We’ve all heard of utopia, which is an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect, but how about its contrast — dystopia? Dystopian novels are a subgenre of science fiction, and are set in an imagined state or society in which there is great suffering or injustice, typically one that is totalitarian or post-apocalyptic.

You’ll probably recognize “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood as a recent dystopian novel, even though it was written in the 1980s; this is due to the release of television episodes based on the novel in 2017. Below you will find two of our more recent dystopian novels.

“Future Home of the Living God: a Novel,” by Louise Erdrich.

Louise Erdrich's latest novel, "Future Home of the Living God," is one of many dystopian fiction books available at the Detroit Lakes Public Library. (Submitted photo)
Louise Erdrich's latest novel, "Future Home of the Living God," is one of many dystopian fiction books available at the Detroit Lakes Public Library. (Submitted photo)


The world as we know it is ending. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Twenty-six-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of big-hearted, open-minded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant.

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“The Testaments,” by Margaret Atwood.

"The Testaments," Margaret Atwood's follow-up to her best-selling novel "The Handmaid's Tale,"
"The Testaments," Margaret Atwood's follow-up to her best-selling novel "The Handmaid's Tale,"


More than 15 years after the events of "The Handmaid's Tale," the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results. Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third: Aunt Lydia. Her complex past and uncertain future unfold in surprising and pivotal ways. Note: This book is is slated to become the television sequel series to the “Handmaid’s Tale.”

Library Happenings

The Detroit Lakes Public Library will be closed on Monday, Jan. 20 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Regular hours will resume on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

Blind Date With a Book begins this Tuesday, Jan. 21 and continues through Feb. 15. Here’s a chance to have a mystery date with a book you might never have checked out. Choose a wrapped book from the library, read it, rate it and enter a drawing for a prize. You’ll never know who you might connect with!

The library's Book Discussion Group is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 21 from 3 to 4 p.m. in the main meeting room of the Detroit Lakes Public Library. The month’s featured selection is “Kitchens of the Great Midwest” by J. Ryan Stradal. This tantalizing read will leave room for great discussion. All are welcome to attend, even if you haven’t read the book.

“Breathing: Mindfulness 101 Series with Kelsey Juhnke is also scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 21, from 7 to 8 p.m. in the library's main meeting room. Breathing is a vital, yet overlooked, part of our lives. Join us to learn about reducing stress and increasing focus with mindful breathing. Please bring something comfortable to sit on, such as a pillow or blanket.

A beginner sewing class, "Pillowcase by Burrito Method," is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 22 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the library's main meeting room. Join us to learn how to make the perfect pillowcase! Learn about the Burrito Method and remove any fear you may have regarding French seams. All are welcome to participate in this class, which is offered free of charge; however, pre-registration is requested. Call the library at 218-847-2168 to sign up.

Storytime: Preschoolers and their caregivers are invited to the library for storytime on Thursday, Jan. 23 and Saturday, Jan. 25 at 10:30 a.m. A different theme is explored each week. Daycares and other large groups are asked to call ahead.

Baby Bounce is scheduled for Friday Jan. 24 at 10:30 a.m. in the main meeting room of the Detroit Lakes Public Library. Infants and toddlers, along with their caregivers, are invited to enjoy Songs, stories, flannel board and action poems.

Library Hours

The library’s regular hours are as follows: Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. It is closed on Sundays and all national holidays.

Lake Agassiz Regional Library (LARL) is a consolidated public library system comprised of 13 branch libraries and nine LINK sites serving the residents of seven counties in northwest Minnesota. Besides Detroit Lakes, LARL’s other branch libraries are located in Ada, Bagley, Barnesville, Breckenridge, Climax, Crookston, Fertile, Fosston, Hawley, Mahnomen, McIntosh and Moorhead. LARL’s LINK sites are found in Cormorant, Frazee, Gonvick, Halstad, Hendrum, Lake Park, Rothsay, Twin Valley and Ulen.

For more information on local library services and programs, call 218-847-2168 or visit the Detroit Lakes Public Library at 1000 Washington Ave. Information can also be found online at www.larl.org, as well as via the library’s app, LARL Mobile, available in the iTunes and Google Play stores for free download.