Dystopian Horror

DCRBannerWe’re still in the Coffin Hop tour for now, until the 31st, but I signed up for this other blog tour, Dystopia Reading Challenge 2013, and needed to get a post up. I thought it would be fun to share this reading challenege with my fellow Coffin Hoppers as well as to use it to open up a discussion on Dystopian Horror. Remember, every book I mention in this Coffin Hop tour goes into the ebook box two winners will get to choose from (details below).

Now, to Dystopian Horror. The genre boundary between Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic is vague. A dystopia can happen after an apocalyptic event, so the difference really is based on enough time for a new power or society to form that is repressing the main character. Trying to think of Dystopian novels, I mostly come up with Science Fiction and Fantasy stories, but not really Horror. Does Horror not work as well because a new power has already been formed, and thereby has stabilized what may have been a more horrific existence? Can you think of any other examples of Dystopian Horror? Comments count as entries to the contest.

I Am Legend
by Richard Matheson

Credit to Alex from our Facebook page for this suggestion. As part of this giveaway, I’ll include the ebook version I see on Amazon, but I enjoyed the audiobook version that includes other tales by Mr. Matheson. For those who don’t know, this book is very different from the movie with Will Smith and is highly recommended. It’s been awhile since I listened to it, so not much to say beside enjoying the main character’s efforts to survive and fight back in a world full of vampires.


the-machine-by-james-smytheThe Machine by James Smythe

The Machine is the first Dystopian title that came to my mind. It is Science Fiction, but also leans toward Horror (after all, it is a modern-day Frakenstein.)  The Machine, by James Smythe, has as its setting a world where climate change became so terrible that many coasts flooded and a massive war nearly decimated the population. The temperature is so hot that the main character has trouble getting her rebellious students to focus (more so than usual). These students and their control over the teachers, especially those who make outward threats against our main character, are like a new society. The power they hold is being the future of humanity, but all they are interested is sex, violence and jumping into the ocean. Her husband had PTSD and was part of an experimental treatment to remove all his bad memories and hopefully the part that made him violent with her. The Machine left him a shell of his former self, a vegetable, and his wife’s story in this book is to try again on her own, to horrific consequences. Definitely a Dystopian Horror that worked well. My full review.

Unfortunately, this title is not available from amazon.com as a Kindle version, so I’m swapping one of his that is, The Explorer, which is one of my top reads of 2012.

Odd Men Out by Matt Betts

I chuckle at this thought, adding Dystopian Horror to the list of genres Matt’s debut title can check off the list. I have a review to come on this, but some quick thoughts: Odd Men Out takes place in an America trying to recover after the Civil War was forced into a treaty and forming of a United Nations of America because of a zombie outbreak. The setting reminded me of Jake Bible’s, Dead Mech, but with more of a Steampunk than Science Fiction twist. It’s a story about survivors, which is kind of Post-Apocalyptic, but their fight is against a rebel faction trying to take over through terrorist acts. This reminded me of why I’m liking the TV show, Revolution, with a hint of Jurassic Park thrown in. The hint aspect makes this a very light Horror–I more thought circumstances were intriguing than scary. The POV scene switching takes you into the action immediately and by about 30% in I was hooked, putting aside the rest of my reading queue to follow his unlikely heroes. I hope the next book focuses more on the horror elements in the monsters he has introduced.

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse) by James S.A. Corey

This one starts out with something terrifying being unleashed in a space ship. Add to that a space where people live on asteroid belts, space stations, and Mars where none are too happy with the other. A third faction tries to start a war between Earth and Mars and our main characters have to unravel the mystery of the lone survivor in the above mentioned ship before the terrifying something causes widespread panic. Leviathan Wakes is top-notch Space Opera with a technical slant, Noir-Detective Mystery, and Horror which could threaten our efforts to colonize space. The character development is gradual, but effectively builds up to a conclusion that really matters. It’s a big read, but well worth the effort.

I have an interview with James S.A. Corey, that will hopefully find room into the November schedule of AISFP.


The Coffin Hop is an annual blog tour amoung indie horror authors and artists with over eighty sites offering fun content and giveaways. This year, they’re releasing an anthology by many of these authors, called Coffin Hop: Death by Drive-In, and proceeds will go to www.litworld.org. Every book title I mention until the end of the Coffin Hop Web Tour, on the 31st, will be available for two winners to choose from (one per winner; in ebook form; and US only, sorry). To enter, comment below, tweet a link back to a post with #AISFP, or share the post from our Facebook page.

Running tally of books to choose from:

Total Coffin Hop Posts so far:


SF Book Releases This Week: Oct. 29, 2013

AISFP 236 – Ronald Malfi and Kevin Lucia, Part One

Dystopian Horror

Top 3 Villains

Timothy C. Ward
Executive Producer

Timothy C. Ward has been podcasting since 2010, first as AudioTim, and now with AISFP. His first publication, Cornhusker: Demon Gene (A Short Story), is available on Kindle for $.99. He just turned in his novel to his editor, Joshua Essoe. Kaimerus is described as “Firefly crashes on Avatar and wakes up 28 Days Later.”

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Timothy C. Ward is a former Executive Producer for AISFP. His debut novel, Scavenger: Evolution, blends Dune with Alien in a thriller where sand divers uncover death and evolution within America's buried fortresses. Sign up to his author newsletter for updates on new releases.

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  1. Delirium by Oliver, Divergent by Roth, Partials by Wells, After: 19 Tales of Apocalypse and Dystopia by Datlow, Orleans by Smith,…

  2. Arguably Lord of the Flies by William Golding is dystopian horror, though not set in the future. It’s an hermetically sealed society with a force which dominates and subjugates. Animal Farm counts as dystopian horror, too. Again, not science fiction as such. The Trial by Kafka – dystopian society, the horror being the trial for an unnamed crime, which is very disturbing.

  3. Great post! Great samples of dystopian.
    I definitely think that horror lends itself to the dystopian genre but then I am biased since some of my WIPs are dystopian horrors.
    Lord of the Flies + the Hunger Games Trilogy + The Passage comes to my mind in this genre.

    – Great post Tim.
    Happy Hopping!
    – KimK

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