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Jan 21, Kaitlin rated it liked it. I am giving this one a 3. However, this is still the start to a solid series, and I think it may get better as the series goes on to. I loved the concept of a world filled with animal shifters. People who can shift into their clan animal e.


  1. The Tiger and the Wolf.
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Wolf, Tiger, Horse, etc. The idea of a I am giving this one a 3. The idea of a world where everyone can shift shapes, and the primal animal nature is very much an every-day part of humans, is intriguing, and makes for a very odd but interesting world. The main characters we follow here are Maniye, a young girl later known as Many Tracks who is born of the Wolf and the Tiger. Her mother is dead and she has lived with her father, chief of the Wolf clan, for her whole life, but he doesn't love her at all and in fact she starts the story as quite a lonely character.

As time goes on she comes to realise that not only does she have to decide which of her Tiger or Wolf souls to rip away and which to embrace, she also has to choose whether to stay in the Wolf clan at all or to leave and search for her own destiny. Another character we follow is Hesprec who is a snake captured by the Wolf clan in order to sacrifice him to the Wolf. Maniye is interested in him so she ends up talking to him, and through her interaction with him we learn a lot more about the Serpent religion, the way that Snakes shift and develop, and the wider world.

Hesprec is a character who grew on me more as the book went on, and I think his character is vital for Maniye to learn from and develop. Another character is Broken Axe, a lone wolf who wanders far and wide doing his own thing until the leader of the Wolves Maniye's father calls him to perform a task.

He iw the one responsible for killing Maniye's mother and she hates him for that, but there is more to Broken Axe than initially Maniye knows. Finally the other key character is a champion of the River people who is journeying into the lands of the Wolf to seek their help and find out more of their culture. He is a character who took a while to grow on me, but I think as the book goes on he becomes more vital to the plot too.

The world is, as I said, very original. I like the fact that each clan has their own rituals and gods and there is a lot to learn from each new person our character interact with. I think there could have been a clearer indication of the clan separations and rituals but as the story goes on we learn which clans are on top and which are more subservient. The plot starts out pretty slow and builds up so that the second half of the book has much more action than the first. Personally I don't mind a slow build, but I feel like the slow start clashed a bit with the cray ending and I would have liked to have a little bit more of a smooth transition.

Luckily the action of the second half caused a lot of intense drama and had some good twists to surprise me, so I think it kept me interested enough to try the sequel. Overall, not a bad read at all, lots to chew over and a fun concept throughout. I would have liked a little more of a smooth plot, but it's a good read and one I think many people would enjoy.

View all 3 comments. Mar 24, Karina Read rated it really liked it. It was a bit back and forth, but I did not see where the plot was going and it was a little heartbreaking! Okay a lot. The characters are incredibly vivid and Tchaikovsky really makes you have feelings for them, ranging from disgust and hatred to affection and respect. To some things inbetween. Feb 18, Ivan rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , I've read Shadows of Apt series by Adrian Tchaikovsky and back then I was impressed by the originality of his world building and quite interested in a weird steampunk-ish military fantasy he created.

Nevertheless, I felt that his writing was a little clunky and his characterization lacking in some ways. The Tiger and the Wolf is another story entirely. This novel is beautifully written - it's structure crafted to perfection, it's sentences sometimes borderlin I've read Shadows of Apt series by Adrian Tchaikovsky and back then I was impressed by the originality of his world building and quite interested in a weird steampunk-ish military fantasy he created.

This novel is beautifully written - it's structure crafted to perfection, it's sentences sometimes borderline lyrical and never heavy-handed. This is a language of an A-list author who has mastered his craft. Another thing about this novel is that this one of the rare non-eurocentric fantasies that I've enjoyed. Although we are all aware that there is more to human history and mythology than medieval Europe, and Western Europe at that, this knowledge is for some reason quite hard to translate into good fantasy story. The Tiger and the Wolf manages this feat just fine, and takes the reader to a multi-ethnic human world I strongly suspect that experience of writing the Shadows of Apt series came handy on the brink of Iron Age.

Protagonists are of all possible skin colors - and once again we have something rarely achieved: People of color in a fantasy novel, but without anything jarring or smacking of some current political agenda. These characters feel integral to the world and the immanent conflict of world views between various characters of various skin tones is described perfectly, normally and without a hint of what would we now call racism.


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  • The novel is an anthropological marvel in this regard, since it's gifted with self-awareness that the skin tone is the source of otherness, and otherness is a source of conflict - but this conflict is born not out of prejudice but out of lack of understanding. Once again, a view point completely lacking in modern storytelling and a way to approach an extremely sensitive topic in a way that is elegant and above everything else - humane. With the same grace Tchaikovsky takes on other issues that plague modern society, such as child abuse, patriarchal society norms and misogyny, gender issues and even transgender issues and a host of other topics.

    It's almost bewildering that he managed to cram all of that into single novel. In a way, this one is YA novel. In a way - it's not. Let me explain. Since the world-wide success of Hunger games, we are exposed to a flood of YA series that are quite formulistic, and more than often lackluster. The Tiger and the Wolf has all the paradigms of an YA novel: A young female protagonist, strong authoritarian figures to rebel against, somewhat dystopian society there are hint of that throughout the novel , and personal growth and empowerment of the heroine.

    What this novel lacks are the cliches of YA novels: no love triangles, no cheap theatrics, no artificial drama. But it bears the message of emancipation, loud and clear, which is something that large number of more popular YA novels fails to achieve.

    The Tiger and the Wolf is a perfect blend of YA with heroic fantasy. It is suitable epic and just enough grim for mature readers, but still approachable enough for the younger ones. This is really a masterpiece of fantasy literature, worthy of World Fantasy Award. Jan 28, Booniss rated it it was amazing. Set in a world where different clans of people belong to different totems and can transform or "Step" into the animal of that totem, it's essentially a coming of age tale.

    Maniye who lives with her father, Akrit Stone River, Chief of the Winter Runners clan, can Step into a wolf like him; but she can also Step into a tiger, like her mother. Akrit plans to use Maniye to win a war which will set him as High Chief of all the wolves. When Maniye learns this, she runs away to choose which side of her soul to keep and which side she has to cut away. Told in turn from both her perspective and Akrit's this is also a very insightful exploration of a father-daughter relationship gone wrong. Akrit, while clearly not a great parent who makes some very questionable choices, can be over ambitious, arrogant and cruel, is not actually an evil person This looks like it will be the first in a trilogy but please don't let that put you off as it does work as a stand-alone novel.

    This is a beautifully fierce, wild fantasy novel which deserves a wide readership. Feb 02, Matthew rated it really liked it. A wonderful and original fantasy Feb 01, proxyfish rated it it was amazing Shelves: fantasy. Reviewed on my blog - Books by Proxy 4. The Tiger and the Wolf is a unique and powerful novel, where loyalties are defined by birth and where cultures clash with spectacular frequency. Adrian Tchaikovsky has succeeded in creating a novel with incredible scope and limitless vision; a vivid depiction of a world inspired by the cultures of our past and told in a style unique to this series.

    This is a novel where only the strong will survive, where the weak will perish Reviewed on my blog - Books by Proxy 4. This is a novel where only the strong will survive, where the weak will perish and where wars are played out both on the battlefield and within the soul. With war threatened between the tribes and the struggle for power becoming ever apparent, Maniye must choose between the dangers within her tribe and those without.

    With a narrative which weaves magic, folklore and a clash of cultures, this is survival of the fittest on an epic scale. The narrative slowly etches out a detailed history of a world populated by a myriad of different peoples whose cultures and way of life are defined by their animal totems. From the cold brutality of the north, to the hot River Lands of the south, each setting further shapes the people who inhabit it — and their place on the food chain.

    The wolf tribes are a fascinating and terrifying society who thrive in conditions which would be the death of others, but whose harsh and brutal way of life brings something of a depressing outlook to the future of our protagonist. This bleak aspect is diverted however by the introduction of new characters and settings over the course of the novel. The many tribes and people who inhabit this vast and impressive landscape bring a sense of depth to the narrative; the solitary bears, the graceful deer, the nomadic horse and the foe of all wolves, the dark and mysterious tiger, all bring a rich and vivid quality to the world.

    But whilst we get a picture of many of these people, the emphasis in this novel is on the predators, those warlike people and cultures who bring a bloody dimension to the novel, a dimension which Tchaikovsky consistently executes with skill and precision. Whilst The Tiger and the Wolf depicts a wonderfully crafted and detailed world, the characterisation also contributes heavily to the overall feel of the novel. This is a world where each character and every society has something of their totem animal about them, creating distinctive animalistic personalities whilst, for the most part, avoiding the creation of one dimensional societal groups.

    Maniye is a wonderfully innocent and conflicted protagonist whose place in the world and whose future is always less than certain. The supporting cast however bring diversity and excitement to the narrative with the north fielding the mysterious killer Broken Axe, the solitary Loud Thunder, and the power hungry chief of the Winter Runners, Akrit Stone River; and the south introducing the strange cultures of the snake priests, crocodile champions and Laughing Men in a landscape where pirates and warriors abound. This impressive array of characters and cultures are more than enough to capture the imagination and carry over the excitement into the next novel.

    The Tiger and the Wolf is a fantastic series opener written in a wonderfully unique style, a style which almost takes you to the side of a campfire in the dead of night, listening to the shrieks of owls and tales of long forgotten ages. Tchaikovsky has created a beautiful and brutal world where the clash of cultures and tribal skirmishes are part of daily existence, and which comes across as unique in both its execution and as an addition to his impressive literary repertoire.

    View 1 comment. Jan 22, David Reviews rated it really liked it. In a world of where humans can shapeshift into the animal of their tribe, young Maniye is unhappy in the Wolf village. When her father Akrit tells of his plans for her future, Maniye runs… Author Adrian Tchaikovsky brings us an epic fantasy with a young female protagonist at its heart struggling to find herself and discover her destiny. The Tiger and the Wolf is the first book of a trilogy and rolls o In a world of where humans can shapeshift into the animal of their tribe, young Maniye is unhappy in the Wolf village.

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    The Tiger and the Wolf is the first book of a trilogy and rolls out a world of tribes, scheming factions, ancient magic and spirits. It has many advantages but also a conflict that troubles her deeply. She is torn between the two, and both tiger and wolf within her fight to be dominant. The killer Broken Axe is sent by her father to pursue her and return Maniye back to him.

    She is the key to his grand future plans. But the chase leads her to meet some wonderful characters along the way and she fights defiantly with her allies as she tries to stay free. There is talk of change and war coming among the priests in the land. How may this affect Maniye and what part will she play. The book comes to a fascinating finale and leaves plenty of scope for the story to develop in future books. This is a long and satisfying read, with an eye-catching cover, which I hope you will enjoy as much as I did.

    ARC Received Jun 24, Marielle rated it really liked it Shelves: books-own. It was five stars right to the end. I thought the ending not as good as the rest of the book. So 4 stars I'll write a review later on. This book was surprisingly good! I can't believe I never heard of Adrian Tchaikovsky before randomly discovering this book in a bookstore. Tchaikovsky has built a unique fantasy world which is similar to our world set in an "iron age" time.

    The Plains is home to Horse and Eyrie crow, eagle, and other carrion birds. He presents shape shifters like no other. These are not your usual urban fantasy werewolves. The people are not called werewolves or weretigers. This is a world Tchaikovsky has built a unique fantasy world which is similar to our world set in an "iron age" time. This is a world where the animal soul melds with the human at birth. They are able to "step" quickly and easily between forms. Characters are well developed.

    I read eagerly as Maniye Many Tracks, she who was born of Tiger and Wolf, try to find her way in this harsh world. I'm eager to read more of the series. Apr 28, Marc Morris rated it it was amazing. Well bought this solely on the cover!! Which is incredible one best I seen lately Next synopsis double sold Jan 22, R. Watkinson rated it it was amazing.

    I'll write a fuller review later, for now I'd just like to say this book was good. Better than I expected. That last needs an explanation, I know. When I first read the blurb and saw animal clans, outcast girl, shape-changers, I wasn't invested. But, like John Gwynne said, it was 'addictively brilliant'. I devoured the book. I enjoyed Maniye's journey across this ancient feeling world and out of her childhood. The tale became more complex, the characters became more layered, the world became vas I'll write a fuller review later, for now I'd just like to say this book was good.

    The tale became more complex, the characters became more layered, the world became vaster, the more pages I turned. And turn them I did - a good thing sleeping is not something I do well these days. I have to get the next book - NOW Apr 24, William rated it really liked it. Adrian Tchaikovsky seems to be one of the more prolific authors writing at the moment, it's only been a couple of years since he finished his ten-volume Shadows of the Apt series and this book is the third novel he's published since then and they haven't been short books.

    After last year's two standalones this is a return to the series format, although this isn't intended to be as lengthy a series as the Apt books. The setting this time is a bit different to his previous fantasy books, whereas Adrian Tchaikovsky seems to be one of the more prolific authors writing at the moment, it's only been a couple of years since he finished his ten-volume Shadows of the Apt series and this book is the third novel he's published since then and they haven't been short books. The setting this time is a bit different to his previous fantasy books, whereas they had relatively advanced societies this book feels like it is set in its world's equivalent of the Bronze Age with most people living in small warring tribes.

    Because of this the world-building feels a bit simplistic compared to the Apt books, but it does a reasonable job of making it feel convincing and mostly avoids the potential trap of having the characters have too modern a mindset for their surroundings. Tchaikovsky does usually like to have a high-concept premise; in this case it's that all humans have the ability to shapeshift into the form of their tribe's animal.

    There are a variety of different tribes shown from the relatively mundane wolves, tigers and bears through to the more exotic Komodo dragons and one character who is able to change into the form of an unnamed animal reminiscent of a Jurassic Park-style velociraptor. I think maybe my biggest criticism of the book might be that while this is clearly meant to only show the beginning of a conflict against a potentially world-threatening threat, that more epic part of the storyline is perhaps a bit too much in the background for it to really be interesting.

    Oct 06, Philippa Mary rated it really liked it Shelves: favourites. I have to admit that I picked this book up mainly due to the stunning cover. The book itself did not disappoint, though. It is definitely quite slow at points as there is a lot of world building and other information that needs to be told. Having said that, I never felt bogged down by all the information.

    A Dual Tale by Wentworth M Johnson

    It was all necessary - it just set a bit of a slower reading pace. I love the setting of this book, with tribes that can 'step' into different animals. I also loved the main character, Maniye. She is such an interesting and complex character. The other characters are also extremely well written and I loved that all the characters have some mannerisms or indication of the animal they are linked to.

    The diversity of this book is great - there are so many different tribes and different beliefs. I really enjoyed finding out about them all. I very much enjoyed this book and I will definitely be continuing on with this series.

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    Jan 21, Liviu marked it as tried-but-not-for-me. Jan 28, Joanne Hall rated it really liked it Shelves: epic-fantasy. Imagine a world where everone is a shape-shifter, where people can shift skins as easily as thought. Deer, Boar, Horse, Crocodile. And, battling for supremacy at the icy Crown of the World, the Tiger and the Wolf. Maniye is the daughter of two cultures, her mixed heritage from her Tiger mother and her Wolf father battling for supremacy within her and threatening to tear her fragile human form apart in the process.

    When she rescues an elderly priest of the Serpent from sacrifice within the Jaws of Imagine a world where everone is a shape-shifter, where people can shift skins as easily as thought. When she rescues an elderly priest of the Serpent from sacrifice within the Jaws of the Wolf, she is forced to flee her tribe, and her actions lead her into conflict with both her warring souls, and the tribes that inhabit this wasteland. Her allies are uncertain, and for the first time in her life Maniye is alone.

    Maniye is a remarkable heroine, conflicted and doubting, but determined and courageous at the same time, facing a conflict within her that she knows could drive her insane. The world is rich with detail, with the clash of cultures though through at every step, from the trade-minded people of the Horse to the savage Komodo dragon-pirates of the far south — the interplay between enslaved Dragon Venater and his captor Asmander, a man torn between his loyalty to an unloving father and his desire to do the right thing, is a delight to read.

    This is a remarkable and unusual coming-of-age novel, the first in a series. Disclaimer — I recieved this book for free in exchange for an honest review. Jan 14, Marco Barely a blogger rated it it was amazing Shelves: fantasy , read , books-i-own. It has been a long time since a book has left such an impact on me that I can barely think straight.

    Adrian has really outdone himself with this story. The subtle dystopian feel it gave me personally, made for vivid emotions and at times they'd overwhelm me. The relatability of being at war with oneself was masterfully done. Time and time again I had to put this book to the side because of work I had to do. Time and time again, I came back, ready to follow Maniye as a passive travel companio Wow.

    Time and time again, I came back, ready to follow Maniye as a passive travel companion. Floating around her, her fellow adventurers, and whatever was happening in that particular chapter. I was captivated. The characters are well rounded and their flaws are just as much used as motives, as their ambitions are, which works amazingly well in the world Adrian has created. The world in which this wonderful tale takes place has many fascinating details and they transition so effortlessly into the lines and adventures of the characters.

    I absolutely adore this book and highly recommend giving it a read. I can't wait to start the second book. Sep 18, W. Saraband rated it really liked it Shelves: fantasy. This one was a bit of a slow burn for me; the unique setting on which the story begins wasn't enough to grip me like other books, but about halfway in that all changed.

    It was as if all the pieces fell into place, and some surprising twists and turns in the story helped it really come alive and make me invested in the main character. The Tiger and the Wolf is set in a unique world, where people are born with animal souls that allow them to shapeshift. It is a violent, ruthless world, that doesn't This one was a bit of a slow burn for me; the unique setting on which the story begins wasn't enough to grip me like other books, but about halfway in that all changed.

    It is a violent, ruthless world, that doesn't suffer fools. Our main character happens to have a peculiarity of her own, which puts her right into the centre of the storm. This is her journey, how we see her trying to run from herself, and how she finds some interesting people along the way. Mar 10, Foggygirl rated it it was amazing Shelves: owned-read. This book was on my to-read list for over a year before I actually got around to reading it so I am very happy that it has turned out to be one of the best books that I have read in a very long time.

    A fast paced fantastic read. Jan 12, Quinn David rated it it was amazing. Where did Tchaikovsky come from? And where was I that I didn't find him sooner? Second only to its stunning cover, The Tiger in the Wolf is a beautifully intricate tale stuffed full of rich world building and a spirited cast of characters. Truthfully Tchaikovsky had me at page one, with the introduction of the Winter Runners, Where did Tchaikovsky come from? Truthfully Tchaikovsky had me at page one, with the introduction of the Winter Runners, a seemingly normal tribe living in the Crown of the World amidst long cold winters and the Jaws of the Wolf.

    And when the subsequent paragraphs unfold you can already catch sight of Tchaikovsky's skill, as he reveals this tribe for what they truly are, shape shifting wolves. Add on the understanding that we have entered a world divided amongst tribes of various shape shifters and I could see before the end of chapter one that something special was going on here. It's not just the novelty of tribal-shape-shifters that had me crowing for me, but the level of complexity built upon each group. From the moral codes to the religious rituals, each tribe truly personifies its animal god in amazing detail.

    Before I even made it to our heroine and the problem at hand I was struck by the amount of detail and how quickly Tchaikovsky is able to immerse readers into this world. In chapter one Akrit Stone River hunts a Deer, a Deer that is his due as chief of the Winter Runners, and in those mere five pages where Running Deer refuses to hold his animal shape in proper tribute once caught, and Akrit proceeds with his kill, the truth of the Crown of the World is laid before his readers.

    That this is a world of savage beauty where only the strong survive. To be able to do this in such a short amount of time; in the time it takes Akrit to lung for the kill, Tchaikovsky too, takes his readers by the throat and forces the point home. And if the world building isn't enough to capture your interest then the cast of characters should do the trick. What works so well is that, even though they all alter their shape at the drop of a dime, they are remarkably and startlingly human, full of human follies and greed.

    His cast of characters are all brought together by circumstance. No two characters share a common goal and it makes them that much more realistic to watch them as their alliances shift with the changing winds. From Maniye who wants nothing more than to be free of her father's tyranny, to Asmander, journeying to rally the famed Iron Wolves to his friend's war, everyone is out for themselves. I found the characters that much more believable when they failed to instantly become friends and work together.

    No one is truly evil and no one is truly good. This is not a straight forward journey of light versus dark. There is no hero's journey collecting sidekicks along the way. It is a tale of happenstance and perseverance and what one must do to accomplish their goals. Although the cast is rather large and the book is divided nicely between them all I would be remiss if I didn't single out Maniye, who if we have to choose a main character, it would be her. Born of a union between Tiger and Wolf she has within the ability to transform not once but twice, with souls of both animals trapped within her.

    Created with a purpose in mind she is neither loved by her father nor respected by her peers. Yet she does it with an indomitable spirit, never giving up or halting or being deterred with each subsequent rejection. I love her. Love her spirit and her drive and her growth. I love her relationship with Hesprec and as she slowly learns what it means to have friends. And just as I love Maniye, I love that Tchaikovsy is able to instill this level of detail into each of his characters; from Joalpey the Queen of the Tigers to Venater, the dragon who lost his name.

    This is a hard book to review because its level of complexity makes it difficult to break it apart to analyze and digest. All I know is that each time I picked it up I had to read but a few lines to fall right back into the story. The prose, while not flowery or overwrought, still manages to be eye catching and immersive. I was instantly invested in each characters journey, and each cast member is strong in its own right so I didn't feel that pull that happens when you only want to read about certain characters and not others. I was just as interested in Akrit's spiral into greed and his quest to become the leader of all wolves as I was Hesprec's secretive mission to discover prophecies that might speak to the changing times.

    And as this overall linear storyline spirals ever closer to its explosive conclusion, Tchaikovsky dots the outskirts with nuggets of information setting the stage to expand the plot for future novels. I don't really have much more to say. The Tiger and the Wolf is just well done. It rich, full of detail, and gritty, with explosive battles and complex characters. Even at just under pages it manages to read quickly with great pacing split between character development, information gathering, mad dashes and epic battles.

    I'm completely sold. One would figure the parallels to today would present themselves — the effete elites living off a bitter working class no one wants to look at … alas, our elite still seems able to fight off being dinner, for now. Forster foresaw our obsession with technology. In this shockingly prescient short story, all communication is done through screens, humans are isolated in cells below ground, and ideas are only shared by an omnipresent Machine that is worshiped as a god.

    Your high-school English teacher probably taught you that and Brave New World were the pioneers of the sci-fi dystopia. But both Orwell and Huxley were influenced by an earlier, lesser-known Russian novel, written in , smuggled into the U. The One State would surely hate it. In , Huxley published a book about a society in which the opportunities to distract yourself with small pleasures are endless.

    This satire chronicles the career of fictitious U.

    The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: Notes

    Lewis understood the American soul better than most, and he makes a compelling case that fascist tendencies would make a horrifyingly good fit for our polity if presented with the right amount of good, old-fashioned patriotism. By creating a world in which women are enslaved and treated no better than animals, Burdekin drew a blueprint for dystopian literature, while never forgetting that misogyny would be an integral architect. Wizards roam the land as well — that is, people who have mastered a small selection of reality-warping formulae that now-extinct super-advanced civilizations had developed.

    Soon enough, the scientist in question, Dr. Martine, ventures to the Inland Strip — a. It was a pleasure to read. You know a book has had lasting impact when its plot can be used to describe a type of situation. The book works with the idea that, no matter how much we may want peace, some among us crave power. Yet in a strange twist of events, from Survivor to Lost, that very basic message has somehow been turned into entertainment for the masses in the 21st century. Prefiguring cyberpunk in the mids, Bester depicts a world ruled largely by giant multi-planet corporations run by decadent elites, hoarding their wealth away from the jaunting gangs.

    This makes him a hot commodity, and various forces attempt to snatch him on behalf of one or another megacorp or power player. Foyle eludes them all, in large part through his psychotic devotion to extracting violent revenge for being marooned. To Rand and the generations to follow that would study and embrace her work, dystopia meant an America — and world — where socialism and big government were the norm. In one of his earliest works, Inter Ice Age 4 , originally serialized in a journal named Sekai, he embraced science-fictional imagery more directly, including melting polar ice caps, genetically engineered humans, and the destruction of entire nations due to flooding.

    It fits in neatly with his other studies of alienation, but also echoes modern concerns almost 60 years after its publication. Apocalypses bring us face-to-face with the horror of time. Usually, they do this by reminding us of how little we have, but A Canticle for Leibowitz makes us confront the weight of endless years. Miller, who suffered from depression and PTSD, went into seclusion after writing this novel. He never finished another a sequel was posthumously put together , and in a heartrending irony, killed himself almost 40 years later.

    A study of human desire for conflict and violence? A coming-of-age novel in dystopian England? An exploration of the dark side of youth culture in the postwar era? Or possibly a combination of all three? In A Clockwork Orange , the future is a violent, broken place. Vonnegut satirizes a range of targets, from American provincialism to banana republic dictators to the jet set, but ultimately has eyes on something bigger.

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    He plays the futility of the human condition for laughs, in a way that highlights rather than disguises the bleakness of his vision. Few dystopian stories are also horror stories, but Ellison has always enjoyed surprising his readers. In this astounding work of short fiction, he conceives a world where only five humans are left and their lives are dominated by a sadistic and omnipotent supercomputer known as AM. The original edition of Androids was set in ; later editions place the story in the 21st century. Humanity was nearly wiped out during another global conflict, and now, robotic versions of animals and humans are part of everyday life.

    While nuclear war was a serious threat when Dick wrote the book, the stark look at a future Earth after mass environmental destruction seems all too real now. The Hainish cycle of books and stories contains many of these, including The Left Hand of Darkness , about a planet whose inhabitants have no fixed gender, and The Dispossessed , set on twin planets with radically different forms of government. The Lathe of Heaven , though set on earth, has just as heady a concept: protagonist George Orr a name with plenty of dystopian resonance on its own possesses the ability to rewrite reality itself.

    Working with his therapist, Orr begins to use his ability to ostensibly improve the world.

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    A wish with the intention of making things better, however, often has the opposite effect — thus allowing Le Guin to, in this short novel, showcase a number of ominous outcomes for humanity. When you think of the most iconic Dr. Like Samuel R. Many dystopias focus on the ways in which human flaws and obsessions can transform society for the worst. Specifically the idea that, in the event of some extraterrestrial lifeform visiting Earth, they might not even bother to contact us, leaving humans to puzzle over the bizarre artifacts they leave in their wake.

    This brief, brutal novella, written by Sheldon under a pseudonym, is about a girl who gives up her life of poverty and physical deformity, instead becoming the remote brain for a perfect, young, machine-made starlet. As a vision of the future, The Girl Who is full of sci-fi tropes like remote brains and 3-D holograms. More presciently, and more pointedly, it also speculates that advertising would become a hidden, embedded part of entertainment.

    Some dystopian novels take their cue from the breakdown of an existing social order; others focus on the conflict between two incompatible worldviews, and the devastation that they leave in their wake. As he tells the story of a wanderer arriving in an isolated city, Delany uses a host of experimental prose techniques to leave the reader as shaken as his characters. The Girl Who Owned a City , familiar from many middle-school reading lists, is simpler and smaller than the Hunger Games cohort of young-adult dystopias.

    After Lisa loses her house to a gang of kids, she moves her nascent collective into the local high school. Its smallness and the simplicity of its language are a benefit rather than a detraction — as an introduction to dystopia and an act of imaginative future horror, it can hit a year-old square in the chest.

    Woman on the Edge of Time feels atypical for a dystopian novel: Connie, its protagonist, lives in New York in the s, and its opening suggests the reader is in for a bleak work of literary realism. But soon, Connie is contacted by a representative from a utopian society in a possible future timeline, and things grow infinitely more complex.

    As science-fiction writer and critic Jo Walton observed in an essay on the novel, s New York comes off as pretty dystopian here as well. Connie is repeatedly deprived of her freedom by patriarchal forces as sinister as anything you might run across in Atwood. Soon enough, however, the conversation at familial functions turns to the state of the world, which is headed toward rapid societal collapse.

    Casual talks about genetics in the early going take on a new significance as the book advances; this is a tale of a grim future, the evolution of humanity, and the questions that face the society to come. Perhaps most impressive is how subtly the novel changes: Without ever losing sight of the personal, it takes on societal and environmental changes on a grander and grander scale. The Stand is his magnum opus when it comes to writing about the end of civilization, and the ensuing battle to decide what direction humanity will go in as it tries to rebuild.

    Beginning with The Shadow of the Torturer , Wolfe wrote a number of interconnected works that explored the fate of humanity in the far future and earned a whole lot of acclaim along the way. These are generally grouped together as the Book of the New Sun set on Earth at a time when the sun has dimmed , the Book of the Long Sun set on a massive generation ship , and the Book of the Short Sun set on a number of distant worlds. The Shadow of the Torturer is where it all began, featuring an apprentice torturer with an eidetic memory venturing across a bizarre world long after our own civilization has vanished.

    The setup is simple: A group of teenagers in a futuristic megacity stumble across something that transforms one of the kids into a troubled god; the End of Days ensues. A character at one point punches the goddamn moon and makes a significant dent, and it never looks silly, somehow. Atwood presents a fully realized and terrifyingly timeless world in the Republic of Gilead, where rape is reframed as a sacred and clinical ceremony. The Postman made into a much-maligned film in is set after a series of wars — both international and civil — have led to the end of the United States as we know it.

    Though the setting is dystopian, Brin pursues the question of how a nation can be rebuilt — whether through a set of shared beliefs or a group of working institutions. The presence of an adversarial strain of violent, hypermasculine authoritarianism makes for some chilling parallels to the present moment. But in his prime, Card captured a range of emotions with a power and immediacy seldom seen in sci-fi.

    Imagine British boarding school, complete with arbitrary games that determine your future, taking place in the grimy workaday spacecraft of the Alien series. With the help of Janson and Varley, the great comics auteur Frank Miller crafted a story about Batman returning to active duty in middle age, seeking to re-conquer a Gotham that looks suspiciously like Times Square circa , writ large.

    The dystopian aspects of the story are deliberately over the top: talk shows fawning over serial killers, street gangs dressed like Johnny Rotten in a German porno, televised talking heads grinning through the madness, and so on. Told from multiple perspectives, the book frequently evokes the onset of the AIDS crisis, but magnified and transposed to a few years from now.

    Plenty of tales of dystopian futures focus on everyday people trying to live out their lives even as sinister forces prey upon them. Hint: not good. Ryman is the sort of novelist who reinvents himself with each work, covering a vast amount of emotional and intellectual territory along the way. In the case of The Child Garden , the setting is a futuristic world in which advances in medicine have resulted in a cure for cancer — which has the side effect of dramatically shortening the human lifespan.

    Despite being a product of the U. First introduced in , this long-running series of comic books explores a vicious future city where the streets are a war between motley crazies and brutal law-enforcement officers called Judges. Dredd himself only appears peripherally; the joy here is in seeing the world he defines. Many of the works on this list have been overshadowed by cinematic adaptations, but arguably none more so than The Children of Men.

    After the cyberpunk movement made its mark on science fiction in the s, Stephenson came along and took a crack at the genre with this novel of a futuristic world in which virtual spaces coexist with the physical, and dangers can arise within each. Its tone is brisk and occasionally over-the-top: this is, after all, a novel in which the main character is literally named Hiro Protagonist. As in his subsequent works — including The Diamond Age and the Baroque Cycle series — the nature and dangers of language play a significant role here.


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    • Depicting a Southern California beset by fires, drought, mass unemployment, and the slow collapse of social services, Parable of the Sower brought the ways race, gender, and community could alter survival strategies into the sci-fi imagination. Lauren Olamina, a young black girl afflicted with a painful psychosomatic empathy condition, is forced to flee the gated community in which her family eked out a precarious stability. A full Earthseed saga is one of the great lost works of science fiction.

      The Giver is the prototypical example of a utopia with a dark side — perhaps the prime example in young-adult literature of a seemingly perfect society that had to sacrifice something to become that way. Jonas lives in a structured community in which marriages, careers, and families are all chosen for citizens by a preternaturally wise group of capital-E Elders. Perhaps the sparsest dystopia is the bleakest one of all. For all that Infinite Jest is hailed as a towering work of American fiction, and for its numerous literary innovations and digressions Footnotes!

      Circular structures! Infinite Jest is a loud, ambitious, perniciously unsettling book. There are plenty of advantages to having the lead character in a story of a strange future be a journalist. For starters, you can show a bunch of different aspects of the world and have a character with a vested interest in exploring them. While there are clear parallels intended to, say, the rise of Tony Blair in the s, Transmetropolitan remains deeply and uncomfortably relevant to contemporary politics as well. The drama plays out in a Toronto in which infrastructure has collapsed; the affluent have fled to the suburbs, and danger remains for those who have persevered.

      At times, the setup for the novel reads like a half-dozen urbanist trends accelerated at a frenzied rate. Some dystopian fiction focuses on the terror that can emerge; Hopkinson leaves room for everyday joys and hope. In The Elementary Particles , the apocalypse has already hit in the form of the cultural revolutions of the s.

      Raised by a psychotically vain and feckless hippie mother, the two main characters — half-brothers Michel and Bruno — wander through life utterly lonely and unhappy, in complementary ways. Michel is isolated in his mind and his work as a geneticist; Bruno is saturnine and compulsively seeks out sex. We follow the brothers and those around them across various humiliations, betrayals, and occasional horror, a forced march through the highlights of lateth century European ennui.

      The characters conclude that the misery of the human condition is so all-encompassing, only a root-and-branch genetic reconstruction of humanity — one that reproduces asexually and has neurologically disassociated sexual pleasure and reproduction — could possibly improve things. The Elementary Particles is a late classic of the European reactionary literary tradition, both in terms of its unflinching evocation of the failures of modernity and in its cheap and seethingly horny provocations.

      Trying to describe the work of the French writer who writes under the name of Antoine Volodine among several others is nearly impossible. His fiction often features futuristic settings and ventures down metaphysical pathways: Post Exoticism in Ten Lessons, Lesson Eleven is set in a future where artists and writers run afoul of an oppressive government.

      Volodine focuses on a number of fictional writers and imagined literary movements; even as he chronicles the grim clashes between state power and artistic freedom, he also creates a sense of delight at how different creative communities affect one another, and how artistic movements transform themselves and those who participate in them. Lord of the Flies contrasted polite British society with the Hobbesian state of nature and asked whether the two might not be so different; Battle Royale insists that the war of all against all was always already there — the scenario just formalizes the rules.

      But Takami makes clear that the everyday violence of family and school primed the kids for taking on roles as victims or victimizers. Prepare to be equal parts disgusted and enthralled.