“I always say that, like your first kiss, you never forget your first dystopian novel”



As Condie’s series comes to a close, we asked her to tell us what her top 5 pop culture dystopias are. She jumped to the challenge, and her list is diverse and surprising:






I was thrilled when NOOK asked me to compile this list! I admit to playing a bit fast and loose with the definition of dystopia…for my purposes, I’m taking my cue from Webster’s Dictionary and defining it as any “imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives.” This was quite a fun list to make because I love these five dystopic works so much:


Favorite Dystopian Short Story. “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury. This is an absolutely haunting, original story, and when I read it as a teenager I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Bradbury does a wonderful job creating his world and using Sara Teasdale’s poem by the same title as a linchpin. I tried to do something similar in the Matched Trilogy (using poetry by others as an important part of the plot) and I know I was inspired by Bradbury’s doing this so perfectly.


Favorite Dystopian Movie. Gattaca. I had just graduated from high school when this movie, starring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, and Jude Law, was released. It received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction and I think the world is simply stunning. I also loved the characters. Without ruining the plot, I’ll just say that it involves genetic engineering, a controlling society, and some very good-looking people.


Favorite Dystopian Television Series. Firefly. The mixture of cultures, the humor and intelligence of the storylines, the creepiness of the Reavers, and the handsomeness of Nathan Fillion…is there anything else one needs?


Favorite Dystopian Song. I like to compile playlists for my books, and I think any dystopian novel could use some of Regina Spektor’s songs as part of the soundtrack. Her song “Machine” is particularly excellent, both because of the sound of the song and the lyrics themselves. I’m also a big fan of The Killers and I think their songs, particularly from the Hot Fuss album, have a nice dystopic, end-of-days feel to them.


Favorite Dystopian Novel. I always say that, like your first kiss, you never forget your first dystopian novel, and mine was 1984. I was seventeen when I read it for the first time. The riveting story of one man and one woman’s attempt to claim a little freedom while being watched over by Big Brother is, to me, the book that defines the genre.



NOOK owners: go to shop and search for “Ally Condie ” to download her popular trilogy.


by Tusan on ‎11-14-2012 08:07 AM

Needs a Nook version of trilogy

by TheSciFiGuy on ‎11-14-2012 08:16 AM

How about a Free Fridays of the first book - then we'll all love it so much we'll buy the other two!?

by Moderator dhaupt on ‎11-14-2012 08:56 AM

Thanks Jeremy from the bottom of my dystopian heart.

I second the request for a Free Friday selection :smileyhappy:

by jmbownes on ‎11-14-2012 09:34 AM

Kind of predictable answers, I would have been more impressed if she had come up with something a little less known. 1984 is the classic answer, Firefly the cult show. Be original! Come up with something better. How about, "Out of the Silent Planet", "When the Sleeper Wakes,"Neurmancer," Battle Royal,""Do androids Dream of Electric Sheep," to name a few. The stock answer is 1984, I am a little disappointed.


Though I wouldn't pass up a free Friday selection, I rarely do.

by on ‎11-14-2012 10:00 AM

I would rank Brave New World ahead of 1984.


When it comes to post-apocalyptic dystopia, a category in itself, Alas, Babylon and Earth Abides spring to mind.  Also A Canticle for Leibowitz.  I still find most post-apocalyptic fiction today to be in some way derivative of these classics.