With their frightening visions of the future, dystopian novels are one of the most cutting tools the writer has to attack the ills of current society. From science fiction to political satire, the most effective dystopias encourage us to stand up and fight for what we believe in – lest the speculative future becomes real.
Actor and writer Sebastian de Souza – who has previously captivated in Normal People, Skinsand The Borgias – has just unleashed his own dark vision on us. His novel Kid: A History of the Future is set in 2060, when a series of deadly pandemics, devastating environmental disasters and a violent surge in cyber terrorism has driven most people to live in a virtual reality.
As part of his research, de Souza immersed himself in the writings of his predecessors. Here, he chooses the best dystopian novels everyone should read.
Top five dystopian novels, recommended by actor and writer Sebastian de Souza
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
This book is insanely relevant. It’s about a flu pandemic that wipes out something like 95 per cent of the world. It turns the idea of the dystopian novel on its head, presenting a discussion of whether the ‘before’ was better than the ‘after’, or the ‘after’ is actually better than the ‘before’.
The Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
This is a razor sharp, searing appraisal of our own power structures in the present day, but through the eyes of a 15-year-old African American girl in an imaginary world.