The Murders In The Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe

rue morgue

“The Murders In The Rue Morgue” by Edgar Allan Poe (1841) is thought to be the first modern detective story. (Oedipus is sometimes considered the first one on record.)

For me there is little interesting about this story, except for its influence on the crime genre. That in itself makes it worth reading. As I read, I tried to put myself in the mid of a mid-nineteenth century reader. Unlike us, these readers were not bombarded daily by one nasty crime after another. We’re now at a point where it’s necessary for your mental health and happiness to limit exposure to your newsfeed, but “The Murders In The Rue Morgue” was written long before the notion of ‘serial killer’ existed. I imagine this story was gripping. Continue reading “The Murders In The Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe”

What is a detective story?

The Mystery of the Fire Dragon detective story

A detective story is a type of mystery told through the eyes of law enforcers. Crime stories, in contrast, are often told through the eyes of the criminal. An example of a crime story is The Sopranos.

Detective stories relate the solving of a crime, usually one or more murders, by a main character who may or may not be a professional investigator. This large, popular genre has many subgenres, reflecting differences in tone, character. It always contains criminal and detective settings.

Though a typical audience probably doesn’t have a firm idea of the differences, from a writer’s point of view detective, crime and thriller are three very different forms and structures. Detective stories are often marketed as mysteries, perhaps with mystery in the title.

Detective stories are super popular. The detective story, specifically the police procedural, is far more popular than crime, worldwide. Continue reading “What is a detective story?”

In The Middle Of The Night by Robert Cormier

In The Middle Of The Night is a young adult horror novel by American author Robert Cormier. Written in the mid 1990s, this was one of his later works.

The cover reads like the poster for a horror film and gives us a horror tagline: “The sin of the father will be visited upon the son.”

in the middle of the night

Although Goodreads reminds me I read (and reviewed!) this book back in 2013, I have zero recollection of ever picking it up. This probably says more about my memory than about the book, though I do have strong memories of some of Cormier’s other work, particularly Fade, which I read as a teenager and left a strong impression.

I’m reading In The Middle Of The Night again making read-along notes as I go, hoping to learn what I can about horror and suspense from a master of the form. Continue reading “In The Middle Of The Night by Robert Cormier”

Westerns, Anti-Westerns and Neo-Westerns

Western bar scene

What Is A Western?

  • The Western is the national myth of the United States (just as the King Arthur story is the national myth of England).
  • The Western is the last of the great creation myths, because the American West was the last liveable frontier on earth.
  • This story form has been written and rewritten thousands of times. So it has a highly metaphorical symbol web.
  • Westerns and Science Fiction are the most metaphorical/symbolic genres.
  • The Western is the story of millions of individuals journeying west, taming the wilderness and building a home. They are led by a lone-warrior hero who can defeat the barbarians and make it safe for the pioneers to form a village.
  • Like Moses, this warrior can lead his people to the Promised Land but not enter it himself. He is doomed to remain unmarried and alone, forever traveling the wilderness until he and it are gone.
  • While classic Westerns documented the struggle for resources — water, livestock, gold — they were highly colored by nostalgia and enjoyed the bliss of ignorance re: Earth not actually coming with a bottomless refill of natural resources.

Continue reading “Westerns, Anti-Westerns and Neo-Westerns”

A Brief History Of Science Fiction

Along with fantasy, horrors and Westerns, science fiction is one of the highly metaphorical categories of story.

SCIENCE FICTION A BRIEF HISTORY

WHAT IS SCIENCE FICTION?

THE UNIVERSAL EPIC

Science Fiction is about human evolution on the grandest scale, literally the universal epic.

Science fiction stories often use the myth form, not only because myth is about the journey but also because myth is the story form that explores the most fundamental human distinctions. What Is Meant By Mythic Structure?

Science fiction is the biggest of all genres, as huge as the universe and beyond. That’s why it’s so notoriously difficult to write well. It has a broad, loose structure that covers vast scales of space and time.

Science fiction is the most creative genre, because you can take nothing for granted. The writer must literally create everything, including the space-time rules by which human life itself operates.

THE MODERN PROPHECY

Howard Suber points out that science fiction is the modern ‘prophecy’ story, which has been popular forever.

As is true for any prophecy, one must understand not only the specifics of what is predicted but also the yearnings and fears they express.

— Suber

THE FICTION OF IDEAS

Ray Bradbury broadly defines science fiction as ‘the fiction of ideas’. He also thinks science fiction as a genre is not taken seriously enough.

Science fiction is the fiction of ideas. […] Science fiction is any idea that occurs in the head and doesn’t exist yet, but soon will, and will change everything for everybody, and nothing will ever be the same again. As soon as you have an idea that changes some small part of the world you are writing science fiction. It is always the art of the possible, never the impossible. […] The mainstream hasn’t been paying attention to all the changes in our culture during the last fifty years. The major ideas of our time—developments in medicine, the importance of space exploration to advance our species—have been neglected. The critics are generally wrong, or they’re fifteen, twenty years late. It’s a great shame. They miss out on a lot. Why the fiction of ideas should be so neglected is beyond me. I can’t explain it, except in terms of intellectual snobbery. […] I often use the metaphor of Perseus and the head of Medusa when I speak of science fiction. Instead of looking into the face of truth, you look over your shoulder into the bronze surface of a reflecting shield. Then you reach back with your sword and cut off the head of Medusa. Science fiction pretends to look into the future but it’s really looking at a reflection of what is already in front of us. So you have a ricochet vision, a ricochet that enables you to have fun with it, instead of being self-conscious and superintellectual.

— Ray Bradbury

FEATURES OF SCIENCE FICTION

A typical science fiction film has a form as predictable as a Western, and is made up of elements which are as classic as the saloon brawl, the blonde schoolteacher from the East, and the gun duel on the deserted main street.

STORYWORLD

Science fiction is defined more by setting details than by other story elements.

Place

Sci Fi is often set on other planets, in outer space, or on a future version of Earth. But these settings are not limited to sci-fi. In war films, also, the setting takes place on ‘a front’ — in sci fi and Westerns it takes place on ‘a frontier’. Dramatically, these are equivalent places. At the front/frontier, the organised forces of society are weak, get in the way, or trap the hero.

Technology is a major component of the setting.

Time

Sci Fi requires an extrapolated or theoretical future science in order to fit the genre.

SCIENCE FICTION AND GENRE

GENRE BLENDS

As long as there is science, technology and a future/alternative history, the conventions of almost any other genre may be blended, including comedy, action-adventure and mystery.

HARD VS SOFT SCIENCE FICTION

An ongoing debate in the science fiction community is about the merits of “hard” vs “soft” science fiction. And the role of gender is significant here. 

Hard science fiction tends to be a boys’ club, while soft science fiction can be seen as more accommodating to female writers. There is a perceived hierarchy of merit operating in these classifications as well: “hard” sounds masculine and virile, while “soft” connotes a weaker, less potent, feminised form of the genre. This is why “hard” science fiction is more likely to be considered among the “best” science fiction, and why the “soft” science fiction that more women tend to write doesn’t often make the cut.The Digital Reader explains that SF written by women is more likely to be called fantasy:

In 2013, the judges of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Britain’s most prestigious science fiction prize, disqualified a number of submitted books on the basis that they were not “technically” science fiction. They were deemed by the judges to be fantasy – a genre that does not require the realism of science – which has twice as many female authors compared to science fiction. As Damien Walters has observed, women’s writing is “dismissed as fantasy, while the fantasies of men are granted some higher status as science fiction”.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY

The major distinction between fantasy and science fiction is, simply, that science fiction uses one, or a very, very few new postulates, and develops the rigidly consistent logical consequences of these limited postulates. Fantasy makes its rules as it goes along . . . The basic nature of fantasy is “The only rule is, make up a new rule any time you need one!” The basic rule of science fiction is “Set up a basic proposition—then develop its consistent, logical consequences.”

— John W. Campbell (1910–1971), American science fiction writer, editor of Analog Science Fiction and Fact

Many disagree with this distinction. That was written in the 1960s and speculative fiction has come a long way since then. Obviously this explanation has implications for the gender divide described above.

What is the horror genre for?

dracula horror poster

Raison d’être of Horror

Horripilation is the term for the hair on the back of the neck that stands up when we are seized by intense fear. Raising those follicles is the goal of all horror films.

— Howard Suber, The Power of Film

Horror, along with Westerns and the entire speculative fiction category is highly metaphorical.

Horror is about humans in decline, reduced to animals or machines by an attack of the inhuman.

— Carolyn Daniel

In all horror stories, the opponent wants to belong. They want to enter the human community but we won’t let them. Continue reading “What is the horror genre for?”

Notes On Tall Tales

campfire

The ‘Tall Tale’ is a legitimate genre of story – not necessarily an insult. Maybe it sounds like one because as kids we were told to stop telling ‘tall tales’, when in fact we just thought we were ’embellishing’ real-life happenings. (If you’ve always been a writer than I expect you might identify with that!)

Ted Stone Tall Tales
a Canadian example

 

The following is from author Amy Timberlake, explaining her journey toward publication:

In 1999, after about eight publishers passed on “The Dirty Cowboy,” I sent the manuscript to Charlesbridge Publishing, and a few months later found a kind, personal rejection from Harold Underdown. His letter mentioned a few things he liked, and a few things he didn’t like, and then he said, “pacing is all-important in tall tales.” Tall tale?

Now here’s an embarrassing admission: I never thought of my story as a tall tale. Exaggerated? Embellished? Fanciful? Well, yeah — that’s the way we told stories in my family. But a tall tale? Like Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox?

And then it seemed so obvious. I must’ve groaned then. Of course “The Dirty Cowboy” was a tall tale!

So I decided to take the rejection as a challenge.

– excerpted from this article.

Features Of Tall Tales

  • Tall tales are a classic form in Australia. If you travel in the outback, you’re likely to come across an old man who is particularly good at telling yarns. If he’s really good (and it’s often a ‘he’), he’ll have you believing him right up until the end, when he’s ‘gotcha’.
  • For an example of such a tale, listen to a master. This bloke (‘Bongo’) rang into an Australian radio station cracking on his story is true. If it’s true, I’ll eat every single one of my hats. Go to episode 404 of Mysterious Universe and, unless you want to hear all about sleep paralysis and trolls sitting on chests (which is also fascinating), you can skip straight to Bongo’s yarn at 51:25. Strange things happen in the Outback.
  • A type of tall tale is the ‘shaggy-dog story’. In its original sense, a shaggy dog story is an extremely long-winded anecdote characterised by extensive narration of typically irrelevant incidents and terminated by an anticlimax or a pointless punchline. They are designed to entertain. They’re not famous for being elegant or realistic or psychologically insightful.
    • Shaggy Dog stories are also known in some Internet circles as ‘feghoots’. A feghoot is described as a short-short story (300 words on average, although 500-word examples exist), ending in a pun or a punchline that is pretty obviously the only reason for the story’s existence. The telling detail in a Feghoot is the groan emitted by the reader/listener when he hits the punchline. In essence, the feghoot is an Overly Pre-Prepared Gag in short story form.

      The Feghoot is named for the character Ferdinand Feghoot, created by Science Fiction author Reginald Bretnor using the pen name Grendel Briarton. Bretnor chronicled Feghoot’s adventures in the multi-year series “Through Time and Space with Ferdinand Feghoot!”, in which each instalment was a short-short that ended in a horrific pun.

      When it’s told by an oral storyteller it tends to be called a shaggy dog story. When a science fiction writer does it, like Isaac Asimov or Arthur C. Clarke, it tends to be called a Feghoot.

  • Mark Twain was a teller of tall tales.
  • Paul Bunyan told jokes about rural yokels and political heroics.
  • Gulliver’s Travels almost fits into the category.
  • The potboiler Western is a type of tall tale, full of braggadocio.
  • The tall tale seems to be a particularly masculine form. They are competitive — who can tell the best one? Tellers participate in ‘capping’ contests in which someone tells a tall tale, and others join in to make it even better — a kind of narrative exchange. The aim is to make the tales increasingly outlandish. Who can get away with the greatest exaggeration? The ‘getting away with’ is as important as the exaggeration itself. The Australian tall tale serves to reinforce ‘mateship’ (to reaffirm the solidarity of a group).
  • In a sense, tall tales are satiric. What do they satirise? Often themselves, or the art of serious storytelling. They make fun of people who would believe everything they hear. Tall tales are not meant to be believed.
  • But when it comes to tall tales, it’s not about the story content but all in the story’s telling. The sound of the voice is key. The storyteller speaks in the local vernacular (of men, particularly white men). Names are familiar to the audience. Tall tales require not a reader but a hearer. In this way, a tall tale is a type of exchange. The speaker’s face is also important. He might wink or show mock surprise or make an expression to convey that what he is saying is not true.
  • The main requirement of a tall tale is exaggeration: There are unbelievable creatures, huge fish, large distances, huge volumes. But hyperbole alone does not mean ‘tallness’. In a tall tale, the listener must both accept and refute. The listener has to know enough of the environment in which the tale is told to realise this can’t be true. The line between fact and fiction is hazy, and the humour derives from pushing that boundary. Which parts of this story are true, and which aren’t?
  • Tall tales have their origins in folk tales. The tall tale is a Eurasian form of story, and has its roots in The Canterbury Tales and similar.
  • In Australia, the celebration of the liar is a recurrent motif. Someone who starts rumours is called a ‘Tom Collins’. Tom Collins was the pseudonym of Joseph Furphy. A ‘furphy’ is a lie or a made up story. See also illywhacker.
  • But it’s worth making a distinction between ‘fictive’ and ‘fictitious’. In a fictive tale the listener knows what he’s hearing is not true. Not so in a fictitious tale, in which he’s genuinely duped.
  • What’s the point of a tale which is obviously a lie? Lies should not be read as simply an intent to deceive but as a strategy designed to invite closer attention. In this way, a tall tale can subvert.
  • A shaggy dog tale is similar to a tall tale. The aim is to keep the listener interested, then end abruptly with no real climax. The listener will be disappointed and the teller will take delight in having strung them along.

Tall Tales In Picturebooks

tall-tales

Dr Seuss loved Tall Tales. See And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street.

Tall Tales In The Classroom

Tall tales are very fun to write and free the imagination to perhaps go on to write something a little less fanciful later.

I once had a Year 8 relief teacher called Mrs Bray [insert unfortunate donkey pun], who actually did a much better job of teaching than my regular teacher, who really wanted to be a young adult novelist (and later achieved publication). Despite the fact Mrs Bray got lots of grief for not being ‘our proper teacher’ I secretly regretted that she didn’t stay on full-time.

She had us write a tall story once, and for some reason, I have kept it. Here it is:

TALL TALE by me, aged 10 or 11.

I began on a Tuesday, because it wasn’t raining. Since I hadn’t enough money to go anywhere I thought I’d dig a hole to China. It took me about half an hour and when I got there, a whole lot of Chinese people ran up to me and attacked me with chopsticks. [This little bit of xenophobia earned me two ticks in the margin.] I flipped over them and ran to the Space Centre where I jumped in a rocket and flew to the moon. The brakes didn’t work and I was about to crash. It didn’t matter because the cheese was soft. I ate some, then flew back to earth. I landed in a desert and to get back home I had to cross water. I got some helium which managed to survive the crash and inflated a camels [sic] humps. I held on to its legs and told it to float to New Zealand or else I’d chew its toenails off. He told me he had no control over which way the wind blew and we ended up on the clouds. They were bouncy, like a trampoline. I slid down the north pole and landed on top of an igloo. The Eskimos [see above] were nice people [redeemed] who invited me in for tea. We had some Maggi soup. [‘soup’ made out of powder and boiling water, for the unlucky uninitiated] Then I swum [sic] to New Zealand. By then it was dark and I couldn’t see where I was going, but finally got home where Mum sent me to bed. But a monster peeked in the window and I hit him over the head with my bed. We had monster sandwiches for weeks afterward.

THE END

Great tall story!! [in red teacher biro]

It’s rather disturbing how well I managed to fill that brief.

Here are 30 other ideas for teaching writing, from National Writing Project

What Is Dystopia?

dystopias in fiction

According to a large portion of the world’s population, humankind is already living in a dystopia.

The fun part about living right now is we get to see how it ends.

@meganamram

Dystopia Instagram

Dystopia and The Bible

Ever since God punished Adam, Eve and the serpent for eating from that tree we have been banished from Paradise. Compared to Paradise, this toiling, this painful childbirth, these thistles and weeds growing up through our crops are considered part of this Earthly dystopia — a temporary punishment before taking up residence in Paradise once more in the after life.

If not taken literally by so many today, Earth as a dystopian setting was certainly more literal for earlier peoples from the major religious traditions.

Although dystopia seems to be the opposite of idyll, it has in fact the same purpose: to conserve the children–as well as adults–in an innocent, unchanging state, comfortably freed from memories, emotions, affections, responsibilities–and from natural death. Breaking away from a safe and secluded dystopian society, children break out into linearity.

— Maria Nikolajeva, From Mythic to Linear: Time in children’s literature

Nikolajeva goes on to explain that quite a few authors depict a reverse process, and offers A Cry from the Jungle by Norwegian author Tormod Haugen as an example of an ‘extremely complicated and equivocal novel.’

Features Of Dystopian Fiction

Characters in a dystopian plot start from a position of slavery.

If the land, people, and technology are out of balance, everyone is out for himself, each is reduced to an animal clawing for scarce resources or a cog working for the greater good of a machine. This is a world of slavery and, taken to its extreme, a dystopia, or hell on earth.

In dystopian novels, the protagonist usually rebels against the status quo by exposing its flaws, escaping the world entirely, attempting to take it over, or initiating a new set of rules.

Dystopian novels become difficult to classify because they often take place after a large societal restructuring, usually because of a global event. In this way they might seem post-apocalyptic, but when the conflict of a novel focuses on the oppression of a government or set of ideas, rather than the direct consequences of a wide-spread tragedy, it is dystopian.

Dystopian novels often focus on societies and cultures that appear stable and well established, whereas post-apocalyptic cultures are more imbalanced or volatile.

A Brief History Of Dystopia

The first public usage of the word ‘dystopia’ goes all the way back to John Stuart Mill in 1868. In a speech to the House of Commons, Mill said, “It is, perhaps, too complimentary to call them Utopians, they ought rather to be called dys-topians, or caco-topians” (‘cacotopia’ was relegated to the Wastepaper Basket of History). But it wasn’t until about 50 years afterward, when authors made the word their own, that the idea of dystopia began to actually take root in the public consciousness.

Electric Literature

The Dystopia and Young Readers

According to a new report, Australian kids are feeling pessimistic about their own futures, and this goes against all evidence. Australian kids should be feeling pretty good about the future, according to one expert.

Key points from the radio interview:

  • Youth unemployment has been higher in the past, and is reflecting that it takes time to find their way into the job market, as unemployment goes down as job seekers get older. This is reflected in other countries. Southern European unemployment rates for youth (especially Southern Italy and Spain) is much more bleak.
  • Why are young Australian people pessimistic? It is thought that young Australians have unrealistic expectations about what to expect from a first job. In Brazil, China and countries like that have youth with lower expectations and are therefore more optimistic.
  • Older people need to tell young people what their own paths to success have been.
  • The media also has a part to play. We’ve seen processing plants closing down, but we don’t see the steady flow of new job opportunities coming through the news. The small trickle more than offsets the big closures. (Audiences are after bad news, and the media cater to that.)
  • The number of law graduates each year far exceeds the number of places available. Law is ‘the new arts degree’. It’s true that law graduates are still useful in the workplace even if they are not practising law, but are young law students given a realistic idea about what percentage of graduates will find jobs as lawyers? Law graduates are not expensive to produce for universities. It’s book learning so they are cheap to train. Universities are following a good economic pattern, but at what cost for the 18 year olds enrolling in these degrees, which are quite expensive for them? (Or perhaps law students are more expensive to train than we assume.)
  • IT students are equally pessimistic as law students. Private providers are competing with the universities in IT, moving into computer science, which is quite distinct from being able to program. The ability to successfully adapt different technologies in work environments, they are the crucial skills. Just being able to code in a particular language isn’t much use. Australia is good at having the bright idea and being able to adapt the bright idea in a business context.
  • Where is the pessimism coming from? The negativity from politicians doesn’t help. Universities haven’t been very good at making their graduates work-ready.
  • We need to change the nature of internships and cadetships, which currently accept large numbers of graduates but at the end of that period only one in sixty (for example in finance) will be offered a job at the end of it. This turns the whole thing into a bit of a waste of time for the other 59. Internships need to go hand-in-hand with study. Companies need to work more closely with degree programs to prepare students for the workforce.

Where else might youth pessimism be coming from? Is it limited to ‘pessimism about work’ or pessimism about the environment, politics and society in general? Could youth pessimism also be to do with the stories that are popular for young people? Today’s young people have grown up in the Third Golden Age of Children’s Literature, and this is an age rife with dystopias. There have been so many dystopias in fiction that if you listen to what agents and publishers are looking for in the kidlit-o-sphere you’ll hear a lot of publishing professionals say they are sick to death of them and are looking for something completely different.

Here in Australia, parallel importing and the Hollywood trend of adapting best-selling YA books to film has changed the Australian reading landscape over the past 15 years to point where the top-selling books are mainly from America.

Insofar as best-selling books corresponds to library lending rates (which are very easy to find), here are Australia’s library lending stats for YA last year:

The most borrowed young adult fiction titles were:

1.       Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins (American/science fiction adventure)

2.       Divergent series by Veronica Roth (American/science fiction adventure)

3.       The Fault in our Stars by John Green (American/romance)

4.       The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (Australian/Holocaust)

5.       Looking for Alaska by John Green (American/romance)

6.       Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan (American/fantasy adventure)

7.       The Maze Runner by James Dashner (American/science fiction)

8.       Every Breath by Ellie Marney (Australian/thriller)

9.       An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (American/romance)

10.   Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare (American/fantasy adventure)

Ms McKerracher said: ‘Teen borrowers from Australian libraries were looking for a blend of escapism and realism. Gritty romances, fantasy and adventure were the main themes, with all but two of the list coming from American writers.’

Australia’s Favourite Library Books

Apocalyptic Fiction

An apocalyptic novel tells the story of the end of the world, which occurs during the timeline of the story. The novels Outbreak and World War Z, or the movie Contagion, are good examples. In almost all apocalyptic stories life is threatened on a global scale: disease, natural disaster, war, or alien invasion, for example. The characters facing an apocalypse must try to outlive, outlast, or outsmart the hazards of a crumbling world, which is made increasingly unlikely when the majority of the population has fallen victim. It is common for apocalyptic novels to classify as “genre,” because the survival conflict is at the forefront of the story, making apocalyptic stories more plot driven than character based.

Post-Apocalyptic

After the zombies or super flu or nuclear war, the characters left to deal with the consequences are in a post-apocalyptic story. There are numerous examples: Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, I Am Legend, and the recent Station Eleven, The Dog Stars, and The Dead Lands all tell stories about people navigating a new and hostile world. The central conflict for characters in a post-apocalyptic story is managing the new physical, social, and cultural landscape left behind by a recent disaster. There are often fewer people and less established societies in post-apocalyptic novels, so the central conflict in these stories surrounds characters who are often fighting for resources or searching for other survivors.

What Is Cli-fi?

It wasn’t until I’d got to the end of writing and illustrating Midnight Feast that this article appeared in The Guardian: Global Warming And The Rise Of Cli-Fi. I realised that what I’d written was a picturebook contribution to cli-fi.

  • a sub-genre of sci-fi in which the earth’s systems are ‘off-kilter’
  • sci-fi takes place in a dystopian future, whereas cli-fi is set in a dystopian present
  • Describes works which set out to warn readers of possible environmental nightmares to come
  • The best cli-fi novels allow us to be briefly but intensely frightened: climate chaos is closer, more immediate, hovering over our shoulder like that murderer wielding his knife.
  • Unlike sci-fi, cli-fi writing comes primarily from a place of warning rather than discovery.

See Also: So Hot Right Now: Has climate change created a new literary genre, from NPR

love in the time of global warming

 

What do you think would happen in a globally warmed globe? Do you envision a Cormac McCarthy sort of apocalypse with bands of humans turning evil? In fiction, this is pretty much a given. Could there be a brighter view?

Our own storybook app Midnight Feast is kind of cli-fi (if you like). Another storybook app which is more overtly about climate change is this oneJörgits is iPad-only.

Some people think there is still not enough cli-fi.

Related Links

Why Teens Find The End Of The World So Appealing from NPR

Why do literary novelists love dystopia? from Salon

The Dystopian Timeline to The Hunger Games [INFOGRAPHIC] via Goodreads

A flowchart which will help you decode dystopia from eBook Friendly

A LibraryThing list of YA Dystopia

Fear of a Feminist Dystopia by Laurie Penny

For a different setting altogether, see my post on utopias.