George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) made it back onto the bestsellers lists earlier this year, exactly a week after Donald Trump’s inauguration. While some note that it might be wrong to evaluate real life through the prism of books written over half a century ago, with the White House shifting towards an administration led by “alternative facts” and Brexit looming on the horizon, it is no surprise that people are turning to dystopian novels to make sense of things. For those who want to keep riding the dystopian wave, or are desperate for a reality alternative to this one, the New East has various kinds of doomsday stories to add to your reading list, from dishonest alien regimes to a “great wall” dividing the world.
The Dictator: A Story of Ak and Humanity (1919)
1917: Stories and Poems from the Russian Revolution.
The Letter Killers Club (1926)
Memories Of the Future (1926-30)
War With the Newts (1936)
Czech writer Karel Čapek is one of the country’s most acclaimed science fiction writers. In War of the Newts the author satirically explores every sphere of human civilisation, including colonialism, racism, capitalism and fascism, through a story centred on the discovery and subsequent enslavement of an intelligent breed of newts. One of the book’s obvious, and some say painfully relevant, messages is that humanity itself instigates the downfall of the human race. Čapek, who has been nominated for Nobel Prize in Literature several times, is internationally recognised as the writer who initially popularised the use of the word “robot”. The novel, first published in 1937, is considered a science fiction classic, and is published in English by S.F. Masterworks and Penguin Modern Classics.
The Absolute At Large (1922)
Squaring the Circle: A Pseudotreatise of Urbogony Fantastic Tales (1969)
The Old Axolotl: Hardware Dreams (2015)
Day of the Oprichnik (2006)
secret police organisation founded by Ivan the Terrible. In the new Russian Empire, the brutal practices of the Ivan the Terrible period are performed with new technologies like rayguns, creating a unique dystopian reality that is also heavily seasoned with Soviet-era references. Day of the Oprichink is a relatively new novel – it was initially published in Russian in 2006, and in English in 2010.