Spell check… dystonian or dystopian…

Spell checks are marvellous – like lots of people I am actually good at spelling – in spelling tests and quizzes I nearly always get everything right. It’s nothing to do with intelligence, it’s the way I was taught at school, reading addictively, writing every day of my life – using dictionaries before computers, being a teacher when I had to teach spelling…  However, when I’m writing, my thoughts fly faster than my fingers and I have certain words which I always misspell, eg weird/wierd, Joseph/Jospeh… There are also the ordinary typos, double letters or letters missed out, repeated words, nonsensical sentences… you know the sort of thing.

So spell checks are marvellous, but they do offer some wierd/weird alternatives, even to words spelt correctly. For example, dystopia – an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one – is not accepted and it keeps trying to replace it with dystonia –  a neurological movement disorder syndrome in which sustained or repetitive muscle contractions result in twisting and repetitive movements.

I cannot imagine what a dystonian novel would be – I guess about some poor soul suffering from the syndrome. Maybe a different writer than I am could write about someone who suffers from dystopia… I have the feeling it might be a sort of black comedy sketch, maybe of the Monty Python school of humour.

I came across a list of ‘the best’ twenty dystopian novels, and i was surprised at how many I had read, ten of them – and yet it is a genre I wouldn’t have picked out as being on my ‘reading list’… Maybe I’m a secret fan of dystopia!

  • The Time Machine (1895)  H.G. Wells
  • The Iron Heel (1908) Jack London
  • We (1921)  Yevgeny Zamyatin
  • Brave New World (1932)  Aldous Huxley
  • 1984 (1949)  George Orwell
  • Farenheit (1953) 451 Ray Bradbury
  • The Chrysalids (1955)  John Wyndham
  • A Clockwork Orange (1962) Anthony Burgess
  • The Drowned World (1962)  J.G. Ballard
  • Logan’s Run (1967) William F. Nolan & George Clayton Johnson
  • Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? (1968)  Philip K. Dick
  • The Running Man (1982)  Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
  • Neuromancer (1984)  William Gibson
  • The Handmaid’s Tale (1985)  Margaret Atwood
  • Oryx and Crake (2003)  Margaret Atwood
  • Uglies (2005)  Scott Westerfeld
  • The Road (2006)  Cormac McCarthy
  • The Hunger Games (2008)  Suzanne Collins
  • Wind Up Girl (2009)  Paolo Bacigalupi
  • Article 5 (2012)  Kristen Simmons

If you want to read more about the above novels, and links to obtaining them, here you are:




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