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"disturb someone's universe"

* My most recent "History of the Genre" segment (this one is about early - and I do mean early! - feminist utopian science fiction) is available in the latest episode of the StarShipSofa Science Fiction Audio Magazine podcast, "Aural Delights No. 58." You can download it here, listen to it streaming here, or get it via iTunes under "StarShipSofa." A list of my other podcast commentaries, interviews, and unabridged dramatic readings is available here with links. To those of you listening, many thanks indeed! I hope you enjoy it.

* I have thoroughly overhauled my working list of dystopian fiction written specifically for a young adult audience. I'm particularly interested in Earth-bound stories - and yes, I'm defining "dystopian" rather broadly in this case. Suggestions are greatly appreciated! I'll be posting more about these books individually soon.

Recommended Young Adult Dystopias

Star Man's Son, 2250 A.D. (a.k.a. Daybreak, 2250 A.D.) by Andre Norton (1952)
Vault of the Ages by Poul Anderson (1952)
The Future Took Us by David Severn (1958)

The Time Quintet by Madeleine L'Engle (1962-1989) (dystopian elements)
The Changes Trilogy by Peter Dickinson (1968-1970)
The Tripods Series by Samuel Youd (as John Christopher) (1968-1988)

The Sword of the Spirits Trilogy by Samuel Youd (as John Christopher) (1970-1972)
Andra by Louise Lawrence (1971)
The Far Side of Evil by Sylvia Engdahl (1971, revised edition 2003)
The Guardians by Samuel Youd (as John Christopher) (1971)
Out There by Adrien Stoutenburg (1971)
Sleep Two, Three, Four! A Political Thriller by John Neufeld (1971)
The Morrow Duology by H.M. Hoover (1973, 1976)
House of Stairs by William Sleator (1974)
Wild Jack by by Samuel Youd (as John Christopher) (1974)
The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson (1975)
Noah's Castle by John Rowe Townsend (1975)
Ransome Revisited and The Travelling Man by Elisabeth Mace (1975, 1976)
Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien (1975)
City of Darkness by Ben Bova (1976)
The Missing Person's League by Frank Bonham (1976)
Empty World by Samuel Youd (as John Christopher) (1977)
I Am The Cheese by Robert Cormier (1977)
The Ennead by Jan Mark (1978)
The Tomorrow City by Monica Hughes (1978)
A Quest for Orion and Tower of the Stars by Rosemary Harris (1978, 1980)
Dark Wing by Carl West and Katherine MacLean (1979)

The Creatures (a.k.a. King Creature, Come) by John Rowe Tomsend (1980)
A Rag, A Bone, and Hank of Hair by Nicholas Fisk (1980)
Red Zone by Tom Browne (1980)
This Time of Darkness by H.M. Hoover (1980)
The Green Book by Jill Paton Walsh (1981)
The S.I.L.V.E.R. Series by Tanith Lee (1981, 2005)
The Voyage Begun by Nancy Bond (1981)
The Vandal by Ann Schlee (1981)
The Last Children of Schewenborn (also spelled Schevenborn) by Gudrun Pausewang (1983)
Brother in the Land by Robert Swindells (1984)
The Devil on My Back and The Dream Catcher by Monica Hughes (1984, 1987)
Futuretrack 5 by Robert Westall (1984)
Children of the Dust by Louise Lawrence (1985)
Earthchange by Clare Cooper (1985)
This Time of Darkness by H.M. Hoover (1985)
The Winter Trilogy by Pamela F. Service (1985-2008)
The Keeper by Barry Faville (1986)
The Others by Alison Prince (1986)
Taronga by Victor Kelleher (1986)
The Makers by Victor Kelleher (1987)
The Sword and the Dream Duology by Janice Elliott (1987, 1988)
The Obernewtyn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody (1987-2008, ongoing)
Cityscape by Frances Thomas (1988)
The Lake at the End of the World by Caroline Macdonald (1988)
Children of Time by Deborah Moulton (1989)
The Glimpses by Laurence Staig (1989)
Plague 99 (a.k.a. Plague) and Come Lucky April (a.k.a. After the Plague) by Jean Ure (1989, 1992)
Why Weeps the Brogan? by Hugh Scott (1989)

Invitation to the Game by Monica Hughes (1990)
Smart Rats by Thomas Baird (1990)
The Eye Witness by Caroline Macdonald (1991)
The Dark Future Series by Laurence James (1992)
The Baby and the Fly Pie by Melvin Burgess (1993)
The Giver Trilogy by Lois Lowry (1993-2004)
The Parkland Series by Victor Kelleher (1994-1996)
The Tomorrow Series by John Marsden (1994-1999) and The Ellie Chronicles (2003-2006)
The His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman (1995-2000) (dystopian elements)
The Time Keeper Trilogy by Barbara Bartholomew (1995)
Into the Forest by Jean Hegland (1996)
Cave Rats by Kerry Greenwood (1997)
The Scavenger's Tale by Rachel Anderson (1997)
Shade's Children by Garth Nix (1997)
The Virtual War Chronologs by Gloria Skurzynski (1997-2006)
Off the Road by Nina Bawden (1998)
Originator by Claire Carmichael (1998)
The Shadow Children Sequence by Margaret Peterson Haddix (1998-2006)
Bloodtide and Bloodsong by Melvin Burgess (1999, 2005)
The Cure by Sonia Levitin (1999)
Fabricant by Claire Carmichael (1999)

The Heaven and Earth Trilogy by Richard Harland (2000-2003)
Incognito by Claire Carmichael (2000)
The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick (2000)
Mortal Engines Quartet (a.k.a. The Hungry City Chronicles) by Philip Reeve (2001-2006)
The Wintering Trilogy by Stephen Bowkett (2001-2002)
Feed by M.T. Anderson (2002)
The Fire-Us Trilogy by Jennifer Armstrong and Nancy Butcher (2002-2003)
Green Boy by Susan Cooper (2002)
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (2002)
The Books of Ember by Jeanne Duprau (2003-2008, ongoing)
The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn (2004)
Bringing Reuben Home by Glenda Millard (2004)
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (2004)
Sharp North and Blown Away by Patrick Cave (2004, 2005)
The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer (2004)
Useful Idiots by Jan Mark (2004)
Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083 by Andrea White (2005)
The Secret Under My Skin by Janet McNaughton (2005)
Stolen Voices by Ellen Dee Davidson (2005)
The Traces Series by Malcolm Rose (2005-2208, ongoing)
The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld (2005-2007)
Ads R Us (a.k.a. Leaving Simplicity) by Claire Carmichael (2006)
Life As We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer (2006, 2008)
Rash by Pete Hautman (2006)
The Six of Hearts Series by Jack Heath (2006-ongoing)
The Declaration and The Resistance by Gemma Malley (2007, 2008)
Fearless by Tim Lott (2007)
The Silenced by James DeVita (2007)
Unwind by Neal Shusterman (2007)
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson (2008)
Bad Faith by Gillian Philip (2008)
The Compound by S.A. Bodeen (2008)
Exodus by Julie Bertagna (2008, sequel Zenith pending in 2009)
Gone by Michael Grant (2008, sequel Hunger pending in 2009)
The Grassland Trilogy by David Ward (2008-ongoing)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (2008, sequel Catching Fire pending in 2009)
The Knife of Never Letting Go: Chaos Walking, Book One by Patrick Ness (2008, sequel pending 2009)
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (2008)
Neptune's Children by Bonnie Dobkin (2008)
The Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman (2008)

"Every new question is going to disturb someone's universe..."
Madeleine L'Engle, address to the Library of Congress


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 7th, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
This Time of Darkness by H.M. Hoover was one of my favorites as a child.

And I loved the creepy weirdness of The Missing Persons' League. *sighs nostalgically* I was in a "What was that book" community for a while, and that was one of the ones most often asked about--evidently it makes an impression on people.
Jan. 7th, 2009 03:03 pm (UTC)
Perfect! This will go on my list right away, and I'll get my hands on a copy. It sounds right up my alley.

I still have my original copy of The Missing Person's League that I bought from the Weekly Reader insert when I was in elementary school. "Creepy weirdness" describes it well! I'm not surprised to hear that it also made an impression on others. I hope some of these older works find their way back into print; some of the concerns seem just as relevant now as they were then.

Thanks so much for letting me know about This Time of Darkness!
Jan. 7th, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC)
The Time Quintet is a dystopia? *scratches head* I could see applying that to maybe A Swiftly Tilting Planet, but the rest... I want to see you definition of dystopian. *g*
Jan. 7th, 2009 07:19 pm (UTC)
Ah yes, I'm defining dystopian more broadly for YA, I'll admit. *g* But both of the first two books do include the idea that the Earth is beseiged by darkness - that's why it's a "hardship assignment" for non-Earthlings - and that's seen in everything from the rise of violence among schoolchildren to the increasing pollution of the air and water, as well as international tensions. The big war going on cosmically is also apparently going on here, in more subtle but still significant ways. I'll admit that it's not a traditional dystopia, but I'd say it contains some elements, at least -- if you squint. LOL!
Jan. 7th, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)
Mmmm, in that case, we're living in a dystopian world. But point taken. *g*
Jan. 8th, 2009 02:31 pm (UTC)
Mmmm, in that case, we're living in a dystopian world.

*looks outside, then ducks back inside* It seems you have a point there! :-/
Jan. 8th, 2009 04:56 am (UTC)
Ohhh, The Girl Who Owned a City. I've always, always loved that one. It's like The Stand, only geared for younger readers. And still pretty darned creepy.

What a great resource! Definitely checking a lot of thes out.
Jan. 8th, 2009 02:28 pm (UTC)
Ohhh, The Girl Who Owned a City. I've always, always loved that one. It's like The Stand, only geared for younger readers. And still pretty darned creepy.

I only just had that recommended to me, so I've found a used copy and I can't wait to read it! The one I remember most from childhood is The Missing Person's League, which is also still pretty darned creepy!

I'm so glad this list is useful to you. I am working my way through the books, so I plan to post some mini-reviews soon.
Jan. 8th, 2009 07:08 pm (UTC)
The writing is a little stilted, but it's likely because it's written for younger readers. The story is awesome, though. Some of the scenes are vivid and stay with you a long time.

Another good one from my personal wayback machine is The Forgotten Door. I haven't read it in years, but IIRC, the writing is quite good. I remember the last line even years and years later (I won't tell you what it is, of course).

ETA: The Forgotten Door isn't dystopia, but it is SF, definitely.

Edited at 2009-01-08 07:09 pm (UTC)
Jan. 8th, 2009 10:52 pm (UTC)
I just read the description of The Forgotten Door and it sounds really, really good! I hadn't heard of that one, either. Thank you so much for the recommendation. I'm putting it on my "must read" list. I'm so glad to see it's in print!
Jan. 9th, 2009 11:48 am (UTC)
The Tripod Trilogy is what introduced me to Science Fiction and made a lasting impression on me. My sense of justice/injustice and personal freedom was partially formed with those books.I re-read them and the prequel a few years ago and the original trilogy definitely stands the test of time. Not so with the prequel, I felt it fell short of the others.

What a great list!
Jan. 11th, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked the list! I've just revised it considerably and edited this post, so I hope it's more useful now. I haven't read the prequel to the Tripods books yet, but I intend to do so. But first, I'm going to go back to the first three. That's an amazing trilogy.
Jan. 13th, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
Once again, as per usual, actually, you have produced a fantastically informative and entertaining segment on Genre History! This one was especially interesting to me. I've been a list member on the Feminist Science Fiction, Fantasy and Utopian fiction ListServ for many years. I posted links to the show to the list and Nicola Griffith replied that she herself hadn't heard of some of the authors/novels you mentioned! I'm sure she wasn't alone! Thank you and well done!
Jan. 14th, 2009 12:27 am (UTC)
Oh, I am so thrilled to hear that you liked it - and that you shared it with your ListServ! Thank you so much!!! I can't begin to tell you how happy that makes me. I plan to do some similar segments in the future, and I hope they will be of interest as well.

Seriously, you've made my day. Thank you!
Jan. 15th, 2009 12:35 pm (UTC)
My pleasure, Ms. Amy!
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )