Authors to Read for 1984 Lovers: A Short File of Science Fiction and Dystopia

Reading guide for sci-fi and dystopia lovers

1984 is the best-known and most widely-read dystopian novel. George Orwell's masterpiece envisions a future of chaos and oppression. The cause of this chaos, deprived of freedom, is the state itself, where political power is concentrated in one hand.

Although George Orwell's preliminary experiences and the brutal practices he witnessed played an important role in his creation of 1984, there are other authors who played an important role in his development as a writer and in his internalization of dystopia as a genre. We have analyzed these authors and some of their important works for you.

1-Jules Verne: Science Fiction Begins

Jules Verne is the first science fiction writer of classical literature in the modern sense. However, according to the general opinion, since he wrote his stories based on scientific facts, he can also be characterized as a technological fiction writer. The stories of Jules Verne, who is regarded as the father of science fiction along with H.G. Wells, constitute the infancy period in the journey of the genre in which science fiction evolved into dystopia.

While Verne focuses on technological developments and the possibilities they will create in the future in his stories, he almost ignores the social and human dimensions. This led him to write technological fiction stories that are far from the main theme of science fiction and especially dystopia, which we can call “cutesy”, so to speak.

His books such as Around the World in Eighty Days, Voyage to the Moon and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, which we can refer to as the first science and technology novels, formed the seeds of science fiction and are among Jules Verne's cult works.

2-H.G. Wells: Father of Science Fiction

H.G. Wells, who works in many genres, bears the influence of his predecessors such as Charles Dickens in 19th-century classical English literature. However, he revolutionized the literary world with his works in the science fiction genre. It is not possible to say who or which movements influenced him in this genre. Because he was not influenced by the science fiction genre. There is no example in his style before him.

H.G. Wells, the father of science fiction according to many, pursues not technology in his works, but its social effects, and even the projective criticism of these effects today. H.G. Wells's masterpiece The Time Machine is not only a science fiction novel but also deals with many crucial issues such as social structure, class distinction, and human nature. It presents us with a utopia and a dystopia intertwined. This novel is like a social and political criticism of H.G. Wells' own era.

3-Jack London: The First Modern Dystopia

Jack London played an important role in the formation and shaping of the realism movement with his works. He took care to use fluent and simple language in his writings. His works include many subjects such as humans, nature, society, social justice, and equality. Although he works in different genres of literature, there are many stories and novels that are considered in the science fiction and dystopia genres.

Jack London's novel The Iron Heel is the first modern example of the dystopia genre when it is evaluated in terms of its formal characteristics, the main problems of this genre, its main theme, and its content. The Iron Heel, which deserves all the praise and is the first, is a prediction of the future based on the political, economic, and social situation of the period in which it was written. It describes the negative future that awaits us and serves as a warning.

4-Yevgeni Zamyatin: Reference Point of Dystopia

Yevgeny Zamyatin wrote short stories throughout his artistic life. The fact that he did not have a comfortable enough life to focus on a novel is also effective in this. The economic corrosiveness of that period in Russia and the political pressures he experienced as a dissident artist wore him down. Biz, the only novel and long work he wrote, carried the state pressure on him to the last point and he was exiled from his country. An admirer of Dostoyevsky, Zamyatin is also the greatest reference point and source of inspiration for great masters such as Aldous Huxley and George Orwell who came after him.

With Biz, Yevgeni Zamyatin took the dystopian genre to the ultimate level and became the characterizer and reference point of this genre. In Biz, Yevgeni Zamyatin deals with the state administration based on terror, oppression, and persecution, where democratic rights and freedoms are completely suppressed, where political power is concentrated in one hand, and the social order has become the worst. Biz is a harsh criticism of the destruction of individuality and a fiction of a world in which the “I” is replaced by the “We”.

5-Aldous Huxley: Second of the Dark Quadrilogy

Aldous Huxley wrote mostly social, psychological, and philosophical writings. The general theme of his writings evolved from social and philosophical criticism to a mystical theme of self-discovery. An intellectual and orator open to learning and innovation, Huxley, unlike other writers, underwent an undeniable change both internally, intellectually, and literarily. For this reason, it is really difficult to identify him with a movement. In fact, his cult book Brave New World and The Island, which he wrote years later as its antithesis, reveal that this change cannot be defined by a single school or style.

Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Yevgeni Zamyatin's We, George Orwell's 1984, and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 are recognized as the best examples of dystopian novels. According to the writing order of the novels called the Black Quadrilogy, Brave New World is the second in the series. The main feature that distinguishes Huxley's dystopia from the others is that human nature is not in opposition and collision with the social structure as in other dystopias. On the contrary, human nature is a tool in the totalitarianization of the social order, albeit by predetermining the characteristics of human beings and even, so to speak, producing them with the desired characteristics.