Whether they are science-fiction novels regarding androids dominating the planet or speculative fiction stories that are not so far from actual life, books on dystopian societies aren’t in fashion.
From broadly popular string to critically acclaimed functions, these tales’ social opinion caters to casual readers and literary critics, frequently creating the listing for the very best dystopian novels of all time.
The enduring popularity of novels also suggests our ceaseless and collective fascination about where culture is moving.
Since the twentieth century, there’s been a relatively consistent output of novels within this genre. To help you browse and select between these introspective perspective futures, here is the list of the Best Dystopian Books you shouldn’t lose out on.
What Is Dystopian Fiction?
Speculative fiction’s dystopian genre had its start as a reaction to utopian literature. A dystopia is a horrifying and cruel envisioned community or culture. A dystopia is the opposite of a utopia, which is an ideal society.
What Is the Significance of Dystopian Fiction?
Anarchism, tyranny, and widespread poverty are frequent topics in dystopian books with a didactic message. Suppose you’re interested in creating speculative fiction.
In that case, one method to develop a storyline is to take an idea from present society and push it a little farther down the road, says Margaret Atwood, one of literature’s most renowned dystopian fiction writers. Even though people tend to focus on the near term, fiction may predict and extrapolate into many future scenarios.
Here are some other arguments for the importance of dystopian novels in literature:
- Through dystopian literature, humanity may be aware of the risks posed by the current social and political order. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, published in 1985, is set in Gilead, a dystopian version of the United States. It issues a warning against repressive patriarchy.
- Dystopian fiction may reflect the author’s worldview. The Time Machine, written by H.G. Wells in 1895, is one work that exhibits Wells’ socialist leanings. The plot centers on a scientist from Victorian England who constructs a time machine and discovers the drawbacks of a capitalist society.
- Dystopian fiction may be incredibly inventive and calls for a more significant suspension of disbelief. For instance, a gang of pigs in George Orwell’s allegory Animal Farm organizes a coup against their human farmer. The rise to power of the farm animals is modeled after the Russian Revolution.
- Satirical criticisms may be included in dystopian literature. For instance, Anthony Burgess’ 1962 book A Clockwork Orange is a societal parody of behaviorism. The setting is a dystopian society with a violent teenage subculture. A totalitarian regime defends society by enforcing morality and outlawing aggressive inclinations.
Best Dystopian Novels Everyone Should Read
Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell
(Dystopian fiction books)
Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell is one of the good dystopian books of all time. While it had been printed in 1949, this outstanding work was set in 1984. Orwell’s dystopian world foresees just three continental sized countries, which are governed by an omnipresent, careful government.
A censorship employee within this state finds himself questioning the totalitarian system and its own attempt to obliterate personal feelings and thought, soon beginning a look for others who could be in precisely the same boat.
In addition to its legacies, what’s most astonishing about fiction’s work would be the meticulous worldbuilding that Orwell undertook.
According to his observations of culture on the verge of the Cold War, Orwell crafted complicated mechanisms like doublethink and contradictory slogans such as War Is Peace with this much care and link to real life’s easy to understand how this autocratic literary world can exist.
And that is not to mention that the story a frightening and unexpected journey that guarantees that Nineteen Eighty Four will endure the test of time. It’s one of the best dystopian sci-fi books to read.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Within this once futuristic universe that The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood was printed in 1985 about the long run a religious sect takes over America. The order of the nation is pushed back a few decades.
Horrifyingly, women are domesticated and subordinated to men, though ecological degradation and its effects on fertility mean that fertile women are inordinately more valuable and desirable. In the center of all this is Offred, a young girl made to keep children for ruling class guys.
The Handmaid’s Tale’s planet is different from many other worlds that we read about in the top dystopian novels. Its focus on women’s experience, however, isn’t the only extraordinary caliber of this novel.
Atwood’s unconventional fashion and alternating storylines allow readers to unravel this intricate world at their own pace ahead of the plot descending into a fever pitch, cementing Atwood’s masterpiece among the fantastic columns of dystopian fiction. This is one of the best dystopian novels for adults for reading.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
(Classic dystopian novels)
Cormac McCarthy’s dystopian classic The Road, which tells the story of a father and son trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic future, is one of the most disturbing, heartbreaking, and depressing future visions. In 2009, Viggo Mortensen starred in the adaptation of the book.
Compared to these well-crafted orders we have encountered so far, The Road transports us into a world shattered by an unnamed crisis. Insane scrambles substitute regular lives for food and supplies for people who survive.
Within this gloomy eat or be eaten scenario, a father and his young son trek southwards in expectation of winter, driven by their hopes to find and combine with the good men.
Make no mistake: this novel is sad. From gloomy atmospheres into the tragic loss of humankind, both socially and physically, this post extinction setting comes to life before viewers’ eyes during McCarthy’s somber prose.
As opposed to questioning society’s structures, The Road by Cormac McCarthy encourages readers to look inward and examine our empathy in a world that is increasingly aggressive and individualistic.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Within this classic, the World State authorities of this calendar year 2540 AD control the people by telling them exactly what to believe but by flushing them with joy.
Henceforth Huxley’s Brave New World introduces readers into a seemingly perfect kingdom, together with genetically engineered, carefree, and well-fed citizens.
With mass production and Fordism in your mind, Aldous Huxley’s merry consumers and gullible taxpayers developed this form of technology and retained it fulfilled by it.
So you may imagine how anybody who comes from the exterior barbarous world would seem to them… that is what happens, to a tragic result.
The very striking and so memorable thing about this dystopian novel Brave New World is how it indicates that the state does not have to ban torture or books dissenters to silence them our civilization can purge itself of intellectuality through self-indulgence. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is among the best classic dystopian novels to read.
Blindness by José Saramago
In the 1990s, this Nobel Prize winning clarifies a town’s social arrangement that disintegrates as a curious contagion infects its inhabitants.
As examples spiral out of control, food runs rare, and offenders exploit the chaos, the militant state heightens surveillance and puts up quarantines to preserve order.
In the center of Blindness is our refusal to find the violence and heartlessness that currently exist within our society. Saramago is a famed allegorist.
He is at his finest in this job: together with his distinctive style and resounding vision, he highlights this unpleasant real life. He notices the significance of solidarity and empathy in dire scenarios.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy spend their time in a private English boarding school, held away from the external world. Just after Ruth and Tommy’s escape do they discover they’ve been isolated?
Ishiguro’s insecure tour de force is a poignant coming of age narrative about sacrifice, impermanence, and precisely what it means to be human.
The Stand by Stephen King
This doorstop thick epic of Stephen King centers around the decimation of ninety nine percent of the planet’s inhabitants after a deadly virus has been accidentally released from a government laboratory. Following that, society collapses, and warring factions of survivors grow up and that is just the beginning of the horrors.
The Power by Naomi Alderman
When it is discovered that adolescent girls can inflict damage by shooting electricity from their hands, the world is permanently changed: young girls begin to yield electricity both good and bad in ways they never have before. The sci-fi novel inverts our patriarchal within exciting fashion specially in The Power by Naomi Alderman.
Five thousand years into the future, the world has been dominated by women. A male author writes a work about it. Historical dystopian fiction Alderman provides a meta book within a book that explains how this matriarchy was created.
This allows him to make sly comments on men’s perceptions of this change. The story of women’s sudden electrical superpowers is the origin story.
It is set in the 21st century and intertwines the stories of many women from all over the globe who can use this power to change the minds of those oppressing them.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Station Eleven is one of our favorite dystopian novels. It travels backward, forwards, and between the years that were recognizable just before the flu epidemic caused civilization to collapse, and the altered, strange world that has emerged twenty years later. This novel asks about fame and art, and the relationships that can sustain us through any circumstance even the end.
American War by Omar El Akkad
It is 2074, and America is once more ravaged by civil war. Sarat has lost her dad, her residence and is battling for survival. She did not begin this war, but she has decided she will end it.
This powerful debut novel imagines America from the grip of a deadly plague and driven by civil war as a single household is caught in the center. This dystopian novel asks us to consider what could happen if America turned its most deadly weapons and policies on itself.
Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
(Dystopian society books)
A literary phenomenon that inspired the equally effective film Blade Runner Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? ‘s planet is a post-apocalyptic society comprising naturally hover cars and robots.
Observing the atomic world War Terminus’ and consequent radiation poisoning, creatures are infrequent and unfeeling androids proliferate. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It forces the reader to consider what it is that makes us individual.
World War Z by Max Brooks
(Short dystopian stories)
Composed as an oral history of the Zombie War, Brooks divides the book into a set of short stories, interviews of survivors of this war. Each narrative focuses on a snippet of this battle by discovering Patient Zero into Japan’s invasion to the point at which the equilibrium shifts in favor of people.
Brooks expertly narrates every personality to communicate a varied overview of a literary world event. Do not allow the notion of zombies or Brad Pitt’s meh movie adaptation to set you off; the novel (as well as also the full-cast audiobook) is a five-star read one of famous dystopian novels.
The Children of Men by P.D. James
Set in 2022, James’s 1992 book speaks of a different society divided by infertility in The Children of Men. Since the very last people born on Earth get murdered in a bar struggle, and the planet falls into disease with no potential for humankind, historian Theo Faron finds himself caught in a political struggle with his dictatorial cousin, Xan. But the battles have a new turn when Theo finds out that there could be some hope for a long time after all.
The Children of Men provides a different vision of humankind’s conclusion one that is not due to a holocaust or an ice age, but instead by something considerably more slow and believable.
Even though our 2020 (luckily!) It does not appear to be directing us into the passing of the species; the most suspenseful journey of Theo Faron will shock you with how close we are to the problem of depopulation.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The nation of Panem is a shining Capitol that lies within the ruin of North America. Twelve outlying areas surround it. The Capitol is cruel and harsh and forces the districts to follow its lead by requiring them to send one boy or one girl to the annual Hunger Games. This fight to the death, which takes place on live television, keeps them in line.
The bestselling fiction YA dystopia trilogy was made into a smash hit series that catapulted Jennifer Lawrence from obscurity to stardom.
Twelve teenage boys and twelve young girls are forced to participate in a brutal reality TV show in the near future. The only rule is that they must kill each other.
The Capitol is cruel and harsh and forces the districts to follow its lead by requiring them to send one boy or one girl to the annual Hunger Games. This fight to the death, which takes place on live television, is a battle to the end.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was set sixty four years before the events of the first book in The Hunger Games trilogy were published in May 2020. It is a prequel.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
In a dystopian world seemingly devoid of social ills, twelve-year-old Jonas is preferred to maintain his community memories. However, while learning in their collective ago, he comprehends that their utopia might not be as ideal as it appears.
The award winning, young adult classic The Giver by Lois Lowry is widely educated and prohibited for comparable reasons: introducing younger readers into older topics like suicide, sexual awakenings, and lack of innocence.
The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard
The year 2145 is when the planet sweats due to global warming, which floods cities and transforms animals into beasts. These prehistoric creatures destroy civilization, and Dr. Robert Kerans and his crew venture into new territory to study the wild world.
Published 1962The Drowned World. This is one of the earliest examples of climate fiction (CLI-fi) ever written. This adventurous novelWe are taken on a journey to the unknown where once fortunate territories have been transformed into tropical labyrinths.
It’s not just an adventure. The plot of J.G. Ballard serves as a Trojan Horse, allowing us to see the psychological effects of this horrific possibility on our minds.
Borne by Jeff Vandermeer
A nameless city is left in ruins by the Company, a shuttered biotech company, in VanderMeer’s eighth novel. In a post Company Earth, the discovery of a mysterious, shape shifting monster changes the lifespan of a young scavenger along with her spouse.
Rachel, a young woman, survives in a city that has been destroyed by conflict and drought. She finds Borne on a scavenging mission, and she takes him home. Borne is salvage a green lump, a plant, or an animal?
The Departure by Neal Asher
From the safety of the Argus Space Station, the Committee enforces its despotic rule on a darkened Earth. There are too many people competing for too few resources, which means corruption is rampant and people are starving.
The Committee enforces its despotic rule from the safety of the Argus Space Station. The Committee needs twelve billion people to die before stability can return, and they are ready to go to great lengths to achieve their goal.
The Departure is Neal Asher’s first book in his near future dystopian science fiction series, Owner. Find the rest of Neal Asher’s Owner series books here.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A nightmare vision of the future overrun by nihilistic violence and commanded with a menacing totalitarian state, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess is one of the most inventively composed dystopian novels ever published, composed in adolescence slang Nadsat’, a dialogue Burgess made for the novel.
Fifteen-year-old Alex and his group of buddies rob, rape, and kill their way through life before the State places a halt to his lush excesses. However, what will his re-education mean?
A Clockwork Orange has a lot to offer. It is full of violence, psychological manipulation, and a secret language, including Russian and Shakespearian loanwords.
Burgess’s elaborate slang system may have been brilliant, but his powerful descriptions of violence aren’t exactly pleasant and made the book controversial. A Clockwork Orange’s exploration of youth’s dissatisfaction with society’s expectations is still remarkable and timely.
Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan
A post apocalyptic story about a plague ravaged world. The 21st century sees England’s last king fall from grace, and a circle of charismatic political reformers plunges into a maelstrom plague, war, and anarchy.
Yorick Brown is the last human survivor of a plague that wiped out any critters on Earth using a Y chromosome. Together with a government representative, a young scientist, and his pet monkey, he sets off on a trip to discover why exactly he lived.
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
After another civil war in America pro-choice on one side, pro-life on another the Bill of Life says human life begins at conception, makes abortion illegal, but allows for a process referred to as unwinding, a method for parents to get rid of a kid when they are between the ages of 13-18.
Unwind follows three adolescents who jump for unwinding who eventually become runaways, decide to rescue their lives.
Arc of the Scythe trilogy by Neal Shusterman
After reading Scythe a few years ago, I couldn’t stop raving about it. The idea is SO genuine and eerie… Although we often hear “this may completely happen” in many novels, I am sure that technology will grow faster than people.
Even while we may not need genuine “agents of death,” it’s possible that computers will solve many societal issues before our brains do. The main characters are engaging and compelling, and the language is incisive and provides a clear picture of what is occurring.
The antagonists are absolutely evil, but you can understand how they came to be that way. Sometimes, the drug of choice is power! The series comes highly recommended. Leah Hart Tennen from the BuzzFeed Book Club
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Wade Watts, a teenager in Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, participates in a virtual Easter egg hunt in his gaming community to win one of its substantial prizes: the inheritance of both the game’s production firm and the creator’s wealth. However, when gamers compete with one another for this incredible reward, what were previously only imaginary confrontations become very real.
Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
Shana wakes up one morning to locate her sister sleepwalking. She cannot be woken or ceased. She appears to be on a mission and can be gradually joined by other people. As society begins to collapse around the spreading outbreak, Chuck Wendig paints a compelling image of the end of the planet.
If you aren’t intimidated by the whopping 800 page count, then Wanderers is an epic science dystopian fiction book that has been the clear winner among the most excellent dystopian novels of 2019.
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
The Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler presents a grim and chaotic vision of the future. Climate catastrophe results in scarce resources and global chaos, with only a few gated communities like Lauren Olamina. Lauren Olamina and her family will have to defend the moral order of civilization, even though their safety is at risk.
The Parable of the Sower erases all traces and traces of functioning society. It leaves behind deep sorrow but still focuses on the possibility that one can experience such an environment. The story is told in Lauren’s young voice, but the emotional depth it explores makes it hauntingly mature.
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
This classic is available now; listen, you are welcome! The story tells of a Victorian scientist who tests the Time Machine and travels to a near future where he discovers a world filled with childlike people.
After spending some time studying the history of humankind, the scientist returns to his Time Traveller to find it gone. The dark underbelly of an indulgent future is revealed as he continues his adventures.
It is one of the first sci-fi works ever to be written. In the Time Machine by H.G. Wells, you will enjoy a wild ride with no complicated plot (Just a well executed twist.
This H.G. Wells simple story, which is incredibly short, allows the late Victorian literature’s signature commentary on duality and society’s dark undersides to shine through.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, which is set in a not too distant future many avid readers find terrifying, tells the story of Guy Montag, who becomes disillusioned with his job. He’s given the task of setting fire to books rather than putting out fires.
The authoritarian state is determined to stop people overthinking if any because society’s attention span is shorter than ever. The government did not expect Montag to open his mind to the mysteries and begin a quest for the books and the reasons of others.
Ray Bradbury wrote this timeless love story Fahrenheit 451 to the 1950s books after the Red Scare of the 1940s gripped America by anti-communist sentiments that were so close to hysteria.
However, in Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury’s warning against increasing censorship is timeless and perhaps more relevant than ever in today’s age of Big Data. Montag will continue to live with the message through his long, arduous journey.
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
This nightmare dystopia is where the Nazis take over New York City, California, and the Japanese control California. The African continent is almost extinct.
Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
Malorie Blackman’s award winning Noughts & Crosses series, in which this book is the original, create a dystopian future in which white Noughts are considered inferior races. In contrast, black Crosses are born to privilege and are perceived as superior in all respects.
It follows Sephy, Callum, and their friendship since childhood, but they are now bitter enemies. Sephy, a Cross, is dark skinned and beautiful and is the daughter of a powerful politician. Callum, on the other hand, is white and poor and exists to serve Crosses only.
There is no doubt that dystopian books are more than entertainment and can offer a lot of knowledge to the young readers. If you consider them as a source of inspiration, they will definitely help you in your life.
These are only some of the dystopian books that can be considered as the best ones. However, there are many other titles that can offer you a great reading experience.
Penn Book took a peek at the good list of the best known dystopian novels of all time focusing on the darker side of existence. Vote for your favorite below.
Last update on 2022-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API