Staff Picks: Favorite dystopian novels

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Our staff decided to pick out some of our favorite novels about oppressive governments. Obviously, this has nothing to do with today’s election.

Morgan Thorn, business manager, said “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro

Despite my love for Ayn Rand, “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro is my favorite dystopian novel. The novel revolves around Kathy, a human clone created for the sole purpose of organ donation. The book describes her life and friendships growing up in a boarding school for clones, her job as a “carer” and her final part of life as a donor. Ishiguro did an amazing job developing the characters, and I felt as if their emotions were my emotions.

Ben Underhill, arts and entertainment editor, said “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury

Named after the temperature at which book paper ignites, “Fahrenheit 451” is a classic novel that explores the dangers of censorship and hyper-stimulation. The concept of the novel is very intriguing, with books outlawed and the entire world at the brink of war. Following the life of Guy Montag, a firefighter who lights fires instead of putting them out, this novel will definitely keep readers at the edge of their seat.

Aidan Rivas, visual design assistant, said “The Death Cure” by James Dashner

One of my favorite dystopian novels is “The Death Cure.” This is the third novel in the “Maze Runner” trilogy, and is the culmination of everything the first two novels had been sprinting towards. I like to think of the first two novels as a cauldron of witch’s brew, and the third novel is the bubbling poultice that resulted. Really, I could say all three novels are my favorites, but the third one ties up loose ends and provides a satisfying ending to a series full of stressful events.

Danielle Pucillo, multimedia manager, said “Animal Farm” by George Orwell

While usually considered political satire, Animal Farm is “hooves” down my favorite dystopian novel. It is a hilariously dark allegory of the Russian Revolution with characters that represent real historical figures like Leon Trotsky, Joseph Stalin and Karl Marx. While most of these figures are usually shed in a more serious light, in this novel they are symbolized by domestic swine with names such as “Snowball” and “Squealer.” There are some aspects about this novel that are downright silly, but it is a classic story that satirizes one of the bloodiest political upheavals in history.

Rachael Hirstein, news editor, said “Anthem” by Ayn Rand

This is one of my all-time favorite dystopian novels because it makes me realize how fortunate I am to be able to decide who I can be. Rand created a world of despair where the government not only controls who you are and can be but who you can be with. When the protagonist, Equality 7-2521, breaks away from the prison that is his life and follows his desires, I was inspired to take advantage of my privileges and do the same.

Jenna Kopec, features editor, said “The Giver” by Lois Lowry

My favorite dystopian novel would probably have to be “The Giver” by Lois Lowry. The story follows 12-year-old Jonas, who has been chosen to be Receiver of Memory for his community. Jonas is shown all the heartbreak that the previous world has experienced, but he also experiences all the joy. These are all things that are lost in his community that he tries to show them. The novel has a lot to say about the human condition.

Grace Ducanis, copy editor, said “Nineteen Eighty-Four” by George Orwell

Nothing says omnipresent oppressive government quite like George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” In a society where even thoughts are crimes and history is changed in the blink of an all-seeing eye to reflect the ideals of the present, one man attempts to fight the system. Anti-government thought may not actually be a crime, but neglecting to read this book certainly is.

Alyssa Johns, sports editor, said “Animal Farm” by George Orwell

My favorite dystopian novel is “Animal Farm” by George Orwell. I’m a huge fan of satire, and the entire novel satirizes Joseph Stalin. Plus, the entire novel is a call-out to government elitists. Who doesn’t enjoy seeing politicians compared to fat and power-hungry pigs?

Jacqueline Lytle, co-editor-in-chief, said “The Giver” by Lois Lowry

I’ve never been specifically interested in dystopian novels, but one I remember vividly and absolutely loved was “The Giver.” In a controlled society without individuality and color, The Giver feeds the mind of a young boy, Jonas, giving him memories of the past. It is a deep novel that holds power and meaning in respect to the society developed throughout its pages.

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