1984 by George Orwell: Published in 1949, 1984 is set in a totalitarian futuristic superstate, Oceania where all aspects of civilian’s lives are monitored and controlled by the governmental power, “Big Brother.” A classic in political dystopian science fiction, 1984 centers its story around Winston Smith, a middle-aged working class citizen, as he becomes increasingly disillusioned to the propaganda pushed forth by the totalitarian government.
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin: The first of a three book series, The Fifth Season intertwines elements of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Set on a planet containing a single supercontinent called, Stillness, the novel centers itself around a climate change crisis of massive proportions that occurs every few centuries. Addressing issues such as race, class, and climate change, Jemisin has established herself as a new voice in Science Fiction and Fantasy.
A Clockwork Orange Directed by Stanley Kubrick (Based on the novel by Anthony Burgess): Set in a futuristic London, A Clockwork Orange centers on a character named Alex, a highly charismatic teenager who heads up a local gang of “droogs.” Tracking the violent sprees, arrest, and “rehabilitation” of Alex, the film offers a unique societal critique of morality and psychology. Content Warning: This film contains graphic depictions of sexual violence.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: The novel takes place in a totalitarian patriarchal society, The Republic of Gilead, which has overthrown the United States government. The Handmaid’s Tale centers around the story of Offred, a woman forced into servitude as a “handmaid” who’s primary societal role is to birth the children of the ruling class of males called the “commanders.” Examining the lack of agency given to women in such a totalitarian patriarchal society, the novel offers a frightening societal critique.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy: Taking place in the aftermath of an unnamed apocalyptic event, The Road tells the story of a father and his son as they traverse across the barren remnants of what was the United States of America. On the brink of starvation and forced to evade bands of marauders, the father works to provide his son with hope that they will reach safety once they reach a warmer climate.