Incredible but true! Well, not quite yet. But while you’re just hanging out and waiting for the future to happen, why not take a look at the literature and see what we’re in for?
The hallmark feature of a dystopia is that the society in question is actually a messed-up utopia. Often, enough people who exist within that system live well enough that they don’t care to challenge the underlying issues, which may or may not involve teenagers fighting to the death on live television. We’re all familiar with The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Giver, and other popular YA dystopias. But for the serious fan of messed-up future societies, the genre has much more to offer.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
A classic, this story chronicles a world that has gone through a crisis in population implosion. The result: a society where fertile “handmaids” are used to provide chosen families with healthy children.
House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Matteo Alacrán is a lucky boy: he has wealth, comfort, and everything a child could want. Except, of course, that he is also the clone of a powerful drug lord, and his sole purpose in life is to donate all of his vital organs to the 143-year-old criminal.
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin
An anarchist planet. A doubter. LeGuin will make you believe that time can encompass philosophy and ethics, that an anarchist society can still survive by unyielding and unspoken laws, and that one person’s ideas can change humanity.
Statistical probability dictates the creation of new interstellar civilizations. People meet and successfully fight giant space bugs. Well-mannered aliens contact us for theological debates. Hitchhikers endure. A lot of science fiction is about the future. In fact, you could even say that all of it is about the future. Here are some of the best examples of the genre.
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
Welcome to the Future! We hope you’ve wound up your motorcycle and gotten the latest vaccine for this year’s viral mutations. Remember, respect the androids, even if everyone else seems to be kicking them around. They might just be the future of intelligent life on Earth.
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Lightspeed travel has some odd time dilation effects, and nowhere is this clearer than in interstellar warfare. When the brave soldiers of Earth return home, will they recognize the people they are fighting for?
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Sci-Fi fans may know this story in its cinematic guise as Blade Runner. In a world where android replicants are virtually identical to humans, Deckard’s job is to suss out the fake from the genuine. As he begins to doubt his own humanity, the definition of “real” becomes dangerously fragile.
The party’s got to end sooner or later, and as you might expect, it’s sort of a drag when the lights go out. Apocalypse books have captured our imaginations since well before When Worlds Collide, Day of the Triffids and Alas, Babylon. (Try Noah and the flood.) But these days, total destruction is often high literature. And, of course, it’s more fun than ever!
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
All the world’s a stage, and since the Georgia Flu wiped out most people, it’s a darn empty one. As a troupe of actors travels the Great Lakes, they discover that art can save – or destroy – the survivors.
Wool by Hugh Howey
A toxic atmosphere forces all surviving humans to live in the underground Silo, but not everyone believes that the air up there really is bad. When the sheriff’s wife goes above ground, he’s faced with a choice: follow her and risk death, or remain underground and never know the truth.
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
After a nuclear apocalypse, an order of Roman Catholic monks struggles to preserve the knowledge of the modern world. But will humanity repeat its mistakes anyway?
What would the future be without zombies? I, for one, don’t care to find out! From World War Z and The Walking Dead to philosophical literature like Raising Stony Mayhall, everyone loves those shambling, moaning, unkillable flesh eaters. Here, have a few more!
Feed by Mira Grant
Political machinations don’t die with the human species. As zombies attack a Presidential candidate, bloggers uncover the terrifying truth: that someone is using the undead as weapons on the campaign trail.
The Girl with All The Gifts by M. R. Carey
What happens when zombies are smart? What about when the smart zombies are children? The tension between humans and zombies, teachers and students, and researchers and subjects blooms in this critically acclaimed book.
Breathers by S. G. Browne
After Andy dies in a car wreck, he discovers that life’s not easy for zombies. In fact, it’s downright hard to get a job, meet people, and have a decent conversation without someone screaming and trying to decapitate you. Enter the fight for zombie civil equality!