A week into the Trump Administration, dystopian books top charts

The BBC's Brian Wheeler reports that Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell's classic tale of a fake news editor at a popular British tabloid, has sold out only days into the new administration of President Donald Trump. (It's the #1 book at Amazon, with only used copies in stock; the company promises new Prime-shipped paperbacks in a week. The Blu-Ray of the John Hurt movie's sold out too.)

In the top five is It Can't Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis's classic cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy, which predicts the "chillingly realistic rise of a president who becomes a dictator to save the nation from welfare cheats, sex, crime, and a liberal press."

Also flying high is Aldous Huxley's 1935 novel Brave New World, which imagined a insidiously totalitarian future where prescription medications, relentless entertainment and consumerist excess make violent repression unnecessary, where "slaves ... do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude."

Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 sneaks back into the top 50, right behind Trump: The Art of the Deal, a ghostwritten autobiography rumored to have never been read by its ostensible author.

The most dystopian book in the bestseller lists, though, was not included in the BBC's roundup: The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck, by personal development consultant Mark Manson, who has cracked the art of standing out in the crowded self-help genre: "Fuck positivity. Let’s be honest, shit is fucked and we have to live with it."

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  1. jerwin says:



    ... As for my worst case nightmare scenario? Given the reshuffle on the National Security Council and the prominence of white supremacists and neo-nazis in this Administration I can't help wondering if the ground isn't being laid for a Reichstag Fire by way of something like Operation Northwoods. In which case, for me to continue to plan to travel to the United States in eight months time would be as unwise as it would have been to plan in February 1933 to travel to Germany in September of that year: it might be survivable, but it would nevertheless be hazardous.

    would prefer that Stross's nightmare scenarios not come true.

  2. I see that "The Handmaid's Tale" is at #25, though whether that's because of the new TV show or Mike "The Commander" Pence or both is not clear.

    One dystopian novel that really should be in there is Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America", which hits even closer to the mark than the others about what happens when a celebrity demagogue who shouts "America First" and his racist henchmen take the White House.

  3. What people need to reading is Animal Farm. Trump's wall is the same as Napoleon's grain silos and windmills. It's a ruse to keep people busy and distracted while he consolidates power.

  4. IMO, also add

    Alan Moore, V For Vendetta [1987-8]

    Read it, don't watch the film (at least not until you have finished)

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