Utopia + Dystopia = Ustopia
I really want to teach a unit on American dystopian fiction. I think it would be really engaging for the students, and hopefully it would also be very motivating and enlightening. I keep thinking of an interview with Margaret Atwood where she notes that her "dystopian" fictions should really be called "ustopian" because there are a latent germs of one in the other. Which of course says a lot about her ideas on purity, purification, and the attendant violences of such ideals.
In any event, if I get to teach such a unit these are the titles that popped into my head.
- Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale and MaddAddam Trilogy. I know these aren't written by an American author, but they both take place in America so I'm going to accept that as meeting my criteria primarily because I think they are that great.
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road.
- Don DeLillo, Americana.
- Jack London, The Iron Heel.
- Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here.
- William Gibson, Neuromancer.
- Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower and Talents.
- Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451.
- Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.
- Paolo Bacigalupi, The Windup Girl.