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Best Dystopian Books

Dive into futuristic societies gone awry with these critically acclaimed dystopian novels. Featured frequently on prominent book sites, these tales offer compelling warnings and imaginative worlds.

Recommendations from 78 articles, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Emma Watson and 124 others.
Best Dystopian Books
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The Handmaid's Tale book cover
The Handmaid's Tale
Margaret Atwood - 1998-04-01 (first published in 1985)
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This feminist dystopian novel explores life in the Republic of Gilead - a future United States where a monotheocracy takes the Book of Genesis literally, leading to bizarre consequences for the population. Follow the story of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids living under the new social order, as she reveals dark corners behind the establishment's calm facade. With scathing satire, a dire warning, and poignant prose, this unforgettable classic is Margaret Atwood at her best.
Recommended by
Emma WatsonJenn Im
The Giver book cover
The Giver
25th Anniversary Edition (Giver Quartet)
Lois Lowry - 2006-01-24 (first published in 1993)
Goodreads Rating
Exploring a seemingly perfect society, this novel follows twelve-year-old Jonas as he uncovers the disturbing truths that lie beneath the surface. Only with his new position as the Receiver is he able to grasp the complex and dark realities of his utopian world.
Station Eleven book cover
Station Eleven
Emily St. John Mandel - 2014-09-09
Goodreads Rating
Experience a post-apocalyptic world where a devastating flu pandemic has destroyed civilization as we know it. Follow Kirsten Raymonde, a member of The Traveling Symphony - a small troupe of actors and musicians dedicated to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they come across a violent prophet threatening their existence, they must fight for survival. With a unique timeline that jumps between life before and after the pandemic, uncover the twist of fate that connects them all in this National Book Award and PEN/Faulkner Award finalist.
1984 book cover
George Orwell - 2022-07-01 (first published in 1949)
Goodreads Rating
This influential text from the 20th century delves into a dark and dystopian world unlike any other. Written in 1949 by political satirist George Orwell, the novel portrays a totalitarian society that is both bureaucratic and terrifying. The author's foresight in predicting the future of modern life is remarkable, with themes that are still relevant today. Taking readers through a journey of surveillance, propaganda, and isolation, it is no wonder why 1984 is among the most terrifying novels ever written. A must-read for those seeking a thought-provoking exploration of individuality and the true extent of government control.
Brave New World book cover
Brave New World
Aldous Huxley - 1998-01-01 (first published in 1932)
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This dystopian novel explores a futuristic World State where citizens are genetically modified and society is based on intelligence. The plot anticipates major scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation, and classical conditioning, which create a dystopian society where the protagonist challenges the norm.
Fahrenheit 451 book cover
Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury - 2011-12-06 (first published in 1953)
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In a dystopian future where the printed book is illegal, Guy Montag is a fireman whose job is to burn them along with any houses hiding them. But when he meets an eccentric young woman, he begins to question everything he knows. Ray Bradbury's classic explores a world where television dominates and books are considered dangerous. This edition includes personal essays by the author, critical essays by acclaimed writers, and rare manuscript pages and sketches from Bradbury's archive.
The Road book cover
The Road
Cormac McCarthy - 2006-10-02
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In a desolate, post-apocalyptic America, a father and son trek towards an unknown West Coast in a desperate attempt to survive. Armed only with a pistol, scavenged supplies, and each other, they encounter danger and uncertainty at every turn. The Road is a heart-wrenching story of love and endurance in the face of catastrophic destruction. Cormac McCarthy's vivid prose paints a stark portrait of humanity's best and worst qualities.
Never Let Me Go book cover
Never Let Me Go
Kazuo Ishiguro - 2010-08-31 (first published in 2005)
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This gripping mystery explores the theme of what it means to be human in a heartbreakingly tender and morally courageous way. Set in the pleasant Hailsham boarding school, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy grow from schoolchildren to young adults, only to realize the full truth of their sheltered existence. Through memory and the impact of the past, the author creates an unforgettable book that examines how we treat the vulnerable and different in our society. Never Let Me Go is a scathing critique of human arrogance and a beautiful love story that breaks through the boundaries of the literary novel.
The Hunger Games book cover
The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins - 2008-10-14
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In a dystopian future, the nation of Panem forces each district to send a boy and girl to fight to the death in the annual Hunger Games. When 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen takes her sister's place, she must fight to survive while navigating complex choices of survival, humanity, and love.
Recommended by
Rainn Wilson
Parable of the Sower book cover
Parable of the Sower
A Novel
Octavia E. Butler - 2000-01-01 (first published in 1993)
Goodreads Rating
Enter a world decimated by chaos and violence in this gripping novel. Lauren Olamina is one of the few survivors in a crumbling Los Angeles, struggling to maintain hope with her family behind the safe walls of their compound. But when tragedy strikes, Lauren sets out on a dangerous journey to salvation, facing a world ravaged by drugs, disease, war and water shortages. With hyperempathy, a rare condition that makes her incredibly sensitive to the pain of others, Lauren must navigate through a hostile landscape to reach safety, and perhaps even bring about a new and better future for mankind.
The Power by Naomi Alderman
The Children of Men by P. D. James
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Legend by Marie Lu
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
The Stand by Stephen King
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Animal Farm by George Orwell
The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
The Selection by Kiera Cass
Severance by Ling Ma
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. le Guin
Wool by Hugh Howey
Neuromancer by William Gibson
Blindness by Jose Saramago
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller
American War by Omar el Akkad
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
World War Z by Max Brooks
Matched by Ally Condie
Feed by M. T. Anderson
Borne by Jeff Vandermeer
Red Clocks by Leni Zumas
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
The Passage by Justin Cronin
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Year One by Nora Roberts
Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
On The Beach by Nevil Shute
The Running Man by Stephen King
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa
The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
One Second After by William R. Forstchen
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
Followers by Megan Angelo
Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica
Vox by Christina Dalcher
The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin
Zone One by Colson Whitehead
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
The Lathe Of Heaven by Ursula K. le Guin
Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
The Wall by John Lanchester
ANTHEM by Ayn Rand
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Divergent / Insurgent / Allegiant / Four 4 Volumes by Veronica Roth
The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury