TTT: A Bleak Future LA in Books and Movies

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature from The Broke and the Bookish. This week we are talking about book worlds we don’t want to live in. Since I live in Los Angeles, I thought I’d focus on dystopian LA since it would be scary to see my home city take such a dark turn! It is fun to read about dystopian LA but I don’t want to live there just yet.

Books set in or around a futuristic or dystopian Los Angeles: 

legend marie lu1. Legend by Marie Lu – I’m reading the conclusion to this series now, and Lu’s urban LA is plague ravaged and transformed by violence and global warming. This series is scary because it’s a plausible scenario.

2. Starters by Lissa Price  In this future LA, a biological attack (and vaccine shortage) has left only the young (under 20) and the old (over 60) standing. The “elders” have the money to body swap with the “starters” who are desperate for money. Let’s hope it never comes to this!Struck Jennifer Bosworth

3. Struck by Jennifer Bosworth – Probably many Angelenos’ biggest nightmare – an earthquake has taken out the city in Struck, and religious cults fight for the right to take over. A lightning addict/ human lightning rod is at the center of the power struggle. Living here, you always worry about “The Big One” and this book plays right into that fear.

4. Middle Ground by Katie Kacvinsky – In the second book in the Awaken trilogy, part of the action shifts to Los Angeles, which is again rattled by earthquakes. Most of the book takes place in a detention center, where the heroine is undergoing reprogramming to embrace the digital world. (She had been rebelling against an all-digital school system) This series is so relevant with today’s reliance on technology and how that may look in the future.

 Since there are not as many books about dystopian LA as I thought, let’s switch to movies:

blade runner movie poster

5. Blade RunnerThis 1982 film is set in a 2019 dystopian Los Angeles- wow, five years from now! Where are the androids and flying cars?

6. ElysiumSet in 2154, the Los Angeles in the film was shot at an enormous garbage dump. Pollution and over-crowding created this dark future. Only the very wealthy can escape the slums for the greener pastures of Elysium.

7. HerThis is a near-future (and barely recognizable) Los Angeles and looks at the impact of the digital age on our culture. But, hey, at least Her shows we will have an excellent mass-transit system in a few decades. And retro-futuristic fashions!

Her Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix in Her

8. This is The EndAfter all the earthquakes, global warming, pollution, and biological attacks in these LA books/movies you may want some comic relief. The star-studded This is The End shows the celebrity side of a global apocalypse.

I think we’re going to leave it at a Top 8 this week- all this doom and gloom got to me. What book worlds do you want to stay far, far away from?


13 thoughts on “TTT: A Bleak Future LA in Books and Movies

  1. The only thing I’ve read on your list is Legend. In my head, I know it’s supposed to be LA but I think Marie Lu does a good job in distorting the city and turning it upside down. I’ve never been to LA but I would never want to visit Legend’s LA. I’m such a germaphobe, so the biggest problem I’d have is the fear of catching the disease, and I’d hate all the dystopianness going on.

    Aly @ My Heart Hearts BooksMy TTT

  2. fishgirl182 says:

    I could only hope that we have better public transport in the future. And please I hope those high waisted pants do not come back into fashion. Yeah LA is never a utopia in the future. I didn’t even realize that Elysium was set in LA. I kind of liked the movie.

  3. Sunny says:

    I didn’t realize how many things were around set in dystopian LA. I need to read to read Legend asap, but those books are kinda scary because they CAN happen. Those types of dystopian that are set in cities we know are a bit unnerving because you wonder if we can ever get out of control like that. Great list!

  4. Deep Impact! There is no way I want to live in that afterworld even though they don’t touch on it in the movie.

  5. Maggie says:

    I like how you picked a theme! I haven’t read any of these, although Legend is on my list for this year. And I really want to see Her, but I’m so behind on movies!

  6. Hee, as a fellow Angeleno, I love that you chose LA! I always joke (re: Legend’s description about downtown) that downtown LA is already a wasteland. I loved THIS IS THE END, too, it was hilarious to see our fair city decimated, and to see all the jokes about celebrity self-absorption.

    I had no idea that HER was set here. Even more reason for me to see it.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. Lucy says:

      This is the End is so funny! And yes, lol about Legend and downtown LA.

      The movie HER is set here but the LA of the future looks so different! And I found out recently part of the reason – Shanghai stands in for LA in some of the scenes. If you go see it let me know what you think!

  7. Diana Leigh says:

    My husband and I saw HER yesterday. We were surprised that men’s pants looked like something from the 1800s. We also decided that neither one of us would want an OS because it requires too much talking. 🙂

    1. Lucy says:

      The high-waisted pants in HER are distracting, aren’t they? Good point about all the talking you’d have to do to maintain a relationship with an OS! Scarlett Johansson’s voice is pretty great though 🙂

  8. […] different.  I’m going to include movie verse.  I’ve seen another blogger do the same, The Reading Date. And what do you know, I live in LA too!  I don’t think I have enough for a legit 10 but […]

  9. tonicate10 says:

    Guh, I hated “Elysium”. Nice list, though. 🙂

  10. Doris Elysia says:

    I would say great picks but I can’t because I wouldn’t want to live in those worlds either.
    Here’s our TTT
    Doris @ OABR

  11. kay says:

    I would stay far away from most dystopian worlds, too! The adventures are great on paper (or on film), but I’ll stay in reality, thank you!

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