Speculative Fiction & Dystopian Lit Recs for when the real world is messed up!

Ya know...I used to read dystopian scifi and speculative fiction and be all GAGGED about the possibilities and what ifs of our world resulting in chaos.

And now... here we are witnessing the very worst of humanity. Reality is far worse than our imaginations could have prepared us for and I cannot wrap my brain around how.

So for no real reason, here are some speculative fiction/dystopian lit recs that are somehow LESS effed up than the REAL world right now. 😢

Severance by Ling Ma

What if a plague sweeps NYC? (Been there, survived that.)

Candace Chen, a routine-loving millennial, is stuck in her Manhattan office job and dealing with the recent loss of her immigrant parents. Life is predictable: work, troubleshoot the teen Gemstone Bible, and watch movies in her boyfriend's basement.

When a plague sweeps through New York, Candace barely notices at first. Shen Fever empties the city, but she stays behind as part of a dwindling office crew, documenting the eerie emptiness as the anonymous NY Ghost blogger.

Candace knows she can't survive alone forever. Enter a group of survivors led by Bob, an IT tech with big promises and even bigger ambitions. They're headed to a place called the Facility to start anew, but Candace has a secret she fears Bob will exploit. Should she trust her rescuers or make a run for it?

Ling Ma's *Severance* is a quirky, heartfelt satire on modern life, family, and the routines that shape us. It's a funny and poignant story about finding connections that make life more than just survival.

The Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor

What if we ended nuclear weapons but changed the natural world as we know it?

Niger, West Africa, 2074.

In a world where technology is tricky and magic is mysterious, meet Ejii Ugabe. At nine, she witnessed her ruthless politician father’s death—not a great guy, but still, he was her dad. Now, at 15, Ejii has developed special powers from the Earth's strange new nature. She’s on a mission to find her father's killer. Is it for revenge or something more?

I’m the Desert Magician, and I’ve crafted this tale just for you. Dive in to discover Ejii's journey!

The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin

What if cities had souls? Would they be in pain? Would they seek retribution?

In the city that never sleeps, all is not well. Though New York City's avatars have temporarily thwarted the Woman in White's invasion, a new threat looms. A mayoral candidate, fueled by gentrification, xenophobia, and "law and order" rhetoric, may change New York from within. To stop him and the elusive Enemy backing him, the avatars must team up with other Great Cities worldwide.

N.K. Jemisin’s Great Cities Duology, beginning with The City We Became and concluding with The World We Make, is a brilliant work of speculative fiction by one of today's most important writers.

The Deep by River Solomon

What if one person was tasked to hold all of our traumatic memories? How could they withstand? What happens when they choose otherwise?

Yetu is the memory keeper for her underwater community, descendants of African slaves cast overboard. While her people enjoy a peaceful life, Yetu is burdened with their traumatic history. Overwhelmed, she escapes to the surface, uncovering a forgotten world. Through her journey, Yetu discovers surprising truths about her past and her people's future. To ensure their survival, they must reclaim their memories and embrace their true identity.

🫠 Which titles are you interested in reading as a temporary escape?

Helpless and Heartbroken,
~ Tuma

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