to travel purposefully and selectively. The term "time machine", coined by Wells, is now universally used to refer to such a vehicle. This work is an early example of the Dying Earth subgenre. The portion of the novel that sees the Time Traveller in a distant future where the sun is huge and red also places The Time Machine within the realm of Eschatology; that is the study of the end times, the end of the world, and the ultimate destiny of mankind.

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Virals - Kathy Reichs
ISBN: 1595144269
Publication Date: 2011-08-23
Adventure is in Tory Brennan's blood. After all, she’s the grandniece of world-famous forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. Always up for a challenge, Tory and her science-geek friends spend their time exploring the marshlands of Loggerhead Island, home to the very off-limits Loggerhead Island Research Institute, where something strange is going on. After rescuing a stray wolfdog pup from a top-secret lab, Tory and her friends are exposed to a rare strain of canine parvovirus, changing them--and their DNA--forever. Now they are more than friends. They are a pack. They are Virals. And they're dangerous to the core. But are they unstoppable enough to catch a cold-blooded murderer?

Seizure #2
Code #3
Exposure #4
Terminal #5

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Variant - Robison Wells
ISBN: 0062026097
Publication Date: 2012-08-28
Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.

He was wrong.

Now he's trapped in a school that's surrounded by a razor-wire fence, where video cameras monitor his every move—and where breaking the rules equals death.

All Benson wants is to find a way out. But when he stumbles upon the real secret the school has been hiding, he realizes that escape may be impossible.
#2 Feedback

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The Compound - S. A. Bodeen
ISBN: 0312578601
Publication Date: 2009-09-01
Eli and his family have lived in the underground Compound for six years. The world they knew is gone, and they've become accustomed to their new life. Accustomed, but not happy. No amount of luxury can stifle the dull routine of living in the same place, with only his two sisters, only his father and mother, doing the same thing day after day after day. As problems with their carefully planned existence threaten to destroy their sanctuary―and their sanity―Eli can't help but wonder if he'd rather take his chances outside. Eli's father built the Compound to keep them safe. But are they safe―really?
Series # The Fallout

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The Girl Who Owned a City - O. T. Nelson
ISBN: 0761350861
Publication Date: 2012-01-09
A deadly plague has devastated Earth, killing all the adults. Lisa and her younger brother Todd are struggling to stay alive in a world where no one is safe. Other children along Grand Avenue need help as well. They band together to find food, shelter, and protection from dangerous gangs invading their neighborhood.

When Tom Logan and his army start making threats, Lisa comes up with a plan and leads her group to a safer place. But how far is she willing to go to protect what's hers?

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The One Safe Place - Tania Unsworth
ISBN: 1616204834
Publication Date: 2015-05-12
"What is this place?"
In a drought-stricken world, Devin and his grandfather have barely scraped out a living on their isolated farm. When his grandfather dies, Devin knows he can’t manage alone and heads for the nearest city to find help. But in the city he finds only children alone like him, living on the streets. Then a small act of kindness earns Devin an invitation to the Gabriel H. Penn Home for Childhood—a place with unlimited food and toys and the hope of finding a new home.

But Devin soon finds out that the Gabriel Penn Home is no paradise. A zombie-like sickness afflicts many of the children who live there—and it will claim Devin, too, unless he can become the first to find a way out of this dystopian nightmare.

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Delirium - Lauren Oliver
ISBN: 0061726834
Publication Date: 2012-02-07
In an alternate United States, love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the Cure. Living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Portland, Maine, Lena Haloway is very much looking forward to being cured and living a safe, predictable life. She watched love destroy her mother and isn't about to make the same mistakes.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena meets enigmatic Alex, a boy from the Wilds who lives under the government's radar. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?
#2 Pandemonium
#3 Requiem

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Divergent - Veronica Roth
ISBN: 0062387243
Publication Date: 2014-09-30
One choice can transform you. Beatrice Prior's society is divided into five factions—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice must choose between staying with her Abnegation family and transferring factions. Her choice will shock her community and herself. But the newly christened Tris also has a secret, one she's determined to keep hidden, because in this world, what makes you different makes you dangerous.
#2 Insurgent
#3 Allegiant

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Rash - Pete Hautman
ISBN: 0689869045
Publication Date: 2007-12-04
Consumption of alcohol: Illegal.

Football and other "violent" sports: Illegal.

Ownership of guns, chain saws, and/or large dogs: Illegal.

Body piercings, tattoos: Illegal.

It's late in the twenty-first century, and the United Safer States of America (USSA) has become a nation obsessed with safety. For Bo Marsten, a teenager who grew up in the USSA, it's all good. He knows the harsh laws were created to protect the people. But when Bo's temper flares out of control and he's sentenced to three years of manual labor, he's not so down with the law anymore.

Bo's forced to live and work in a factory in the Canadian tundra. The warden running the place is totally out of his mind, and cares little for his inmates' safety. Bo will have to decide what's worse: a society that locks people up for road rage, or a prison where the wrong move could make you polar bear food.

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Legend - Marie Lu
ISBN: 014242207X
Publication Date: 2013-04-16
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
#2 Prodigy
#3 Champion

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Matched - Ally Condie
ISBN: 9780142419779
Publication Date: 2011-09-20
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Look for the sequel, CROSSED, and the epic series finale, REACHED!

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The Maze Runner - James Dashner
ISBN: 0385737955
Publication Date: 2010-08-24
If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.
#2 Scorch Trials
#3 Death Cure
#4 Kill Order
#5 The Fever Code (prequel -- released 9/2016)

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The Eleventh Plague - Jeff Hirsch
ISBN: 0545290155
Publication Date: 2012-09-01
In the aftermath of a war, America’s landscape has been ravaged and two-thirds of the population left dead from a vicious strain of influenza. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn and his family were among the few that survived and became salvagers, roaming the country in search of material to trade. But when Stephen’s grandfather dies and his father falls into a coma after an accident, Stephen finds his way to Settler’s Landing, a community that seems too good to be true. Then Stephen meets strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to accept things as they are. And when they play a prank that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler’s Landing--and their lives--forever.

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The Roar - Emma Clayton
ISBN: 0439927854
Publication Date: 2012-01-01
Mika lives in future London, behind The Wall: Solid concrete topped with high-voltage razor wire and guarded by a battalion of Ghengis Borgs, it was built to keep out the animals, because animals carry the plague.

Or so Mika's been told.

But ever since Ellie vanished a year ago, Mika's suspected his world may be built on secrets--and lies. When a mysterious organization starts recruiting mutant kids to compete in violent virtual reality games, Mika takes the chance to search for his twin sister--and the truth.
Sequel: The Whisper

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Steelheart - Brandon Sanderson
ISBN: 0385743572
Publication Date: 2014-09-23
How far would you go for revenge if someone killed your father?
If someone destroyed your city?
If everything you ever loved was taken from you?
David Charleston will go to any lengths to stop Steelheart. But to exact revenge in Steelheart’s world, David will need the Reckoners—a shadowy group of rebels bent on maintaining justice.
And it turns out that the Reckoners might just need David too.
#2 Firefight
#3 Calamity


Can't get enough Dystopias? Here are some suggestions!


Standards addressed

  • Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision
  • Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.

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