Books

5 books to read if you loved Canada Reads contender Radicalized by Cory Doctorow

Finished reading the novella collection Radicalized and looking for your next book? Here are five Canadian options.
Cory Doctorow is the author of Radicalized. (CBC)

Radicalized by Cory Doctorow is a collection of sci-fi novellas that tackle subjects like digital rights, racism, police brutality and classism. Set in the not-too-distant future, the short stories are timely and eerie reflections of the world we live in today — and challenge us to think about ethics in the way technology is developed and implemented.  

Finished with Radicalized and looking for your next read? Here are five Canadian novels to check out.

American War by Omar El Akkad

Omar El Akkad's debut novel is American War. (Peter Power/CBC)

A second American civil war has broken out and Sarat Chestnut was born on the losing side. Raised primarily in a refugee camp in the south, Sarat is shaped by displacement and loss and becomes an instrument of war. Addressing themes of environmental collapse, social division and foreign interference, this novel follows the radicalization of a person. 

Like Doctorow's Radicalized, American War imagines a near-future America where people carry out politically-motivated acts of violence, and looks at some of the reasons behind their extreme actions.

American War was defended by Tahmoh Penikett on Canada Reads 2018. 

Cherie Dimaline on her Canad Reads contender "The Marrow Thieves." (Originally aired Oct 2, 2017) 10:06

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

Cherie Dimaline is the author of the YA novel The Marrow Thieves. (CBC)

​In the dystopian world of Cherie Dimaline's award-winning The Marrow Thieves, climate change has ravaged the Earth and a continent-wide hunt and slaughter of Indigenous people is underway. Wanted for their bone marrow, which contains the lost ability to dream, a group of Indigenous people seek refuge in the old lands. 

Much like Radicalized, The Marrow Thieves takes its cues from historical and present-day events. Both books feature a resilient found-family struggling for control of their collective destinies.    

The Marrow Thieves, won the Governor General's Literary Award for children's text in 2017 and was defended by Jully Black on Canada Reads 2018.

Elan Mastai talks about his novel "All Our Wrong Todays", which is already optioned for the movies. 2:52

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

Elan Mastai is the author of the sci-fi novel All Our Wrong Todays. (David Leyes, Doubleday Canada)

Screenwriter and author Elan Mastai has a knack for humorous storytelling and witty prose, skills he puts to good use with his debut novel All Our Wrong Todays. It's 2016 and, in Tom Barren's world, technology has solved all of humanity's problems — there's no war, no poverty, no under-ripe avocados. Unfortunately, Tom isn't happy. He's lost the girl of his dreams. And what do you do when you're heartbroken and have a time machine? Something stupid. What happens next is a funny and bittersweet adventure. 

Doctorow and Mastai use humour and suspense to tell intriguing stories centred around developing and using technology ethically. Radicalized and All Our Wrong Todays ask us to consider how much of a dystopia we already live in.  

The worlds created by Homer, Kurt Vonnegut, and Michael Crichton were a refuge for young Nalo Hopkinson. The science fiction author shares her love for the genre and talks about the ways she's fighting to keep it growing. 14:20

Tarry This Night by Kristyn Dunnion

Kristyn Dunnion's book Tarry This Night is a dystopian novel in which a new civil war has broken out in the U.S. (Liz Marshall/Arsenal Pulp Press)

As civil war brews above ground in the U.S., a dangerous cult led by a man named Father Ernst lurks below. Tarry This Night follows the trials of Ruth who spends her life trapped in an underground bunker with a group known as the Family and facing the terrifying possibility of becoming Father Ernst's next wife. Themes of misogyny, religious extremism and fear radiate throughout this novel.

Radicalized and Tarry This Night create worlds where bunker-dwelling doomsday preppers are plagued with food shortages and inter-community warfare. The books both look at what can happen when people become physically isolated and social bonds begin to deteriorate. 

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

Nalo Hopkinson is the author of Brown Girl in the Ring. (Courtesy of Nalo Hopkinson/Grand Central Publishing)

Nalo Hopkinson's Brown Girl in the Ring is set in 2049 Toronto, after the city has experienced an economic collapse and becomes overrun by poverty and violence. Hopkinson's debut novel is a tale filled with magic, mystery and folklore and an unforgettable black protagonist.

Similar to Doctorow's collection, Brown Girl in the Ring explores themes of economic inequality in a world where the wealthy benefit at the expense of the have-nots.

Brown Girl in the Ring was a Canada Reads 2008 contender, when it was defended by radio host Jemini.

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