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Black Mirror

6 Books to Read If 'Black Mirror' Has Got You Down

Out with dystopia, in with utopia!

Black Mirror is really very good, I agree. It’s like The Twilight Zone but specifically about technology. Whether it’s the one with Jon Hamm that has the wild ending or the one with Bryce Dallas Howard that has the wild ending or the one with Daniel Kaluuya that has the wild ending, the show is good. But you knew that because you’ve already binge-watched all four seasons—haven’t you?

 

Or maybe you’re like me and stopped watching when it became unbearably depressing. I’m all about taking a close look at the dangers of technology, but I already find Instagram and reddit depressing enough. It feels more and more, just in terms of our attachment to our phones, like we live in an actual dystopia. We don’t need Charlie Brooker and co. to give us more of what we already see in our daily lives. Luckily, though, there are plenty of books that give us something to aim for rather than steer away from. Here are six notable books (with descriptions courtesy of Goodreads) about utopia because, please, just give us an ounce of optimism.

 

1. Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy

 

Looking Backward

Image Via Amazon

 

Edward Bellamy's classic look at the future has been translated into over twenty languages and is the most widely read novel of its time. A young Boston gentleman is mysteriously transported from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century -- from a world of war and want to one of peace and plenty. This brilliant vision became the blueprint of utopia that stimulated some of the greatest thinkers of our age.

 

2. Walkaway: A Novel by Cory Doctorow

 

Walkaway

Image Via Amazon

 

Hubert Vernon Rudolph Clayton Irving Wilson Alva Anton Jeff Harley Timothy Curtis Cleveland Cecil Ollie Edmund Eli Wiley Marvin Ellis Espinoza—known to his friends as Hubert, Etc—was too old to be at that Communist party.

 

But after watching the breakdown of modern society, he really has no where left to be—except amongst the dregs of disaffected youth who party all night and heap scorn on the sheep they see on the morning commute. After falling in with Natalie, an ultra-rich heiress trying to escape the clutches of her repressive father, the two decide to give up fully on formal society—and walk away.

 

After all, now that anyone can design and print the basic necessities of life—food, clothing, shelter—from a computer, there seems to be little reason to toil within the system.

 

3. The Serene Invasion by Eric Brown

 

serene

Image Via Amazon

 

It's 2025 and the world is riven by war, terrorist attacks, poverty and increasingly desperate demands for water, oil, and natural resources. The West and China confront each other over an inseperable ideological divide, each desperate to sustain their future.

 

And then the Serene arrive, enigmatic aliens form Delta Pavonis V, and nothing will ever be the same again.

 

The Serene bring peace to an ailing world, an end to poverty and violence -- but not everyone supports the seemingly benign invasion.

 

There are forces out there who wish to return to the bad old days, and will stop at nothing to oppose the Serene.

 

4. Island by Aldous Huxley

 

In Island, his last novel, Huxley transports us to a Pacific island where, for 120 years, an ideal society has flourished. Inevitably, this island of bliss attracts the envy and enmity of the surrounding world. A conspiracy is underway to take over Pala, and events begin to move when an agent of the conspirators, a newspaperman named Faranby, is shipwrecked there. What Faranby doesn't expect is how his time with the people of Pala will revolutionize all his values and—to his amazement—give him hope.

 

5. Childhood’s End by Archur C. Clarke

 

Childhood's End

Image Via Amazon

 

Without warning, giant silver ships from deep space appear in the skies above every major city on Earth. Manned by the Overlords, in fifty years, they eliminate ignorance, disease, and poverty. Then this golden age ends--and then the age of Mankind begins....

 

6. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

 

The Dispossessed

 

 

Shevek, a brilliant physicist, decides to take action. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have isolated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe. To do this dangerous task will mean giving up his family and possibly his life--Shevek must make the unprecedented journey to the utopian mother planet, Urras, to challenge the complex structures of life and living, and ignite the fires of change.

 

Feature Image Via Netflix