Friday, December 19, 2008

Good times for apocalypse and dystopia

There's been a lot of apocalypse going around. It could be because the end of the world beats worrying about prom as Cecelia Goodnow suggests in "Profits of doom: Teen readers eat up post-apocalyptic tales" in the Seattle PI. Or, maybe we're channeling post-cold war angst about climate change begins Benjamin Kunkel, author of Indecision (2005) and editor of the literary journal n+1, in "Dystopia and the End of Politics" for Dissent Magazine.

Goodnow comes up with eight examples of apocalypse including: The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, The Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld and Y: The Last Man (Vol. 1-10) by Brian K. Vaughn and Pia Guerra.

In his inventory of recent apocalyptic and dystopian fictions and discussion of what they say about the current socio-political climate as well as the state of science fiction and literature, Kunkel includes movies (28 Days Later, Children of Men and I Am Legend) and novels: Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake (2003), Michel Houellebecq’s Possibility of an Island (2004), Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go (2005), David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (2005), Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006), Jim Crace's The Pesthouse (2007), and Matthew Sharpe’s Jamestown (2007).

So, did they miss your favorite apocalypse? Is it one of these? Also, which do you prefer, apocalypse or dystopia? Fiction at the end-of-the-world or set in a society gone fantastically wrong?

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