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Best Dystopian Novels

Updated on July 12, 2014

Best Dystopian Books

This lens is about dystopian books, which are among my favorite types of books. Most people automatically think of dystopia as a science fiction sub-genre, and while dystopian science fiction is common, not all stories about dystopian societies (or screwed up uptoias) are from the sci-fi genre, and many post apocalyptic movies are based on dystopian novels. I will attempt to continue to update this lens as more and more fantastic dystopian works continue to be published whether from traditional publishing houses, or the emergence of e-book publishing like the ever popular dystopian Hunger Games trilogy which comes in a box set or you can get the Kindle versions. The movie did well, and more are to come. The point is that dystopian stories are doing well - regardless of what the revolutionary masses might want you to think.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954)

#12 Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954)

This novel isn't the 12th best on the list (it would be rated much higher in my opinion) but it's at number twelve because of the on going argument whether this is truly a dystopian novel or not. The definition of dystopia isn't necessarily clear, though the general definition is that it is a society in which misery and negative conditions prevail (or a seeming utopia gained at horrifying costs.)

As far as a dysfunctional society, the island with its stranded little boys is it, and once the conch shell is no longer seen as authority, everything breaks apart. If anyone wants to argue that an anarchy could work, this book would be an immediate argument against it.

This is an incredible psychological work, a book that is still taught as a mainstay of both psychology and sociology in high schools and college even today. In the book they tried to build a society without the enforcement of laws, and without a threat that was higher than an individual person, it fell apart.

I'd say anytime a guy gets hit by a big boulder because he's annoying, your society definitely qualifies as dysfunctional enough to count as a dystopia.

Want a Great Read? Buy Lord of the Flies Right Here! - Lord of the Flies is one of the all time classic novels.

Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies
"Lord of the Flies" by William Golding is a classic that explores the deep animal psychology within each and every human from a psychological and sociological stance. When I was in high school, this was the only book every person in class actually read.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)

#11 The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)

This story comes from the first person Offred. Offred is a maid in a time when fertile women are forced to be breeding machines to keep the human population going. This takes place because the world is a post-nuclear world where many women can't have children.

This is a very theocratic society, and this book tends to be very pro-feminist and anti-religious. In this world the country has been taken over by "Christian" fundamentalists who have done away with the Constitution and founded a theocratic state.

This Republic of Gilead (as it is called) is ruled through fundamentalism and rigid enforcement of social roles vaguely resembling Dominionism.

Most citizens, and all women, have been stripped of their freedoms. While this makes it popular among feminists and colleges, it also causes it to be protested by religious or conservative affiliations, especially at the high school level.

This is a great dystopian tale that is frightening because the logic of how the society became the way it is happens to be very believable.

Sound Interesting? Buy a Copy Right Here! - This novel is a favorite among many readers.

The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid's Tale
A favorite among academics, science fiction fans, and feminists alike, this dystopian novel is frightening because of how logical and realistic the society of this post-nuclear world is.

Neuromancer by William Gibson (1984)

One of the most influential science fiction books in modern history

#10 Neuromancer by William Gibson (1984)

Most of William Gibson's novels revolve around a dystopian future society, but Neuromancer may be the best of them all.

This novel won the sci-fi "triple crown" for writers by winning the Nebula, Hugo, and Philip K. Dick awards.

In the seedy underground of a Japanese city, a computer hacker is hired to work on the ultimate hack.

In a world flushed with AI, virtual reality, genetic engineering, and corporations overpowering nations, the adventure follows.

Gibson beat many modern sci-fi writers to the punch, and this dystopian novel is one of the most influential in modern times. In fact, here is a list of themes that Gibson beat everyone to:

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Virtual Reality

Genetic Engineering

Multi-national corporations overpowering the traditional nation-state

Gibson tackled these topics long before they became mainstream in popular culture. The concept of "cyberspace" makes its first appearance, with Gibson describing the word to describe "a consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions."

Neuromancer: One of the Most Influential Books in Modern Science Fiction - A brilliant modern dystopia, and maybe William Gibson's best novel

The first in a trilogy, this William Gibson novel was brilliant and helped re-define the science fiction genre, while accurately predicting future technologies, such as our current Internet.

Iron Heel by Jack London (1908)

Turn of the century dystopian literature

#9 Iron Heel by Jack London (1908)

Iron Heel is an excellent dystopian novel about the rise of a tyrannical corporate oligarchy in the United States. This book doesn't pay attention to technology the way most future dystopian science fiction novels do now.

This work stressed changes in society and politics, with the oligarchy formed by robber barons whom bankrupt all the middle class and seize power before enforcing a "caste system" of workers. This plot shows Jack London's socialist views at their apex, and this story was a far travel from his normal wilderness themed stories.

This was a fantastic dystopian novel that was far ahead of its time. While the phrase "Jack London dystopia" might seem really unusual, when you consider his willingness to write about dark topics, you can see the fit. Combine the Heart of Darkness like insanity from the Sea Wolf along with an impressive look at how society and wealth bankrupt the middle class into legal slavery, and you have the Iron Heel, a great dystopia that looks frighteningly more real day by day.

The Iron Heel: Jack London's Greatest Dystopian Work - The Iron Heel tends to fly under the radar, but it was a dystopian prediction by Jack London

The Iron Heel (Penguin Classics)
The Iron Heel (Penguin Classics)
Overlooked, but still in print 100 years later. A fantastic novel, and one worthy of reading.

The Running Man by Richard Bachman (1982)

#8 The Running Man by Richard Bachman (1982)

Written by Stephen King under the pen name of Richard Bachman, "The Running Man" is a fantastic dystopian novel about a frightening future where ratings and entertainment takes form in a manhunt, and where even the "winners" are losers. This novel is far superior to the movie, and in my opinion is one of the best novels written by Stephen King. "The Long Walk" is also an honorable mention and both embrace the idea of a strongly dystopian society using gimmicks and the illusion of hope to keep control and entertain the masses away from thoughts of further revolution.

What makes these two novels even more impressive is that they seem to embrace the reality show dystopia concept well before reality shows become commonplace. Richard Bachman's dystopian science fiction is, in my opinion, some of Stephen King's most entertaining work. They are fast reads and should speak to a much broader audience than much of Stephen King's literary or horror based works. Definitely worth the read!

The Running Man by Richard Bachman (Stephen King) - An amazing science fiction work that deserves bigger recognition

The book was far far superior to the fairly lousy (though strangely entertaining at 3 a.m.) movie.

The Running Man
The Running Man
The Running Man was written under the pen name Richard Bachman, but Stephen King was the actual author of this modern science fiction dystopian classic.

Armageddon's Children by Terry Brooks (2006)

#7 Armageddon's Children by Terry Brooks (2006)

I've probably read over 200 books the last two years, and among many good novels, "Armageddon's Children" has been one of my favorites. This is one of the best novels written by Terry Brooks, and takes place in a post apocalyptic world around 2100, following (among others) a lone remaining knight trying desperately to fight off the demon onslaught and a group of street gang kids who roam the remains of Seattle trying to survive. The fantasy world of Shannara was supposedly spawned from the post apocalyptic wastes of Earth, and this series bridges the gap between the two.

While this might be even more post-apocalyptic than dystopian, there are several examples of societies (one demon, one "guided," two human) that while trying to make the most of form and function of government or order in the wastelands, also can qualify as almost being post apocalyptic dystopia in nature. Agree or disagree with me: this is an outstanding read!

Love Terry Brooks? Buy This Fantastic Book Right Here! - The first book in a great new series.

Armageddon's Children (The Genesis of Shannara, Book 1)
Armageddon's Children (The Genesis of Shannara, Book 1)
This is Terry Brooks at his absolute best describing an incredible post apocalyptic world in this stunning and page turning dystopian novel.

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham (1955)

This dystopian novel was released under the title "The Re-birth" in the United States

#6 The Chrysalids by John Wyndham (1955)

This dystopian novel is another example of a post-nuclear world. This time the dystopia comes from a "need" for purity. As humans are being born with increasing levels of mutations and deformities, the state decides to execute anyone who isn't "perfect," meaning even one extra toe can be a death sentence. This attempt at forcing perfection in a post apocalyptic world is disturbing and effective, and has spawned many imitators. While you might think that this type of racial purity dystopia is a bit cliched or old school, take a look around newly released files on eugenics and remember that many racial superiority groups still exist. As politics in the US get more and more venomous, it's not hard to see this type of thinking taking over.

You Can Buy This All Time Great Novel Right Here - Also known as "The Re-Birth" in the United States

The Chrysalids
The Chrysalids
The world has ended, but ashes still remain. If you're even the slightest bit imperfect, you had better beware...

The Children of Men by PD James (1992)

#5 The Children of Men by PD James (1992)

Most people will know about the film with Clive Owen and Julianne Moore. The movie was very good, but is far different from the book. In this world, for reasons unknown, all men's sperm count plummeted to zero, and without reason or explanation, mankind now faces its own extinction. The fear mongering during this time has allowed governments extraordinary powers to keep the peace, and when a woman becomes pregnant, the implications are enormous. This is an extremely fascinating look at a possible reason for dystopia that people don't even think of, delving into the implications of a world with truly no hope at all.

Want to compare the book to the movie? Buy a copy of both here! - Both were excellent, I think I like the novel slightly more.

The Children of Men
The Children of Men
Children of Men-the fantastic book that has fans world wide about a frightening future where extinction may not be preventable.
Children of Men
Children of Men
The exceptional movie based on the novel by PD James.

The Making of "The Children of Men"

Eight minutes on the making of the film "The Children of Men."

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (1895)

Dystopian Science Fiction at it's best: Dystopian Literature

#4 The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (1895)

"The Time Machine" is one of the best science fiction novels to ever be written. This novel is the story of "The Time Traveler" who builds a machine that allows him to travel to the far distant future. While this might not seem dystopian at first glance, but a seemingly gentle and happy society is plagued by predators who harvest people for food - if that doesn't qualify as a crappy dystopian society, I don't know what does. The hero tells his story to a man of his time, grabs weapons, and goes back into the future never to return. This novel is where the term "time machine" even came from. It's not the conventional definition of a cannibalistic dystopia, but it's a good precursor for this particular sub-genre of the dystopian literature.

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells - Your Library Is Incomplete Without a Copy!

The Time Machine (Signet Classics)
The Time Machine (Signet Classics)
Still a fast paced read, and perhaps the best science fiction novel/novella ever written.
The Time Machine
The Time Machine
The modern movie version of "The Time Machine," which is far different from the H.G. Wells novel, but very entertaining nonetheless.

Teaser Trailer for "The Time Machine"

This is for the more recent version of the movie.

1984 by George Orwell (1949)

Big Brother Dystopia

#3 1984 by George Orwell (1949)

This isn't the best written novel in that the ideas are extraordinary although the writing itself can come across as a bit stilted and dry, but it is one of the big three of the dystopian science fiction novels. This could very well be the most recognizable of the big three, as "1984" is synonymous with tyrannical governments, fascism, and dystopian science fiction. Even the phrases "1984" and "Big Brother" are now part of the common culture. Orwell's detailed novel shows how a government can manipulate the people by manipulating the truth and manipulating the news. This book is the source for arguing against a far right government getting unfettered power and ironically the conversion and final re-education of the main character at the end is perhaps the most frightening and overlooked aspect of this work. This makes 1984 one of the all time classic dystopian works.

1984 - The Very Title Is Synonymous with Dystopia

Big Brother is watching you...

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)

The best cultural dystopia ever written - and eeriely prophetic

#2 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)

Guy Montag begins this classic novel as a fireman: meaning he is a man society calls on to burn all books, which are outlawed. Unlike "1984" or "Brave New World," "451" doesn't speak politically against the left or the right politically, but speaks against the dumbing down of society, specifically on how Hollywood pop culture slush and TV entertainment can create an entire nation of people who are not only incapable of fighting for their rights, but who don't even realize the importance of doing so. This is a brilliant novel that shows Guy going from soldier of the state to an independent free thinker who must go on the run to survive.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)

Maybe the greatest piece of dystopian literature ever

#1 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)

While this dystopian masterpiece and "Fahrenheit 451" could be interchangeable as the top two, "Brave New World" gets the nod because the writing itself is the best. This novel is incredible, showing a society where left leaning thinking and self hedonism is taken so far to the extreme that one person's utopia turns out to be an appalling place where the irony of a peaceful existence has caused society to lose all concept of art, honor, religious beliefs, or anything that often defines culture. The "utopia" has people who have no sympathy, no empathy, and this vision of a future is as chilling as any other on this list.

Is It A Brave New World? Judge for Yourself...

Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited
Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited
If you claim to be a big science fiction fan, you had better have this book on your shelf...

A Great Clip of Aldous Huxley on Dystopia

The great mind talking about how propoganda will be able to erase all resistance.

Vote Your Favorite Dystopias Up or Down - Or Add Your Own!

Vote for the ones you like, or if I'm missing one then feel free to add it on!

"Outside, even through the shut window pane, the world looked cold. Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals, and though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no color in anything except the posters that were plastered everywhere." The year is 1984; the scene is London, largest population center of Airstrip One. Airstrip One is part of the vast political entity Oceania, which is eternally at war with one of two other vast...
Brave New World
Brave New World
A beautifully written novel about a terrifying vision of utopia.
The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid's Tale
In the world of the near future, who will control women's bodies?Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.Offred c...
Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies
William Golding's classic tale about a group of English schoolboys who are plane-wrecked on a deserted island is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, "the boy with fair hair," and Piggy, Ralph's chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose...
The Running Man
The Running Man
Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman) crafted The Running Man early in his career, though after such mega-hits as Carrie and The Shining. A bit of a departure from the supernatural horror that is most frequently associated with his work, the novel describes a science fiction dystopia where market capitalism and television game shows have spiraled out of control, and the separation between the haves and the have-nots has been formalized with separate currencies. King establishes characters qu...
The Time Machine (Signet Classics)
The Time Machine (Signet Classics)
The story that launched Wells's successful career-the classic tale of the Time Traveler and the extraordinary world he discovers in the far distant future. A haunting portrayal of Darwin's evolutionary theory carried to a terrible conclusion.
The Long Walk
The Long Walk
Phenomenal bestselling horror. On the first day of May, one hundred teenage boys meet for an event known throughout the country as "The Long Walk," a deadly contest of endurance and determination, where each step could literally be their last. On the first day of May, one hundred teenage boys meet for an event known throughout the country as "The Long Walk." If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying.
The Chrysalids
The Chrysalids
A hard to find, but influential, classic.
Here is the novel that started it all, launching the cyberpunk generation, and the first novel to win the holy trinity of science fiction: the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award and the Philip K. Dick Award. With Neuromancer, William Gibson introduced the world to cyberspace--and science fiction has never been the same. Case was the hottest computer cowboy cruising the information superhighway--jacking his consciousness into cyberspace, soaring through tactile lattices of data and logic, rustling enc...
The Iron Heel (Penguin Classics)
The Iron Heel (Penguin Classics)
Part science fiction, part dystopian fantasy, part radical socialist tract, Jack LondonÂs The Iron Heel offers a grim depiction of warfare between the classes in America and around the globe. Originally published nearly a hundred years ago, it anticipated many features of the past century, including the rise of fascism, the emergence of domestic terrorism, and the growth of centralized government surveillance and authority. What begins as a war of words ends in scenes of harrowing violence as th...
The Children of Men
The Children of Men
Told with P. D. James's trademark suspense, insightful characterization, and riveting storytelling, The Children of Men is a story of a world with no children and no future. The human race has become infertile, and the last generation to be born is now adult. Civilization itself is crumbling as suicide and despair become commonplace. Oxford historian Theodore Faron, apathetic toward a future without a future, spends most of his time reminiscing. Then he is approached by Julian, a bright, attract...
Armageddon's Children (The Genesis of Shannara, Book 1)
Armageddon's Children (The Genesis of Shannara, Book 1)
If you have never read anything by beloved fantasy writer Terry Brooks, take your chance with Armageddon's Children, a rich and absorbing epic in which the world lies in ruins as the powers of darkness and light battle for control. Want to learn more? Watch our video featuring Terry Brooks: Watch the video (high bandwith)Watch the video (low bandwith) ="/" noshade="noshade" class="bucketDivider" size="1">
Island (Perennial Classics)
Island (Perennial Classics)
In "Island," his last novel, Huxley transports us to a Pacific island where, for 120 years, an ideal society has flourished. Inevitably, this island of bliss attracts the envy and enmity of the surrounding world. A conspiracy is underway to take over Pala and events begin to move when an agent of the conspirators, a newspaperman named Faranby, is shipwrecked there. What Faranby doesn't expect is how his time with the people of Pala will revolutionize all his values and -- to his amazement -- give...

Which of the Giant 3 Is Best? - Dystopian Trinity | 3 Big Dystopia Sci-Fi Novels | Dystopian Classics

There are three dystopian novels that are generally considered the "Trinity," so to speak, of dystopian science fiction. So let's see which one everyone likes!

Which of the big 3 of dystopian sci fi novels is tops?

See results

Types of Dystopia

What's your favorite style of dystopia?

So What Exactly Is a Dystopia?

There are many similar but slightly different definitions for what exactly makes up a dystopia. Common mistakes include labeling movies or books that are bleak science fiction or post-apocalyptic as dystopian. Now sometimes they might be - and there are works that can definitely qualify as all three, but being one doesn't guarantee the two others. Generally speaking, a dystopia is a futuristic (although that doesn't mean it has to be advanced - this can be a resurrected society after a disaster or such) universe where some type of oppressive societal control is maintained through a variety of methods that include but are not limited to bureaucratic, technological, moral/immoral, technological, corporate, or other totalitarian control. Many appear as a false utopia with the darkness right under the surface of what appears to be a good thing. These works often take a part of society the author views as a threat and exaggerates it to an extreme to get the point across of the dangers that could be lurking there in the future.

What Characteristics Do Dystopias Share?

Many dystopias share common characteristics, such as:

** Propaganda is used in many forms to help control citizens, whether it's brainwashing, advertising, controlling news, or using entertainment based means

** Often times freedom, information, and independent thought are severely restricted

** Many times a leader, oligarchy, religious idea, or concept is worshipped by the citizens

** Citizens are under constant surveillance or at least seem to be

** Citizens have no knowledge of the outside world, or fear it

** Many of the citizens live in a de-humanized state

** Uniformity is extremely important: conformity is in and dissent is strictly dealt with

** Many of these societies are an illusion of a perfect utopian world

Some of the Most Popular Types of Dystopia

Dystopia comes in many forms and sub-genres, to the point where there are even fan-based and academically based arguments over how many sub-genres there are, which books count in which category (or movie). This section will go over some of the many popular types of fictional dystopian societies as well as some of the most popular control methods for those in charge of these often terrifying worlds.

Coroporate Dystopia

In this type of dystopia one, or multiple, large corporations end up controlling society. This can be done through a variety of methods including products, advertising, media control, or overwhelming influence of wealth. Movie and book examples: Running Man, Minority Report, Out of Time, or Jennifer Government (and somewhat arguably Fahrenheit 451). An extreme example of this type of corporation (although these aren't dystopian - they're apocalyptic) would be the Umbrella Corporation from the Resident Evil Series of movies.

Bureaucratic Dystopia

Sometimes this is mixed in with government or political dystopia. In this situation society is often controlled by a mindless bureaucracy in which red tape, regulations, and government regulation make life a living hell for many people. The movie Brazil is a fantastic example, and there are many great made for TV movie dystopias revolving around the same scenario. Think if the Bureaucratic office from Futurama ruled the entire planet.

Political Dystopia

This is one of the most famous and well known because of how many classic works go this route. This dystopia is a result of extreme political ideology that can be from religious zealotry in politics, right wing extremism or left wing extremism. 1984, Brave New World, It Can't Happen Here, and The Iron Heel are all literary examples of political dystopia. A recent popular movie example would be "V for Vendetta." "The Hunger Games" falls in between Political and Corporate dystopias because of the oligarchy nature of the wealthy in Hunger Games. "Firefly" is another good example.

Technological Dystopia

These are almost always science fiction based. Most of William Gibson's works fall under this category, as do many other types of cyber-punk science fiction. Movie versions arguably could include "I, Robot" (movie, not the Asimov book) and The Matrix.

Philosophical or Religious Control

This is another area some people put "V for Vendetta" under because of the theocratic dictatorship. The opposite extreme can also be argued for the movie "Equilibrium" where emotions are outlawed as they are pegged as the cause of all discord.

Post-Apocalyptic Dystopia

This one is a little bit more controversial as some people argue that most under this category really are post-apocalyptic stories where almost any government or settlement will have false utopia or dystopian tendencies. Take a look at the underground society in "A Boy and His Dog" or the Governor's town in the TV show "The Walking Dead" for some examples of this.

Social Dystopias

These often mix with political or other dystopias, but an example of this would be Soylent Green, with the shocker at the end revealing food being made from people. That also acts as a classic example of a false Utopia, which "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells also qualifies as. Another example of a false Utopia making a social statement would be the classic horror short story "The Lottery" which also has several movies based on the plot.

A Large List of Dystopian Novels

Feminist dystopias | modern dystopias | false utopias

This isn't a complete list of dystopian fiction, but it is a very solid list that includes most of the major classics and will certainly add quite a bit of length to your reading list.

This list of dystopian novels includes everything from feminist dystopia, to modern dystopia, corporate dystopia, false uptopias, post apocalyptic worlds, and everything in between.

Enjoy the read!


1984 by George Orwell

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

When the Sleeper Wakes by H.G. Wells

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

Island by Aldous Huxley

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder by James DeMille

The Giver by Lois Lowry

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster

Anthem by Ayn Rand

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

The Shape of Things to Come H.G. Wells

This Perfect Day by Ira Levin

After by Francine Prose

That Hideous Strength C.S. Lewis

Fast Eddie, King of the Bees by Robert Arellano

Neuromancer by William Gibson

The Running Man by Stephen King as Richard Bachman

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick

"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson

324: A Novel by Thomas Disch

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Armageddon's Children by Terry Brooks

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

Utopia X by Scott Wilson

The Goodness Gene by Sonia Levitin

The Postman by David Brin

Naked Lunch William S. Burroughs

The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner

The World Inside by Robert Silverberg

Time Out of Joint Philip K. Dick

Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner

Kallocain by Karin Boye

A Wrinkle in Time Madeleine L'Engle

Dystopia: Collected Stories by Richard Christian Matheson

In the Country of Last Things by Paul Astuer

Iron Heel by Jack London

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Bend Sinister by Vladimir Nabokov.

The Children of Men by P.D James

A World Out of Time Larry Niven

The Long Walk by Stephen King as Richard Bachman

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Count Zero by William Gibson

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

The Domination by S.M. Stirling

Fatherland by Robert Harris

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

Jennifer Government by Max Barry

Utopia X by Scott Wilson

Well Readers, You Make the Call...

Everyone keeps arguing over whether "Lord of the Flies" is dystopian or not,

Is "Lord of the Flies" a dystopian novel?

Hunger games pics
Hunger games pics

The Hunger Games: Young Adult Dystopian Novels

There's no age limit or restriction on dystopian literature. Part of what makes this so popular is how the feelings of being ostracized, put upon, or persecuted is universal. At some point almost all of us have been there, and many of us have had that fear during our worst moments of wondering if the whole world revolves around that. This is why ya dystopia books for teenagers and young adults are so popular. "The Hunger Games" is an extremely popular series that definitely displays a futuristic dystopia. These popular books are now being made into movies, as well.

The world here is definitely a dystopia where a very few ultra rich and powerful rule the common people ruthlessly, forcing each region to put up two children a year as tribute to compete in the "Hunger Games," a fight to the death scenario where only one can survive, and most often fall to children from a few of the top wealthy regions, who have children who train to compete.

With a female protagonist who puts her own life at risk to save her sister, the obvious class warfare in a serious future dystopian society, and a bevy of interesting anti-hero type characters you have a great young adult dystopia that will pull readers of all ages in and introduce them to a genre full of possibilities for readers of all ages.

Read Hunger Games Trilogy from Amazon

You can find all three books in the Hunger Trilogy right here from

The Hunger Games (Book 1)
The Hunger Games (Book 1)
The first book to the series that started it all! If you haven't read "The Hunger Games" yet, you'll definitely want to get in on this award winning young adult dystopia.
Catching Fire (The Hunger Games)
Catching Fire (The Hunger Games)
Catching Fire is the second book in The Hunger Games series and dives further into this incredible dystopian trilogy.
Mockingjay (The Hunger Games)
Mockingjay (The Hunger Games)
If you can't wait for the movies and want to see the series in its original glory, take a look at this book and enjoy!
The Hunger Games (Blu-ray + Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] [2012]
The Hunger Games (Blu-ray + Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] [2012]
If you're going to watch The Hunger Games, mine as well do it on blu ray for the best possible picture! See the lauded movie version of the modern classic dystopian book.
If you don't like waiting, you can buy the entire hunger games trilogy at once.

V for Vendetta Dystopia

Dystopian Movie | Dystopian Story | Dystopian Graphic Novel

V for Vendetta is a great example of a dystopian story. This was a graphic novel that ended up with a movie based on the story. One of the key elements in this type of revolutionary dystopia is the irony of the lawbreaker, or the "revolutionary" (almost always labeled by the government in power as a terrorist) being a hero fighting tyranny.

The dystopia in "V for Vendetta" is one of the most common, in this case a theocracy that isn't about God but is about power. This religion based government is extremely controlling, extremely brutal, and is very similar to the "Big Brother" dystopia that Orwell feared in 1984.

V for Vendetta: See the Movie & Read the Graphic Novel! - Both follow a classic dystopia formula perfectly

V for Vendetta: Dystopia at its best!

V for Vendetta
V for Vendetta
The classic dystopian graphic novel that became one of the best movies to come out of Hollywood in years.
V for Vendetta (Two-Disc Special Edition)
V for Vendetta (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Special DVD of the movie that took the country by storm and kept people talking.

Many Different Types of Dystopias

Feminist Dystopia | Right Wing Dystopia | Left Wing Dystopia | Post Apocalyptic Dystopia

One of the things I love about dystopian literature is that there are so many different styles and types of dystopia. It's almost like having dozens of genres within one. This is even demonstrated by the "Big 3 Dystopias:" 1984, Brave New World, & Fahrenheit 451, which all are different styles of dystopian fiction. "1984" is the Totalitarian Government State dystopia, "Brave New World" is the false utopia that turns out to be dystopian, and "Fahrenheit 451" is the cultural dystopia, the MTV mindless mush.

And these don't begin to scratch the surface. Margaret Atwood is famous for excellent dystopian novels that are all feminist dystopians, or worlds where women are enslaved or treated as slaves.

There are technology dystopias, where technology has gone on to destroy society (sometimes directly, sometimes not), there are others where fundamentalist religion has taken complete control.

And that's not even diving into post apocalyptic worlds, which are all pretty much dystopian.

This genre has a LOT to offer, as you can see by the long, and still incomplete, list up above. If you haven't already, do yourself a favor and really dig in to find some great dystopian novels. Your reading experience will always be richer because of it!

On a side note, these are also some of my favorite types of stories to write. If you've ever thought about dipping into this genre yourself, check out this article about writing a good dystopian novel.

Dystopian Movie Clips from YouTube

Because let's face it: dystopia has many faces and they're all so damned entertaining!

Can Non-Fiction Be Dystopian?

Dystopian non-fiction: is there such a thing?

This is an interesting question since in general dystopias are considered a genre of fiction. Most dystopian novels are science fiction in nature although this isn't always the case. So can there be non-fiction that falls under dystopia? This is a question that seems more like semantics, although the closest thing you could probably get to non-fiction dystopia would be certain whistle blower novels like early Upton Sinclair works such as "The Jungle" which was fiction but delved into reality to show an incredibly depressing and horrifying working conditions. The society accepted this at the time but it was horrifying for those immigrants coming to America hoping for a better life...but would this really be considered dystopia or true non-fiction? These questions are difficult - but it gives an interesting question to discuss on the nature of dystopian writing.

Jump Into Dystopia!

Take a look at all the amazing top dystopian novels offered on

Copyright Notice

For Listverse readers and other comment trolls

For comment trolls who read my article on Listverse before coming here and accusing me of plagiarism: I am the ORIGINAL AUTHOR (Shane Dayton) of this...just like they list me as the author of that article on their site at the bottom. In other words, they paid me for the right to use my article - so don't you dare accuse of plagiarizing...well myself, I guess.

Writing Dystopian Movie Reviews

If you're interested in learning how to write for a living online, or how to break into writing movie reviews, please feel free to visit my freelance writing blog.

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