Friday, October 13, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Creepy Settings

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly book meme created by Lainey of GingerReadsLainey and hosted via Goodreads group by Samantha from Thoughts on Tomes. Each week brings a new twist on a literary topic and a whole host of book bloggers and booktubers take to the internet with their representations of what that means.

I've been out of town and things got a little hectic. We came home to some madness at the farm and both the kiddo and I managed to get sick. I'm still feeling under the weather, writing this under an afghan on the couch. may be Friday, but we're still going to go for a Top 5 Wednesday. Why not? I couldn't just let this week's topic slide by.

This Week's Topic:

Favorite Creepy Settings. (These don't have to be from horror books, but any setting from any book that gave you the heebie a good way.)

When I looked through my book list to find picks for this topic, I realized quickly that my list was going to likely be a bit different from the average this go round. I don't read a lot of thrillers or horror, so those dank and dark places just aren't as frequent. Instead, my creepy settings have a bit more modern feel to them. I'm turned on to dystopia and I find reads in this genre to be intriguing and sometimes applicable to our current politicosocial environment. So...that's easily reflected in my list. Still...I have some wicked awesome creepy settings that will definitely give you the uncomfortable in your skin feeling that still somehow just feels right.

love Margaret Atwood. She is an amazing author and an even more amazing person. I was lucky enough to hear her speak a few years back at an author's conference in Boise. She is brilliant and articulate while still having a very decent sense of humor. I snapped up The Heart Goes Last as soon as I was able and I was not disappointed.

Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving gangs. They desperately need to turn their situation around - and fast. The Positron Project in the town of Consilience seems to be the answer to their prayers. No one is unemployed and everyone gets a comfortable, clean house to live in...for six months out of the year. On alternating months, residence of Consilience must leave their homes and function as inmates in the Positron prison system. Once their month of service in the prison is completed, they can return to their "civilian" homes.

Both Positron and Consilience were creepy locations for me. The daunting and dangerous prison and the somewhat Stepford civilian town. It's an interesting backdrop for Atwood's story and the entire novel just proves over and over again that she has an amazing creativity when it comes to storytelling.

Library of Souls is the culmination of Riggs's fantastic trilogy. The bulk of the book takes place inside a time loop known as Devil's Acre. There are creepy and dangerous people, streets full of smoke, a mysterious fog, and a fortress guarded by a moat and a bridge-dwelling monster. The entire series is really packed full of ominous locations, but Devil's Acre takes the cake. 

This one is tricky to explain without wrecking some of the story...and I detest spoilers.'ll have to trust me when I tell you that this one will blow your mind and that what you originally feel is normal suddenly will morph into one of the most uncomfortable locations ever. Your heart will start pumping fast and you'll want to speed read just to see how it all turns out. But don't. Slow it down and take in the surroundings. They may be creepy, but they're brilliant. This is seriously one of the most amazing books I've ever read.

And now a couple of classics. The Handmaid's Tale has hit the big-time with the new Hulu series based on it's plot and it has become increasingly applicable as a harbinger of potential things to come if society does not remain vigilant. 

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now...

In this case, the whole of society is the creepy setting. There is nothing here that is normal. The Republic of Gilead is one dreadful thing around the corner after another. 

Let's end this with the most touted creepy setting of all. Orwell's 1984 is a true classic. And it was definitely crafted well before its time. The power of this narrative is beyond explanation and its relevance remains prominent throughout the decades. 

The year 1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell's prophetic, nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is timelier than ever. 1984 is still the great modern classic of "negative utopia" - a startlingly original and haunting novel that creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last four words. No one can deny the novel's hold on the imagination of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions - a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.

The blurb says it pretty powerfully, but the creep factor in this one I think stems from the fact that it is so innately possible. In this age of increasingly intelligent technology, Big Brother is already watching. Perhaps we just don't understand the length to which this observation and manipulation extends. Just contemplate the fact that ads for items you have viewed on Amazon over the last week suddenly appear in your Facebook feed. It's a little thing, but it's just a snapshot of how intrusive society has the capability to be.

What do you think? Do you get the same "creep" factor from these reads as I do?

1 comment:

  1. I had thought about including Devil's Acre, but I forgot what it was called, in my "Creepy Settings". I want to read 1984 and The Handmaid's Tale. I tried to get to 1984 this year, but it fell through, so I might put it on my TBR for next year.


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