Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope your week is going great. Otherwise, I hope that it will start looking up in the coming days. It is my fervent hope that it will usher in positive energy, blessings, healing, and forgiveness for everyone. As it is Tuesday, it is also time for a Top 5 Tuesday update. Top 5 Tuesday was originally created by Shanah @ the Bionic Bookworm but is now currently being hosted by Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads.

This week’s topic: Top 5 Books Set in the Future

I did skip last week’s prompt, unfortunately. I found it challenging to define what books are considered set in the present. HAHA. Instead of overthinking, I decided to not participate in the meantime. For this week, however, I have decided to join the fray once again by listing books set in the future. Here then comes the quandary. Is it the author’s future or our future? Whose perspective are we looking at? I guess I will let my selections elucidate this quandary. Before I meander further, here are books set in the “future” that I loved. Happy reading everyone!

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

Kicking off this list is a very popular title, not only amongst fans of science fiction but among devout readers in general. Originally published in 1968, Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a work of dystopian science fiction.  It was parts-scientific, parts-dystopian, and parts-philosophical. It was a novel that explored a plethora of subjects and themes that remain seminal in the contemporary. Its exploration and prognosis of the human condition were scintillating, especially with the exponential rise of technology and how it has and is adversely affecting mankind. The novel painted a haunting albeit realistic picture of a future Earth. Its philosophical facet sets it apart from typical science fiction and makes it stand out. The story was originally set in 1992 (2021 in later editions), hence, it represented the author’s future, and what I meant when future, when undefined, can cover a lot of time periods depending on whose perspective we’re looking at. Nevertheless, the novel has demonstrated Dick’s innovativeness and imagination. The complexity of his prose and the depth of his analysis proved that he was ahead of his peers. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is, without a doubt, a tremendous product of the science fiction genre, one that will withstand the tests of time and one that every fan of science fiction must read.

Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell

Obviously, George Orwell’s very popular work, Nineteen Eighty-Four falls in the same category as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Originally published in 1948, Nineteen Eighty-Four depicts a civilization that is on the cusp of collapse. After years of civil unrest, wars, and revolutions, the civilization of 1984 is a far cry from the world that we once knew. It was a world hanging on a tiny thread. The once free world was now dominated by three totalitarian super-states which restricted the liberty once experienced by everyone. It was a grim diagnosis of the future, of Orwell’s future. But with the future of the world hanging in balance, it is a vision that is slowly starting to materialize. The passage of time has not dimmed the book’s luster. It is, without a doubt, a towering literary achievement that has contributed a score of words that has become part of our vocabulary – thought police, doublethink, newspeak, thoughtcrime to name a few. However, what lingers are the realities that Orwell captured in his final major literary work. With the world slowly descending into chaos, the novel’s prophecy is just lurking over the horizon. Even with the passage of time, the realities of politics and society vividly painted and explored by Orwell in the narrative remain and will remain seminal as it echoes on a universal scale.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

If these books are any indicator, the future is going to be bleak. Not unless we prevent it from turning into a dystopian one. Anyway, another definitive work of dystopian literature is Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Like the first two books in this list, the book has been listed as one of the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, and for good reasons. However, unlike the first two books, the period was never defined by Atwood. However, we know that it is in the future for sovereignty is no longer recognized by many a denizen. Set in the fictional Republic of Gilead, The Handmaid’s Tale is about Offred, the handmaid of the Commander, and his wife, Serena. In Atwood’s grim picture of the future, regular women have lost their ability to bear children, hence, the birth of Handmaids. The Handmaids are duty-bound to bear children for their masters. However, the Handmaid’s actions are limited – they cannot roam around freely and they are not allowed to fall in love. Severe punishments are meted out to violators. Such is the bleak fate of Offred and her fellow Handmaids. It was a portrait of the future that we can only hope will never materialize.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series is, without a doubt, one of the most beloved literary series out there. With over 10 million copies sold, it is also one of the most popular and bestselling books of all time. Honestly, it was a book I was apprehensive to read because I found the title a little whimsical. Moreover, I am not a fan of science fiction, which is kind of ironic since most of the books on this list are works of this genre. Anyway, the book being one of the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die did convince me to give the book a try. I am glad I did. The novel is about the adventures, rather misadventures, of Arthur Dent. His life was normal until his alien friend, Ford Prefect arrived out of the blue, warning him of the end of the world. They were able to escape the destruction but they were thrown into a whirlpool of misadventures. After being tortured by a Vogon’s poetry, they were thrown into space where they were rescued by Zaphod Beeblebrox’s ship, the Heart of Gold. Zaphod is Ford’s half-cousin and is the President of the Galaxy and is assisted by his motley crew. Adams gave me more than enough fuel to keep up with the rest of the series. The interesting storyline, the colorful and peculiar characters, and the witty one-liners all added up to a compelling, humorous, and riveting narrative that is simply out of this world.

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

So here is another deviation (slight) from this week’s theme. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Anthony Doerr’s latest novel Cloud Cuckoo Land had several strands and several timelines. Some of these strands were set in the past, some in the present, and some in the future. But the heart of the story was children. In his third novel, Doerr challenged the archetypes of storytelling. Parts-historical fiction, parts-literary fiction, parts-scientific fiction, Cloud Cuckoo Land is a complex and astounding work of contemporary fiction. The connections between the stories of the book’s main characters were not always well-defined but it is laudable for its sheer ambition and its grandeur. The myriad and the extent of the subjects it has covered, accented by dramatic battles, made for a breathtaking literary landscape. Profound messages resonated all throughout the story. But amidst the burgeoning struggles of civilizations, the novel beaconed with hopeful messages. Literature, the novel’s primary device, is constantly threatened by disintegration but its spirit remains alive in those who treasure them and build memories around them. Get past the novel’s daunting heft and a lush story will unravel. Doerr’s storytelling is always breathtaking and Cloud Cuckoo Land was an engaging and immersive albeit labyrinthine work of literature.