Category: Dystopia


One of King's best you may have missed...

The Long Walk

Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman)

This is your Final Warning.

Winning isn't everything ... it's the only thing.

On your mark ... get set ... Walk.

Walking - America's deadliest pastime.

Only one of them will survive...who will it be?

Whether you've been a die-hard Stephen King fan your whole life -- or think he's the most overrated hack this century's ever produced -- you must read The Long Walk, and here's why.

First published in 1979 under King's pseudonym, Richard Bachman (and written even earlier than that), this dystopian vision of future America is arguably one of King's best and most compulsive reads (I certainly think so). It's a simple, but chilling story of young men confronting the inescapable reality of imminent death -- their own. This is as unflinching a look at society's perpetual lust for blood sport as you're ever going to get. With reality TV everywhere we look these days, and the UFC a mainstream pastime, it's all too easy to imagine a Survivor where tribe members voted out don't go home, but are executed instead.

Here's the set-up: In future America, a military dictatorship is ruling the nation, headed up by a menacing figure known simply as The Major. Every year 100 young men are selected by lottery to participate in the celebrated national pastime -- The Long Walk. The rules are simple: walk at a speed of 4 miles/hr. If you fall below this speed you will draw a Warning. You get three Warnings. Your Final Warning will get you your "ticket" - and put you out of the race... permanently. You must continue to walk until all other Walkers have left the race.

Trust me, you will never feel the same about walking anywhere ever again for the rest of your life!

The Cryptkeeper


Debut promises to deliver on chilling apocalypse scenario

The Suicide Collectors (2008) New!

by Dave Oppegaard

Plot Summary (taken from Book Jacket):
The Despair has plagued the earth for five years. Most of the world’s population has inexplicably died by its own hand, and the few survivors struggle to remain alive. A mysterious, shadowy group called the Collectors has emerged, inevitably appearing to remove the bodies of the dead. But in the crumbling state of Florida, a man named Norman takes an unprecedented stand against the Collectors, propelling him on a journey across North America. It’s rumored a scientist in Seattle is working on a cure for the Despair, but in a world ruled by death, it won’t be easy to get there.


Beware the forest of hands and teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth (2009) New!

by Carrie Ryan

The Cryptkeeper says: I can't wait to read this one -- the premise sounds fantastic! Basically what you have is a society that's seven generations after the Return (an apocalyptic undead plague). We're used to books (and movies) that take place during the zombie attacks, but Ryan has decided to set her story a century later and describe the living conditions for the descendants of the original survivors.

In his review on Amazon author Scott Westerfield describes the situation as: "a village surrounded by one last vestige of industrial technology: a chain-link fence, beyond which is a vast forest full of shambling, eternally ravenous undead -- the forest of hands and teeth. No villager ever goes outside this fence, unless they want to die. (And given this bleak scenario, some do.) ....[the] world is bounded not only by the fence but by the archaic traditions... which are enforced by a religious order called the Sisterhood. Marriages, childbirth, death, every stage of life must be controlled to sustain the village's precarious existence...."

The Forest of Hands and Teeth tells the story of Mary, a young girl living in the village who dreams of a better life beyond the chain link fence, and is willing to risk everything, including her life, to get there.


Kill or be killed!

Let the games begin!

Are you a fan of dystopian books, where the future is bleak and infinitely dangerous and if you're gonna survive, you better check your morals at the door? With reality TV everywhere we look these days, and the UFC a mainstream pastime, it's easy to imagine a Survivor where tribe members voted out don't go home, but are executed instead. I figure society's perpetual bloodlust is never as deeply buried as we think. Fans of Stephen King's Bachman books The Long Walk and The Running Man, will not want to miss out on the following "deadly games" scenarios. By the way, these books are shelved as YA fiction, but trust me, these are not for the faint of heart, regardless of any age.

How do you hold on to your humanity, in an inhuman world?

Battle Royale

by Koushun Takami

Stephen King says: "Battle Royale is an insanely entertaining pulp riff that combines Survivor with World Wrestling Entertainment. Or maybe Royale is just insane."

Katherine on says: "Lord of the Flies meets The Most Dangerous Game meets the gruesome, bloody stylings of Quentin Tarantino... on acid who killed Stephen King and tossed his body into BTK's backyard."

***Now a cult classic that's built up a loyal following of fans, Battle Royale has since spawned a movie and a graphic novel series

Product Description:
Battle Royale, a high-octane thriller about senseless youth violence, is one of Japan's best-selling -- and most controversial -- novels. As part of a ruthless program by the totalitarian government, ninth-grade students are taken to a small isolated island with a map, food, and various weapons. Forced to wear special collars that explode when they break a rule, they must fight each other for three days until only one "winner" remains. The elimination contest becomes the ultimate in must-see reality television. A Japanese pulp classic available in English for the first time, Battle Royale is a potent allegory of what it means to be young and survive in today's dog-eat-dog world.

Hunger Games

by Suzanne Collins

The Cryptkeeper says:
Definitely inspired by Stephen King's The Long Walk, and Koushun Takami's Battle Royale, Collins is not inventing anything new here but is obviously comfortable trodding such familiar, dystopian territory and making it her own. This book does not disappoint! It's page-turning, nail-biting energy from start to finish. Book 1 in a projected trilogy. Look out for Book 2 coming in September -- Catching Fire.

Product Description:
Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

The Cryptkeeper

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