Knights of God was awesome Sunday afternoon telly: Fascist religious order has taken control of future Britain (in the 2020s I think, series aired in the mid 80s). The series centred on a Welsh lad (called Gervase I think), who turned out to be the spirited away infant son of the Royal Family (the rest of them having been brutally killed when the regime rose to power) and had undertones of Arthurian legend (delivered by Patrick Troughton).
(It also had the delightfully subversive concept, for the 1980s, of Ireland as an American State acting as a funnel for weapons to the Resistance/terrorist fighters fighting to reclaim the previous order)
That sounds awesome.
I mentioned before that John Christopher was my God growing up. The Guardians was a great novel (a world divided into a dystopian urban setting for your average people and a rural England paradise for the powerful), I loved Empty World (sort of like The Stand, only that everybody simply dies of the disease), the Sword of the Spirits trilogy was great (post-apopcalyptic medieval society digs up modern-day machinery and weapons - it's a bit medieval fantasy meets sci-fi), The Lotus Caves was deeply weird and stuck with me for a long timed
, and I must've read the Tripods trilogy ten times or so.
What the Hunger Games reminds of most, though, from what I hear about it, are Richard Bachman's (Stephen King's) dystopian novels for young readers: The Running Man and The Long Walk:
One hundred teenage boys participate in an annual walking contest called "The Long Walk," which is the "national sport". Each Walker must maintain a speed of at least four miles per hour; if he drops below that speed for 30 seconds, he receives a verbal warning (which can be erased by walking for one hour without being warned). If a Walker with three warnings slows down again, he is "ticketed." The meaning of this term is intentionally kept vague at first, but it soon becomes clear that "buying a ticket" means to be shot dead by soldiers riding in half-tracks along the roadside. Walkers may be shot immediately for certain serious violations, such as trying to leave the road or attacking the half-track. The soldiers use electronic equipment to precisely determine a Walker's speed.
The event is run by a character known as "The Major," who is implied to have much power, stemming from a possible military or fascist state system. The Major appears at the beginning of the Walk to encourage the boys and start them on their way, and then occasionally thereafter. While the Walkers initially greet him with awe and respect, they eventually realize their admiration is misplaced and ridicule him in later appearances.
The Walk begins at the Maine/Canada border and travels the east coast of the United States until the winner is determined. There are no stops, rest periods, or established finish line, and the Walk does not pause for any reason (including bad weather or darkness); it ends only when one Walker is left alive. According to the rules, the Walkers can obtain aid only from the soldiers. They may request a canteen of water at any time, and food concentrates (apparently similar to the ones developed by NASA's space program) are distributed at 9:00 every morning. Walkers may bring anything they can carry, including food or additional footwear, but cannot receive aid from bystanders. They are allowed to have bodily contact with onlookers as long as they stay on the road. While they cannot physically interfere with one another to detrimental effect, they can help each other, provided they stay above four miles per hour.
The winner receives "The Prize": anything he wants for the rest of his life.
It is implied that many past winners have died soon after the Walk, due to its hazardous mental and physical challenges. The Long Walk is not only a physical trial, but a psychological one, as the Walkers are continually pressed against the idea of death and their mortality. Contestants have actually tried to crawl at 4 mph to survive after their legs gave out. The story has several characters who suffer mental breakdown, one of whom kills himself by tearing out his throat, and most characters experience some mental degeneration from the stress and lack of sleep.
That novel really impressed me back then.