Dystopian Novels

Lewis, Sinclair.  It Can’t Happen Here. Signet, Reprint, 2014. 

Lewis’s book, written in 1935, describes an America where the people vote in a fascist ruler under the guise of his populist appeal to the masses. If that sounds eerily like Trump, you’ll want to read this to see exactly how fascism rolled out in the United States.  Trump could have used Lewis’s work like a playbook.  His plans parallel the fascist president in the novel.  


Munyol, Yi.  Our Twisted Hero.  Haachette Books, 2001.

The novel focuses on a boy who moves from Seoul to the countryside, entering a school where the class monitor is a bully to asserts control over other students through intimidation.  The narrator reaches an agreement with the bully and enjoys certain privileges because of it.  One major theme of the novel is the idea of complicity.  What values will you sacrifice in an attempt to maintain physical and psychological safety?  Successful resistance always come at price.  


Kadohata, Cynthia.  In the Heart of the Valley of Love.  University of California Press, 1997.

It’s Los Angeles and the world has been thrown into an apocalyptic situation where global warming has killed almost all vegetation and most basic supplies are rationed.  Despite the overwhelming problems, the teenaged heroine still has hope and believes that imagining a new future is the first step to achieving it.  


Butler, Octavia.  Parable of the Talents.  Grand Central Publishing, 2000.

A folksy, populist-sounding Texas senator namedAndrew Steele Jarret has become president, promising to return the country to an “older, simpler time.”  He empowers the white majority “Christian Americans’ who hate multiculturalism, arming them to bring down non-whites.