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Bibliography by Max Hillman

Page history last edited by maxhillman@... 7 years, 6 months ago

1.     Astor, Dave. "Why Do We Like Dystopian Novels?" The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 19 Oct. 2012. Web. 02 Nov. 2013.


     This article from the Huffington Post by Dave Astor chronicles some of the reasons why people enjoy reading dystopian literature. Naturally, like “rubbernecking” a car crash, we as humans are attracted to “War. Death. Despair. [and] Oppression,” especially when we are not the subjects of these negative events. Astor presses this feeling of relation that the readers share with the characters by acknowledging, “how some react bravely and some react cowardly or with resignation” – a choice we as humans often have to make. This relation further extends to our entire society when Astor explains that readers enjoy learning about the “worst-case scenarios of the future” presented in dystopian fiction; and projecting that feeling into hope that “maybe our current society can be jolted enough to avoid those scenarios eventually happening in real life.”


     Like the others, this article is particularly insightful because it shows the societal and psychological influences present when readers interpret dystopian literature and in turn, when it is written. Astor says, “there’s a certain ‘rightness’ in reading about a future that’s negative… because we know that politicians, military people and corporate moguls are capable of doing awful things -- meaning dystopian novels feel kind of honest.” It is this honesty that has survived the genre, making it popular for over a century now. A genre for the people filled with authors who wish to call awareness to the societal problems they are experiencing and the ones they foresee. 






2.      Kriss, Sam. "Book of Lamentations." The New Inquiry Book of Lamentations Comments. The New Inquiry, n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2013.


     This article featured in the New Inquiry discusses an interesting view on the dystopian genre as a whole, through a unique comparison and qualification of the DSM-5 as a dystopian work. Although they are fictional works, the article states, “The best dystopian literature, or at least the most effective, manages to show us a hideous and contorted future while resisting the temptation to point fingers and invent villains.” Essentially, it is a fictional piece that provides real insight on the future without being too fictional. It doesn’t require a “Bond villain” but the simple explanation that one is living in a world where “Everything’s broken, but it’s not anyone’s fault; it’s terrifying because it’s so familiar.”


     The author states that “Great dystopia isn’t so much fantasy as a kind of estrangement or dislocation from the present; the ability to stand outside time and see the situation in its full hideousness,” and that it doesn’t even need to be a novel. He continues by speaking about “maybe the greatest piece of dystopian literature ever written, Theodore Adorno’s Minima Moralia, a collection of observations written in response to his exile in America after the Second World War – furthering the idea of societal influence in dystopia. The idea of dystopian literature coming in other forms than novels is further pursued in the author’s discussion of the DSM-5. The dystopian characteristics lie in the fact that the book “arranges its various strains of madness solely in terms of the behaviors exhibited. This is a recurring theme in the novel, while any consideration of the mind itself is entirely absent.” This is exemplary of the subjective nature of dystopian literature. The act of removing the author from the world he or she depicts and looking at it from a completely unbiased point of view – examining its hopelessness to its fullest extent.



3.     Sande, Steven. "Blackbar: A Fascinating Word/puzzle Game and Cautionary Tale." TUAW. TUAW, 28 Aug. 2013. Web. 04 Nov. 2013.


     This article by Steven Sande from tuaw.com is interested in the smartphone application, Blackbar – a literary puzzle game. Sande characterizes the game to be “deceptively easy at the beginning… then the words get tougher to guess and in some cases you'll find that you need to solve a puzzle to move forward to the conclusion.” Like any good puzzle game it should be difficult enough to inspire some critical thinking. He continues by stating, “It took me about four hours to complete the game and get to the chilling end, and I was thoroughly engrossed in the story the entire time” – making it clear this is an effective medium for literature.


     Not only does this article provide insight on the benefits of a literary game, it also depicts a game with a dystopian tale. Once finished, Sande realized the game was a “cautionary tale about the perils of censorship and is quite timely considering the recent revelations about NSA monitoring of the conversations of private citizens.” Again, Sande creates this sense of societal influence present in the genre. In the use of a literary game, the reader enjoys the fictional thrill of reading but can also attain “a sobering reminder of the ever-present possibility of a police state.”




4.     Wigston, Nancy. "Brave New World: Aldous Huxley's Predictions Seem to Be upon Us." Thestar.com. Toronto Star, 24 Aug. 2012. Web. 03 Nov. 2013.


     This article was featured in the Toronto Star last summer and it illustrates the significance and relative truth to Aldous Huxley’s western world predictions in his novel, Brave New World. The discussion opens with insight on the critical acclaim that his book received when it was first released in 1932: “the British sang its praises, the Irish banned it, the Americans were lukewarm.” Although the book has been listed as one of the top 10 books readers wish to see banned, the American Modern Library ranks it fifth on its list of 100 best novels.


      The article continues on to show the overlap of Huxley’s satire with today’s culture by pointing out a western society known for its love of material items, its longing for lustful behavior, and its desire for the dissociative effects of drugs. This information not only sheds light on the dystopia we may or may not be living out as we speak but also speaks to the influence of societal woes and events on the writing of a novel like Brave New World and the dystopian genre as a whole. This is made clear when the author discusses a foreword Huxley had written in his copy of Brave New World. This 1946 foreword was written after years of war and nuclear bombings that changed the world – assuredly providing a negative outlook for most. Huxley stated in this section, “human beings are given free will in order to choose between insanity on the one hand and lunacy on the other.”






5.     "Historical Context: Brave New World." EXPLORING Novels. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Student Resource Center - Gold. Web. 1 Mar. 2010.


     This essay is informative as to how the societal conditions present during the publication of Brave New World influenced Aldous Huxley’s writing. The essay starts by pointing out the significant economic crises facing the world in 1931 such as the recent stock market crash and the drought that caused “widespread poverty and migration out of the farming belt.” However, Huxley’s novel focuses on the stability and satisfaction of the people in the World State, a stark contrast to what was going on in the world around him. Although Huxley portrays a subtle dystopia, not representative of his societies state of affairs, the influence is still present because “People longed for the kind of economic security that Huxley gives to the citizens of his fictional world.”


     The information set forth in this essay will be particularly useful for our project in that it gives support to our hypothesis of an ever-present, ever-changing societal influence on the dystopian genre, in particular our foundation piece, Brave New World. A fairly obvious example of this influence is in the portrayal of God as Henry Ford, a visionary of the era, who created means of production that allowed for more leisure time – more satisfaction, more stability. 




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