Science Fiction/Fantasy

16 Tips for Surviving in a Dystopian Society

Rebecca Joines Schinsky

Chief of Staff

Rebecca Joines Schinsky is the executive director of product and ecommerce at Riot New Media Group. She co-hosts All the Books! and the Book Riot Podcast. Follow her on Twitter: @rebeccaschinsky.

testing joelle charbonneauSurviving in a dystopian society ain’t easy! Last week, in a giveaway sponsored by The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau, we asked you to share your best advice for characters living in dystopias. Here are the highlights!

Find a good hiding place for your books, potted plants, and knitting needles.

Don’t let the bastards get you down. (M. Atwood)

If you’re going to be making adult decisions, keep making them. Don’t suddenly start acting like a confused teen in a sequel novel.

Never trust the pretty people.

Have an odd name. Something like Sarah will not cut it. the more unique your name the higher chances you have of surviving.

Hoard water!! And always have something sharp with you.

Be fortunate enough to be born into the ruling class. If that doesn’t pan out then be good looking, clever, adaptive, sassy, and well spoken.

Conform openly, rebel surreptitiously.

Always have your towel.


Know the loopholes in all laws.

Learn how to shoot–a gun, an arrow, a slingshot, whatever.

Build a community.

To counteract the lack of identity and stimulation and to offset the negativity, practice creative endeavors in secret to maintain a flow and balance.

If at all possible, be male. Things never work out well for women in dystopia…

Don’t be picky about food or clothes. What really matters is keeping your feet in good shape. You never know when you’ll need them.