It takes a really great show to get me hooked like Wayward Pines did. Just when you think that life in this strange town is settling into normalcy the very last shot of the final episode reveals some deeply disturbing occurrences. I was completely sucked into this series the entire time and I ran out and bought all the novels by Blake Crouch the day after the series finale. Even after I finished those amazing reads, though, I found myself wanting more stories about futuristic, sci-fi, and dystopian communities just to keep me satisfied. I went on a hunt for new books in the same twisted vein as Wayward Pines but I found myself going back to classic books and short stories that fit the small town/city/community-with-disturbing-secrets vibe.
So while we wait for Wayward Pines Season 2 to premiere on May 25 on Fox at 9 p.m. EST, here are five books to hopefully keep you totally enthralled and scared to the bone:
The Lottery, Shirley Jackson (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1949)
This classic short story about a small New England town was quite the controversial piece when it first published in The New Yorker in 1948. Every year the residents of this small town follow a rite where they draw slips of paper until one of them is chosen to be stoned to death.
The Heart Goes Last, Margaret Atwood (Penguin Random House, 2015)
Atwood, the brilliant writer behind The Handmaid’s Tale and Blind Assassin brings us the town of Consilience during an economic and social collapse. The unfortunate circumstance of losing their jobs has forced the two main characters Stan and Charmaine to live in their car and they are constantly under attack from roving street gangs. Along comes the Positron Project, where everyone gets a job and a house to live in for six months out of the year – on alternating months residents must leave their homes and act as inmates in the Positron prison system. If you want to know more before taking on this read, check out our full review here.
‘Salem’s Lot, Steven King (Anchor Books, 1975)
Imagine that you’ve returned to the town you grew up in only to realize that everyone was turning into vampires. That’s exactly what happens to Ben Mears when he comes back to Jerusalem’s Lot, Maine (or ‘Salem’s lot) for short. Pair that with a creepy abandoned home filled with bad childhood memories and you’re good to go.
This is a bizarre and brilliant take on modern culture, the beauty-obsessed, junk food and TV. A woman known only as A lives in an unnamed American city with her roommate B and boyfriend C. A’s boyfriend wants her to go on a game show with her and A becomes obsessed with Kandy Kakes, a junk food. Add in neighbors who mysteriously go missing, a food-obsessed cult and a local celebrity who buys out all the veal in the local Wally Supermarket and you’re on a weird yet thought-provoking ride from start to finish.
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley (Harper Perennial, 2006)
This classic cautionary dystopian tale takes place in the World State nearly 600 years into the future where happiness comes from mass-produced goods, and a designer drug called Soma. The first scene opens at a lab where human beings are created and conditioned according to society’s strict caste system. They are reprogrammed to dislike books and flowers, among other things. Bernard Max is the central character who is an Alpha-Plus (high caste) psychologist who is the only discontent human being in the World State.