Dystopian fiction

Dystopian fiction is a popular genre with many readers. All my students know of the Hunger Games, as those who work with teens would know. There are other worthy dystopian books, and fans of this genre can branch out into other genres as well as staying with their favourite. In this set of books, two novels are a mix of dystopian and science fiction.

The Feather written by Margaret Wild and illustrated by Freya Blackwood.the feather

Shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year Picture Book awards, this dystopian picture book offers readers a glimmer of hope in a depressing world. When two children find a white feather in their desolate landscape, they take it back to the town. There the adults wonder at this beautiful thing and want to keep it, captured. The feather begins to brown and die, and the children decide to save it, taking it back to their home and nursing it back to health.

The end papers proved to be a wonderful starting point to discuss the visual grammar used by Freya Blackwood in this book. The line and direction lead the viewer’s eye to turn the page, and the imprint page also offers a visual telling of the story. The well worked verbal text collaborates well with the visuals, bringing it all together beautifully. My favourite page would have to be pages 11 and 12, as it positions the viewer in the feather’s place, looking up to the town’s people. All pages are borderless, invoking the feeling for the viewer of being a part of the narrative.

I did not read the book to my classes but told the story as I showed the visuals. The boys then had the option to pick the book up and read it during the class, which many of them did. This has encouraged me to work more with picture books with my students. The conversations that followed the viewing of this book were enlightening and thoughtful.

In the Dark Spaces by Cally Black

I never go past an opportunity to talk about my favourite books, and this one by Cally in the dark spacesBlack is at the top of my list. My full review and a longer book talk can be found here.

Essentially, this is a novel set in space, firmly in the science fiction genre, but fans of dystopian fiction will also enjoy this. Because of the break down of life on earth, people have found themselves living on planet Dios and mining Helium-3 and phosphorus in deep space. However, they are taking the essential life force of the creatures living in this area. It is a gripping read and one that flies off the shelves after every book talk.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Another firm favourite, this series is already popular with some readers. Todd must flee knife of never letting goPrenstisstown, his home where everyone can hear everyone else think, except for the Mayor, who rules and controls the town. As Todd flees with his dog Manchee, he meets Viola, sole survivor of a space craft accident. Her and her parents were coming to ‘New World’, an alien planet settled by humans, to assess the colonisation. It has not gone well, and Todd finds he and others have been deceived. Told there were no other people on the planet and no women, Todd finds out otherwise, and as well as trying to survive, he attempts to find out the truth.

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

My review for This Mortal Coil can be found here.this mortal coil

This is a futuristic tale set in a dystopian world where a virus threatens to wipe out human life. Catarina is left alone after her father is taken away to invent a cure for the virus. She was warned not to be captured if they came for her, but she is no match for Cole, programmed to find her and take her back to the lab to help find a cure. However, Catarina has been lied to and when her past is revealed, she is not sure who she can trust. This is a thrilling read.