I have slowly building my dystopian reference library. My first book was purchased somewhere between 2001 and 2002 (just checked Amazon and it was Aug 2001) and it was actually a print on demand textbook type academic book by Tom Moylan. It wasn’t until about 2 or 3 years ago that I accepted that science fiction and dystopia were inherently connected, though there are exceptions (as with most things.) For most of my life I lived in the belief that I despised science fiction and did not understand how any one could read it or even worse, enjoy it.
You may have noticed how quickly I have changed my tune, seeing as now I try to review science fiction titles exclusively. The biggest issue I had with Scraps of the Untainted Sky was it’s insistence that dystopia be connected with science fiction. I didn’t want to read about sci fi! I felt so alienated by it and all the weird language it used. I also felt annoyed at this book that claimed to be about dystopia but was throwing all this sci fi crap at me.
Honestly, I am willing to admit I feel a little silly now at being so closed minded, arrogant, and ignorant. But those are the mistakes of the young. Close to ten years have passed since the purchase of my first dystopian research book and in the past 6 months I have been slowly building up my library. These books can be quite costly, sometimes over $100 per book. And I don’t have the kind of money to waste, even on my passion. Without great used book services like Better World Books, Thrift Books, and even occasionally Amazon, I would not have been able to get these amazing books, most for around $20 or less.
Mr. X was generous enough to by me my most prized book of all for Mother’s Day. Utopian and Dystopian Writing for Children and Young Adults is at the intersection of my two/three main passions. Young adult literature, dystopia, and writing. And since these are essays, many by authors, it is verging on one of my other reading interests, memoir!
I also need to thank Dr. Amy H. Sturgis for her amazing lists of young adult dystopias and more importantly a source list that led to me to many of my research materials. She also inspired me to pursue this more seriously than I was previously. Also just the vast numbers of young adult dystopian novels available made me realize that there was a lot of information to be culled from them.
Better Hintz and Ostry’s book and Lauren L. Reber’s amazing M.A. thesis Negotiating Hope and Honesty: A Rhetorical Criticism of Young Adult Dystopian Literature I was able to track down many more amazing sources. A lot of which I am still working through looking up on my various book buying sites. Both Sturgis’ blog and Hintz and Ostry focus on young adult sources, I am interested in getting more general research material as well. It was through such searches through the works cited sections that I found No Place Else. Besides the one that is still on its way to me, this was my most recent purchase towards my person dystopian research library. Many of these books have excellent notes and citations after each essay or contribution in the book. This is a total goal mine for me. Most entries have over 20 sources per essays, though of course there is some overlap and some essay topics that are so specific their sources include book unrelated to dystopia. But searching through all of these books is like an amazing treasure hunt in and of itself.
I know some of you may want more information on these books, and I hope to follow up with another post about these and tell you about a few more books. Leave me a comment!