I Take Great Comfort In Dystopian Literature

Last night, I started my sixth dystopian/post-apocalyptic novel. I used to read books like this as a kid, maybe not as gruesome and terrifying, but I was really into science fiction and the supernatural. I don’t know why I have a strange obsession for the post-apocalyptic world. I’m happier than I’ve been in decades. I was a pretty happy kid, too. And I’m relatively healthy if you overlook all the skin cancer spots on my face. (Stupid sun. Never much cared for the sun.)

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So, why am I obsessed with the end of the world? Why do books about nuclear warfare; viruses that take out entire continents; deranged killers left behind after most all of the good people perish; why am I interested in reading darkly comical tales about an infinite library, a book that is frankly so bizarre, captivating and weird, I can’t possibly sum it up for anyone—why does all of this appeal to me when we’re facing some pretty dystopian shit head-on?

What’s taking place around me on a political front is downright terrifying on its own. And this shit is REAL. Our current administration is waging war against women. I mean, I can’t even comment and/or write about that. And he actually IS going to build a wall separating the U.S. from Mexico. An expensive wall that will do JACK SHIT to curb illegal immigration. But he said he’d do it! And, by golly, his supporters are holding him to that promise! And as it turns out? We ARE actually going to be paying for it. A fucking wall, y’all. Quite possibly the most useless BUT expensive wall ever erected.

This isn’t make-believe. This is real life. And it’d actually be muy cómico if it weren’t so damn loco.

So, yeah. All of this information has been entering my brain and before I can make any sense of it, it’s forming one MASSIVE pileup, like one of those colossal car wrecks that take place along major highways during an ice storm. One car can’t stop, it starts sliding, then it hits another car and that car can’t stop and before you know it every single car, truck and van on that particular roadway turns into one magnificent ball of crunched up metal.

In just one week’s time, all the headlines, the Facebook posts, the Tweets, the NPR blips and bleeps, they’ve all piled up. Holy wreckage point. I can’t keep them all separate right now. It’s one of the worst car wrecks in the history of my brain.

So, I am running away from it. I can’t even rubberneck anymore.

One might assume I would want to read about flowers, or bread, maybe even something about birds, maybe pick up a couple of cute comic books, you know, something simple and concrete and not at all upsetting.

Nope. I am diving right into dystopian literature. Just like I used to do as a child. It’s good to be back here. I have missed this child.

Last night, after finishing On The Beach, I started The Wolf Road.

Prior to On the Beach. I read The Library at Mount Char; Alas, Babylon; The Man In The High Castle; and Normal.

I just placed an order for The Girl With All the Gifts and Station Eleven and I still have Dark Matter sitting on my bookshelf.

Why am I sharing this with you? I don’t know. I don’t know why. Maybe I want more literature suggestions? Maybe I want to start a post-apocalyptic bookclub?

Maybe I’m trying to escape the fire by running straight through it.

13 Comments

  1. Shameless promotion of my cousin, who just happens to be a fabulous author of a couple of dystopian novels: Check out Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis.

    Reply

    1. I WILL! added to my list. THANK YOU! I appreciate it.

      Reply

  2. “Swan Song,” by Robert McCammon. 100 thumbs up. One of my top favorite books. “Girl…All The Gifts” was awesome.

    Reply

    1. THANK YOU! I will purchase Swan Song stat. My list is growing! At this rate, I’ll be good through the year. :] You rock. Thanks, sweetheart.

      Reply

  3. Try “Lost Everything,” by Brian Francis Slattery… It’s not my favorite, but takes place along the Susquehanna River. There’s a bit where they camp in the ruins of Three Mile Island…

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    1. I have lived near(ish) to the Susquehanna in two different places! In Oneonta, NY and in Baltimore! I added the book to my goodreads.

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  4. I read a lot…and I haven’t read any of these. So, I added them all to my goodreads. Try ARCHIVIST WASP. My friend from high school wrote it (which is probably making you wave your palms and back away). But actually, the positive reviews it has received are better than my personal take on it. It is a good book.

    I also recommend WAKE OF VULTURES which doesn’t fit the post-ap category at all, but is spec fic and has a main character that is trans! Pretty awesome. First time I am reading that and it is done very well.

    AN INHERITANCE OF ASHES is wonderful and post-ap. Do try this one! I worked with Leah Bobet a long time ago when I was publishing and she left an open door for me to polish off a story and get it published with her. She is awesome. I LOVE this book.

    Reply

  5. […] the other day about Big Data and what took place last year. It plays in real nicely with all the dystopian literature I’ve been consuming lately. And I swear I am not losing my mind. I feel pretty solid as of late. But I would be lying if I […]

    Reply

  6. I’m really into dystopian novels, too! I loved STATION ELEVEN and am reading THE LIBRARY AT MOUNT CHAR now. Are you on GoodReads? I have a list I can share.

    Reply

    1. I used to be on GoodReads! I will have to check. Share away! Although, I have so many books to read, I am starting to freak out! :] However, I would love to know about more.

      Reply

  7. […] of dystopian – even apocalyptic – literature lately. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I take comfort in this dystopian literature. I used to read a great deal of science fiction as a kid and in my 20s but in the past decade, […]

    Reply

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