Surgeries Optional
October 12, 2017 12:30 PM   Subscribe

I've just read NEVER LET ME GO and THE UNIT and am looking for more books along those lines!

What these dystopian novels have in common is a protagonist who isn't a hero or a rebel - they're ordinary people who've largely internalized the values of the nightmare world they live in and they're mainly just getting on with regular life in a dystopian context. Any suggestions?
posted by moxiedoll to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not sure what your criterion for dystopia is, but you might also like The Remains of the Day.
posted by grobstein at 12:39 PM on October 12 [1 favorite]


The Power by Naomi Alderstein.
posted by Athanassiel at 12:41 PM on October 12 [1 favorite]


Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven? Sandra Newman's The Country of Ice Cream Star? Jennie Melamed's Gather the Daughters?(Content warnings for rape and violence on those last two.) For a YA spin, Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life as We Knew it (but not the sequels, which are not very good).
posted by leesh at 12:42 PM on October 12


The Circle by Dave Eggers. The corporate campus of the company powerful enough to crush Facebook, Google and Twitter may not seem dystopian, but. No, actually, that is probably exactly what dystopian is.
posted by COD at 1:37 PM on October 12


Maybe The Last Policeman, Countdown City, and World of Trouble, a trilogy by Ben H. Winters. The protagonist is a police detective who is just trying to do his job, while the rest of the world is preparing the best they can for a predicted asteroid collision, an extinction level event due to occur in six months. I loved these books.

I also enjoyed The Dog Stars, by Peter Heller. The dystopia in this novel was caused by a flu pandemic that few people survived.
posted by merejane at 2:42 PM on October 12 [2 favorites]


How fictional do you need it? The Gulag Archipelago, Behind the Beautiful Tomorrows, etc.?
posted by clew at 3:01 PM on October 12


The protagonist in One by Conrad Williams is not particularly heroic and the world is most definitely nightmarish. One of my favourite books and highly recommended (though I concede it does get a bit problematic near the end).
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:19 PM on October 12


Most of Sheri Tepper's books have protagonists who are trying to get along within their fucked-up societies.
posted by Lexica at 3:52 PM on October 12 [2 favorites]


I think The Heart Goes Last might be this as well as On Such A Full Sea. Dystopian, and the protagonists aren't 100% ordinary (or we wouldn't be reading a novel about them) but they're not Neo either.
posted by ftm at 4:13 PM on October 12


nthing "Station Eleven" to the moon and back. I do not normally read books in apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic scenarios, and this is one of my top 5 favorite books of all time.

you may also be interested in "The Age of Miracles." the narrator is an 11-year-old girl dealing with crushes, playdates, and middle school life as the earth's rotation gradually slows and the world falls apart.
posted by wintersonata9 at 5:13 PM on October 12 [1 favorite]


I second the Ben Winter's Last Policeman books. I wouldn't call them dystopian, but maybe that's just me. Whatever the genre, they're really good police dramas at the end of the world.

The Age Of Miracles certainly qualifies, though I admit I didn't like it much.
posted by lhauser at 7:37 PM on October 12


I loved Age of Miracles, and I enjoyed The Last Policeman, but the sequels were meh. Popped in to suggest Nevil Shute's On the Beach.
posted by scratch at 5:47 AM on October 13


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