Readers Return to Dystopian Books
“Alternative Facts” and Orwell
When Kelly Anne Conway first used the term “Alternative facts” to defend the Trump administration’s claims, many were struck by its similarity to Orwell’s “newspeak” and “doublethink”. Her bewildering assertion was the catalyst for dystopian books to re-enter the charts. For instance, sales of George Orwell’s 1984 shot up nearly 10000% after her CNN interview. His book was not the only one to see their sales skyrocket.
“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” – Ray Bradbury
Best Seller Charts Don’t Lie:
Almost a year after that interview and the dystopian genre is still captivating readers.
- Orwell’s 1984 still holds 3 top-10 positions on Amazon’s “Classic Literature and Fiction” (each a different version)
- Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World sits at #38
- Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is at #15, just to name a few
Oh, and let’s not forget about the critically acclaimed television adaptations of Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
People are clamoring for dystopian books!
What are Dystopian Books?
The best definition I could find of dystopia was, “an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives”. The plot is often set within a totalitarian government or is the result of an environmental disaster. I know, this is hardly a thorough explanation of the genre. Luckily, author Erin Bowman created this handy flowchart to help us all figure out ‘Is it Dystopia?’.
Why Dystopian Books Trend?
Popularity of dystopian novels tend to rise and fall with the political and cultural mood. The last spike in dystopian book sales came in 2013 during the news cycle of Edward Snowden and his revelations of NSA spying on Americans. People tend to seek dystopian novels to reassure them that “things could be worse” or when they are looking for ways to cope with an ugly reality. The stories can also be a safe way to explore a real-world scenario to its most extreme end with the added comfort of knowing it is all fiction. This notion can appeal to both sides of the aisle. After all, “Make America Great Again” represents a Utopian ideal to some and a dystopian ideal to others.
Are you one of the many readers who have recently sought out dystopian novels? If so, what led you there?
Leave us a comment & let us know your favorite dystopian book!
What else is trending? Book sales! Read the full article HERE
For more Bookish News Commentary click HERE
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