15 timeless observations from history's greatest dystopian novels
The dystopian novel has a long, dark and intriguing history. Kicking off in 1726 with Jonathan Swift’s rip-roaring satire Gulliver’s Travels, it’s gone through numerous transformations in the last three centuries. One thing all these books share, though, is that they make us think long and hard about the societies we live in. Evolving not simply as a response to fictional utopian concerns, but also as a response to the prevalent or ominous ideals and politics of the writer’s time, the dystopian novel tends to use its make-believe guise as a front to critique the ideologies under which they’ve been forged. “He who controls the past controls the future. 1984 — George Orwell “Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. Fahrenheit 451 — Ray Bradbury “You cannot buy the revolution. The Dispossessed — Ursula K. “It’s only because of their stupidity that they’re able to be so sure of themselves.” The Trial — Franz Kafka, The Time Machine — H.G.