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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 (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)
Lord of the Flies (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)

"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

1984 (Signet Classics)
1984 (Signet Classics)

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!

1984 (Signet Classics)
1984 (Signet Classics)

"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 (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)
Lord of the Flies (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)

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?

Yes! It's an independent screwed up society that breaks apart. What more do you want?

Yes! It's an independent screwed up society that breaks apart. What more do you want?

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    • Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      I would think of LOTF as dystopian. A society by definition is "... the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community ... ." So, one might argue the ordered part. But, we're talking juvenile. They attempt to instill order to the extent that they understand it. It's dystopian because no matter how hard they attempt to impose a social order and make it stick, it falls apart.

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      i think it is and i would also recommend the book divergent by veronica roth if you like dystopian novels

    • mamabrat lm 4 years ago

      yes and I actual ask the same question om my dystopian for Ya

    • EdwardMartin1133 4 years ago

      I always thought so

    • Gigglesmith 4 years ago

      I think so

    • Brians Secretary 4 years ago

      Yes I think it is, it also reminds us just how horrible groups of kids are

    • IssacAlouf 4 years ago

      I think it definitely is.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      It's a group of boys. They form a society and they create a government that ultimately falls apart due to a couple of bloodthirsty boys. I can see the other side of it though. It seems almost more like an allegory for a dystopia than a dystopia itself.

    • John Tannahill 4 years ago from Somewhere in England

      Yes I think it is, in microcosm. It's also about childhood, boys and an apparent utopia as it goes wrong, and bullying takes over pragmatism.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Any group of people maintaining social contact will perform external actions establishing an immediate invisible government based on the interactions of their subconscious minds formulated by millions of years of evolution. That government will not be nice, it will be self-serving and protective of the survival of the group as a whole but not individually. The children were allegorical devices used to provide the lowest common denominator for shared experiences for the benefit of the reading audience.

    • DMVAgent 4 years ago

      dystopian, it is. :)

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      There is no formal government but there is definitely a hierarchy (forgive my spelling). In addition there is a constant struggle for power. Those who have that power force their will upon those who do not oppressing them even to the point of death in Piggy's case.

    • SunhiMistwalker 4 years ago

      Definitely! Lord of the Flies is definitely dystopian and one of me favorites!

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Yes, I think so because it shows the boys' community (despite the fact that it is not a whole society) at it's beginning, it's prime and when it is broken down and collapses due to inhumanity.

    • jwcooney 4 years ago

      I would say it is since it shows a collapsing society.

    • Everyday-Miracles 5 years ago

      My husband defines dystopia as the ultimate reality (as opposed to a utopia, which is an ideal unreality). Lord of the Flies illustrates the way that a society breaks down on itself when there is no governing body. Dystopia does not require a government to be dystopia, and the boys in Lord of the Flies do, in fact, have their own society, even if that society is unregulated. Yes, it is dystopia.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Yes because it for tells what happens when children are reared without parents and in schools. Ultimately you will need a police state to control them.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      We designate societies as dystopian if they fall from what they were, and only if we recognize them (isn't that prejudice against fictional governments?). For instance, we would call a world in which America united into one massive city, the sun never shined, and the government had collapsed dystopian. But Lord of the Flies? A government was attempted to have been set up in the beginning of the book, and it failed, the society and government unraveled into chaos. Even if we don't recognize the country, it's still dystopia.

    • writergrey 5 years ago

      Interesting question. I think it IS, but at a micro-scale.

    • Ann Hinds 5 years ago from So Cal

      On it's most basic level, it certainly is a society that breaks apart.

    No! It's a great book, but that's not a society and it's not dystopian because there's no government.

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      • anonymous 3 years ago


      • anonymous 3 years ago

        A dystopia is typically an excess of various forms of institutional order and control. Lord of the Flies is an exploration of the exact opposite,what are men's lives like in the complete absence of institutional order and control. Lord of the Flies answers with a very different outcome from romanticized visions of the noble savage such as depicted in Robinson Caruso-- the idea that society is actually a corrupting influence on human behavior and those who find themselves outside the reach of society revert to a state of peace and contentment in noble harmony with nature. However, in this case, we have a group of boys who have not been fully indoctrinated into the concepts and ideals of society, who have not been taught the purpose and function of social institutions, suddenly cut off from society. In this case, they abandon any noble aspirations and descend into a purely instinctual existence.

      • anonymous 3 years ago

        No. I've always interpreted the novel as a frightening study of what life would be like in the complete absence of societal institutions that both provide and enforce cultural constructs of civility and noble conduct. Most dystopian visions are of opposite extreme -- some type of institutional or psychological control that ultimately imposes dehumanizing conformity -- often they are entrenched because they have managed to establish peaceful and stable societies, but the cost of that peace and stability is a devaluing of the human to some manner of servitude. The Lord of the flies is the opposite, suggesting that absent society, the nature of man is to descend into a valuless, animalistic, tribal existence.

      • Kate Fereday Eshete 3 years ago from Ethiopia

        It's a group of boys on an island. I think of "dystopia" as applying to a larger society.

      • Elares 4 years ago

        I always took it as more of a cautionary tale than a dystopian tale. That being said, it definitely has its terrifying moments. Loved it.

      • Robert Zimmerman 4 years ago from SE Florida, USA

        Too localized.

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        Not dystopian. Dystopian is based on the government creating an oppressive society. No government = no dystopia

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        Lord of the Flies is more anarchy than an actual government.It's kids trying to bring order to their chaos.

        My favorite is We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        It's a great story but I don't think dystopian is the best category for LOTF. I think oppression and/or totalitarianism goes hand in hand with a dystopian society. In LOTF the society of children were not oppressed or controlled by a government. I think LOTF is a story about the lack of government and lack of control. The children find themselves in a survival situation with no adult leadership. They try to form rules and a society but it fails and falls into chaos. Their survival and chaos scenario ends when the adults arrive. If anything, I think LOTF could be viewed as utopian propaganda. If our society is represented by the children in the story and the adult is the government, then the I believe the message is there is that there can be no ordered society without government.

      • anonymous 5 years ago


      • Shadrosky 5 years ago

        When I think dystopian, I think of the entire world being in a similar societal state, and Lord Of The Flies being confined to one island isn't big enough to fit that perception. So, I have to say no.

      • Andrea RM 6 years ago

        I wouldn't say so; I think it's a reflection of human natures and society's vices rather than dystopia.

      • the777group lm 6 years ago

        Not dystopian strictly - Lord Of the Flies is more about the underbelly of Now.

      • dannystaple 6 years ago

        I think it is a great book, but not enough of a "fallen utopia" to be a dystopia - it is perhaps more just the descent into savages when without any leadership. Compare and contrast the behaviour with Jules Verne's Mysterious Island, where castaways form a really effective little society- albeit with only a handful of them.

      • Jennifer P Tanabe 6 years ago from Red Hook, NY

        It is a great book, but the first society they tried to set up was not dystopian. Then it fell apart and some members tried to set up a different society. The second society ends up being Jack's dictatorship, and would have been overthrown or collapsed anyway even if the book hadn't ended the way it did. If you want to classify all dictatorships as dystopian, which maybe they are, you might have a lot more books in this genre!

      • Fignewton37 6 years ago

        I guess you could say that the novel is the aberrant development of a society in a microcosm, and is therefore dystopian. But overall, I think it is just about one small blip and not representative of society as a whole. So, I have to say it is not a true dystopian novel.

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        I think Lord of the Flies is more about the brutal aspects of nature instead of how warped society is, so I would say it is not a dystopian novel

      • Allan R. Wallace 7 years ago from Wherever Human Rights Reign

        The social structure was not complete enough to be dystopian. The same incidents could have played out thousands of ways. Golding uses tightly controlled situations to present what he considered disturbing truths.

        On the other hand, any government no matter how simple or benign, has to incorporate elements of a dystopia.

      • anonymous 8 years ago

        no i think its an awful book, maybe that's because my english teacher ruined the enjoyment of it.

      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)
      The Hunger Games (Blu-ray + Digital Copy)

      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.

      Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set
      Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set

      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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        • profile image

          superpanda 9 years ago

          Nice lens. I didn't even know dystopia was a word, much less a genre of books, hehe. I've read about half the books on the list, and they all scared me, haha :P Not to say I didn't like them, but they were freaky

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          anonymous 8 years ago

          How about The Road by Cormac McCarthy? Great book with a movie version soon to be released.

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          California_Dreamin 8 years ago

          Great lens: 5 stars and favorited, but I'm surprised that you didn't feature Yevgeny Zamyatin's "We", though you did include in the master list. As far as I know "We" is the first Dystopian novel. At any rate, it was obviously a model for both "Brave New World" and "1984". If you're interested, the ISBN-10 of a wonderful new translation of the book is 081297462X.

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          alberttwolf 7 years ago

          Nice lens.

          I strongly agree with 'Brave new world' being #1, it's a really good one.

          The movie 'Children of men' didn't impress me that much, but I haven't read the book yet. Hopefully one day I'll pick it up as well as Neuromancer. This W. Gibson's book is legendary in some circles, but for some reason I haven't got around to read it yet.

          I also found some other books in the list, that seem to be worth checking out.

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          anonymous 7 years ago


          what about books like a clockwork orange? such brilliance needs a say in this category, oh my brothers.

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          sciencefictionn 7 years ago

          I believe we like dystopian worlds because we fear these scenarios and we are fascinated by them at the same time... I tried to build up a dystopian world too. Excellent lens, 5!

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          lostinfiction 7 years ago

          ooh this is a fabulous topic for a lens!! Definitely also agree with the comments below about A Clockwork Orange. It deserves a place here. Btw have you looked up any of these books on the Infloox site? I daresay you'd find a wealth of similar books there who influenced these authors directly..

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          any dystopian books list without octavia butler was made by people that don't read as much as they think they do..

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          its surprising to me that 'One' by David karp never makes it onto any of these lists! great book!!

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          What about A Clockwork Orange?!

        • JeremyCrow profile image

          JeremyCrow 6 years ago

          I'm a huge dystopian fiction fan. Great lens!

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          LabKittyDesign 6 years ago

          How about Snow Crash? Too silly? How could Mafia pizza delivery be silly?

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          I like V for Vendetta it's one of the best dystopian films. Would Catch 22 count?

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          Congrats on your LOTD! I wasn't even aware of this term to define literature. Thanks for the great picks!

        • modz profile image

          modz 6 years ago

          Congratulations on LOTD!

        • Jkak profile image

          Jkak 6 years ago

          The Dispossessed by ursula k. le guin

        • Senora M profile image

          Senora M 6 years ago

          Cool lens. Congrats on the LotD!

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          ClinicallySigni 6 years ago

          Great lens..and I'm not just saying that because Big Brother is watching! Glad to see my favorite book, Brave New World gets its rightful place at the top. I haven't read it in years so time to dust it off and read it again! Nice work and congrats on LotD!

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          Airinka 6 years ago

          congratulations on lotd

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          religions7 6 years ago

          Wow, great lens - will be featuring this on my 'English as a second language' lens, as I learned a new word today. Dystopian novel :)

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          eleni15 6 years ago

          I love V for Vendetta!!!

        • religions7 profile image

          religions7 6 years ago

          BTW - shouldn't that be 'Utopian' in the introduction? I think that's a spelling mistake what you have there...

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          darciefrench lm 6 years ago

          Congrats on your lotd for this dystopic lens, and thanks for writing about an under spoken genre of books and novels.

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          MagpieNest 6 years ago

          Brilliant. Some superb books on there. And a couple I haven't read but probably should.

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          KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

          Excellent list. I've read many of these books and saw the movie "The Running Man." You've inspired me to read the book. I always prefer Stephen King's books to the movie versions. Congratulations on LOTD!

        • JenOfChicago LM profile image

          JenOfChicago LM 6 years ago

          Great list, you have a few of my favorites on there!

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          AdriennePetersen 6 years ago

          Loved this lens, congrats on LOTD!

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          Delia 6 years ago

          Congratulations on LOTD! Interesting subject and lens...

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          June Campbell 6 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

          I'm off to find Running Man at the library. I'm not usually a Stephen King fan but your review convinced me to check this one out.

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          GabrielaFargasch 6 years ago

          You have made me want to read them all......... Very interesting stuff!

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          iamradiantrose 6 years ago

          I have little pink post-it notes all over my house to remind me to take my little pink pills...I love your site. I knew about this genre of books but I didn't know what they were called. Thanks for the education.

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          happynutritionist 6 years ago

          Oh my, I'm a little afraid to write after reading the rules for leaving it okay to say that I've heard the word "dystopian" before, and it was interesting to learn what it meant??? Congrats on receiving LOTD:-) Have a nice Thanksgiving.

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          Jacqueline Marshall 6 years ago from Chicago area

          Love the lens. There's a couple I think I will re-read.

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          blujeanmomma 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

          I can't believe how many of the books (or as movies) that I read/seen but was not familiar with the term Dystopian. It's one of my favorite genre's.

          Now it is the pink or the white pills today?

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          Guided Abundance 6 years ago from Mobile, AL

          Learned something new here. Congrats on LOTD!

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          I know nothing about dystopian books, but where you wrote uptoias in the first paragraph of your intro, should that read utopias? Lord of the Flies is a book I always intended to read, but never got around to it. Perhaps soon!

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          Tonie Cook 6 years ago from USA

          Wonderfully informative.

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          Karyn LM 6 years ago

          The Hunger Games Trilogy was a great YA dystopian read.

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          Marelisa 6 years ago

          "The Handmaid's Tale" is one of the my favorite books. I'm featuring this lens on my NaNoWriMo lens. I really enjoyed reading this.

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          Cynthia Arre 6 years ago from Quezon City

          Lord of the Flies and 1984 are the first dystopian books I ever read (they were required reading back in high school) and they really shook me up. Can't say I enjoy reading them but my husband will love this list as this is his favorite genre in fiction. I love how you passionately talk about each book, I might just be convinced to give some of these titles another chance. Congrats on LotD ~Blessed~a

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          BuildingBlockToys 6 years ago

          Great lens. Congrats on winning LoTD!

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          eccles1 6 years ago

          V for Vendetta is another movie with a big message

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          Great collection of books on science and fiction.

          Congrats on LOTD

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          kt_glasses 6 years ago

          cool lens here! welll done.

        • ZablonMukuba profile image

          ZablonMukuba 6 years ago

          i loved the book 1984, it resonated well with me

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          Congratulations on your Lens of the Day! - Kathy

        • pboimare profile image

          pboimare 6 years ago

          Really cool idea for a lens. Fahrenheit and 1984 were some of my favorite stories growing up and great examples of dystopian novels, Good job! More pics would be nice though...

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          Thank you. This should be LOTM (Lens of the Month)

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          Jerry_David 6 years ago

          congrats for the glorious Lotd!!

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          onlinebusiness11 6 years ago

          This stuff is cool. Congrats on LOTD!

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          EshanMonteath 6 years ago

          Wow, thanks everyone! I go on vacation and the moment my back is turned one of my three favorite lenses I've made gets LOTD (that's 2/3!). Maybe I should go on vacation more often, lol!

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          VarietyWriter2 6 years ago

          Congrats on you LOTD!!

        • LouisaDembul profile image

          LouisaDembul 6 years ago

          Really nice lens, about great books!

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          Joan Hall 6 years ago from Los Angeles

          So many books, so little time! Congratulations on a well-deserved LOTD.

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          SEOtoppage 6 years ago

          well done, great article

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          Parleo 6 years ago

          Nice solid list. I am going to give The Iron Heel a try. I remember Lord of The Flies from school. Weird book to let children read I think.

        • AHERMITT LM profile image

          AHERMITT LM 6 years ago

          You have some great picks there... I have seen several of the movies and read a couple of the books. They all freaked me out sufficiently.

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          Deborah Swain 6 years ago from Rome, Italy

          congratulations on making LOTD - well deserved for such a well researched and presented lens!

        • jenms lm profile image

          jenms lm 6 years ago

          This is a great literary lens for LOTD! I would suggest The Giver and A Clockwork Orange as part of the top list, and you might add The Hunger Games Trilogy to the list of Dystopian novels. I enjoyed quite a few of these, but there are also quite a few intriguing titles that I have not read and will need to add to the insurmountable to-be-read list. Favorited!

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          Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

          Some great recommendations here, some I've read and some to discover. Congratulations on your LoTD!

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          I love your lens, great job!!!

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          Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

          I've read about half, and now with your helpful list I can find more great reads for the winter months. Cool LOTD.

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          Judy Goldsberry 6 years ago

          Fine piece of work, there is definitely a lot going on behind the scenes. I am still digesting the whole landing on the moon event.

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          Gurudoo 6 years ago

          Excellent work. I love the works of John Wyndham I bought a copy of the Day of the Triffids when I was 11 how sad is that? Well done.

        • Kyecerulian profile image

          Kyecerulian 6 years ago

          Congrats on Lens of the day! I love reading dystopian novels and this gave me a few ideas that hadn't yet made my reading list. Thanks!

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          I'm surprised the Bible isn't even listed.

        • journey103 profile image

          journey103 6 years ago from USA

          Great novels to go back and revisit in these modern time we live in. Congrats on such a unique LoTD idea!!!

        • jptanabe profile image

          Jennifer P Tanabe 6 years ago from Red Hook, NY

          Love your selection of dystopian books! Great job and congrats on your well deserved LotD!

        • Dianne Loomos profile image

          Dianne Loomos 6 years ago

          Congratulations on LOTD!

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          Congratulations on your LoTD :)

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          David Stone 6 years ago from New York City

          Great choice of writers. This isn't my favorite genre, but this material made me think of giving at least some of it a try. Thanks.

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          DebMartin 6 years ago

          What an interesting lens. And thanks for the new reading list.

        • dryder profile image

          dryder 6 years ago

          Excellent Lens and Congrats on LOTD!

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          James Jordan 6 years ago from Burbank, CA

          Down with Big Brother!! HAHA. I love all of these books. Is there something wrong with me? I always sort of like the 'bad' societies. But I love when they get broken down too. It is sort of like the monster (Frankenstein) thing I guess. Great lens and congrats on the lens of the day!

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          SofiaMann 6 years ago

          Thanks for the recommendations. Congratulations on LOTD.

        • nightbear lm profile image

          nightbear lm 6 years ago

          Wow! What an education I received here. Great lens, I am proud to say I have actually read a couple of these books. Very impressive body of work.

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          costinget 6 years ago

          Great lens for LoTD! Congrats!

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          justholidays 6 years ago

          Congratulations on your LOTD!

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          Robin S 6 years ago from USA

          Congrats on LotD!

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          Heather Burns 6 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

          LOL. Big Brother is watching us via gogle now:) A great list of dystopian novels.I've read a lot of them, but you gave me a couple of new ones. Congrats on LOTD!

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          dannystaple 6 years ago

          Absolutely brilliant. I do enjoy the dystopia's, and I'd thoroughly recommend reading Sir Thomas More's Utopia to see where the ideas of the fallen utopia comes from. Also - don't forget Gulliver's travels, where he see's many variations of a dystopia.

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          Amy Fricano 6 years ago from WNY

          Rats.. Thought I was wearing my invisibility cloak. Great lens.

        • JeffreyTymczak LM profile image

          JeffreyTymczak LM 6 years ago

          Thank You for the very informative lens! I loved it! I rated it up and joined your fan club, hope to see you in my fan club too! Great Job!!!


        • profile image

          ikewinski 6 years ago

          I'm glad to see John Brunner's "The Sheep Look Up" listed here. I read it shortly after I moved to Boulder Colorado (it is mostly set in the greater Denver area). It depicts a dystopia where the environment is so severely degraded that people need gas masks and other special protective clothing (protection from acid rain) to go outside. This novel may have been the inspiration for early "direct action" environmental groups.

          Also a note on the word 'utopia': it's literal meaning is "nowhere". So there's something a little redundant about the phrase "false utopia". All utopias are, by their etymological nature, false.

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          Peter Murray 6 years ago from Izmir, Turkey

          I saw V for Vendetta the other night - an interesting movie.

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          norma-holt 6 years ago

          Not my favorite genre but congrats on LOTD.; Now featured on Squidoo LOTD lenses.

        • mikerbowman profile image

          mikerbowman 6 years ago

          Cool lens! It was fun to participate in the "LOTF" debate/duel.

        • lasertek lm profile image

          lasertek lm 6 years ago

          Interesting lens topic! I have learned much today.

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          budgetgeek 6 years ago

          Thank you for sharing this post. i especially love 1984 and anything written by Aldous Huxley

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          Chazz 6 years ago from New York

          Great lens! Each and every book worth spending time with - as are some of the films based on them.

        • axiomsedge profile image

          axiomsedge 6 years ago

          Just wanted to let you know that your page has been included in our list of Squidoo Sci Fi/Fantasy Lenses over at A Lens on Sci Fi ( Go there to vote for your lens and to submit others that genre fans will like.

        • LabKittyDesign profile image

          LabKittyDesign 6 years ago

          The dystopian western: Blood Meridian.

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          Truly a one of the best in "Digital Vagabond Writing!" Thank you so much for taking the time to lay it out so eloquently! I saved the site on my RSS feeds to keep up-to-date with any new ensights that come down the pike. Amazingly arousing the interest of my reading selections.


          Pamela Eliowitz

          a.k.a. the "Viralnurse"

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          great list, but you could have included the 2009 book series "Chaos Walking". They are books for "young adults" but are amazing and i have many adult friends who also love them and i recommended them to my 65 year old father and he liked them so much he read the whole series in 5 days!

          P.S. do we really get sent to "re-education camp" if we say something bad about Big Brother. My work colleague (can't remember his name) just dreamt about a new leader taking over and was, vaporised. Don't tell anyone i said that.

        • EshanMonteath profile image

          EshanMonteath 6 years ago

          Thanks for the recommendation, Tom. This page was created before 2009, so that helps explain why "Chaos Walking" isn't mentioned yet. I'll have to give that a look. Appreciate the kind words and reading suggestion...however by suggesting we missed something, you are questioning our authority and it certainly must be in the best interest of the state to bring you in for brainwash---I mean counseling. Yes, counseling. That's the ticket.

        • cuteordeath profile image

          cuteordeath 5 years ago

          I keep meaning to read the Handmaid's Tale. Great list!

        • athomemomblog profile image

          Genesis Davies 5 years ago from Guatemala

          Good list, but there are some excellent newer books, as well. My favorite is the Hunger Games series, which is being made into a movie right now. Also, there is a new trilogy coming out (Wither is the first book) called Chemical Garden, which is about a world where a virus kills men by age 25 and women at 20.

        • SeanVernall LM profile image

          SeanVernall LM 5 years ago

          great list.. Handmaid's Tale is an absolute must for anyone...

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          How about Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut? That one's also awesome and freaking hilarious satire. But, great list, although, I would say cut the Stephen King/Richard Bachman crap.

        • singlemaltdram profile image

          singlemaltdram 5 years ago

          great, thought provoking lens! Lovely stuff!

        • franstan lm profile image

          franstan lm 5 years ago

          I had never heard of a sub-genre called Dystopia until now. Thanks for enlightening me.

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          edmondmajor 5 years ago

          Everyone here should check out punk rock band "Dystopia" ! really good music! sadly they arent a band anymore but their music still remains, just type their name into Youtube.

        • Inkhand profile image

          Inkhand 5 years ago

          I agree with this lens that Huxley's Brave New World is greatest piece of dystopian novel ever. Perhaps here is something to be said between the power science have over our digital age and Huxleyâs world. Just as the book says: âAll our science is just a cookery book, with an orthodox theory of cooking that nobody's allowed to question, and a list of recipes that mustn't be added to except by special permission from the head cook."- Brave New World, Ch. 16

        • Ann Hinds profile image

          Ann Hinds 5 years ago from So Cal

          The new TV is on the market. It has the internet and access to all social media sites. How very Fahrenheit 451. I am rereading all of these books because I think that as a homeschooling parent, my child needs to have the basic knowledge that they provide about society.

        • navalava lm profile image

          navalava lm 5 years ago

          I have read "1984" and "Brave New World", and I am saying "Brave New World" was one of the best books I have ever read. If not the best.

          Thank you for the list. I am now going to buy few of other books to read. Will write the impressions here.


        • AaronSquid profile image

          AaronSquid 5 years ago

          I think 1984 is one of the best books that I have read. It's messages and warnings are as relevant today as when it was first written.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          don't forget Margaret Atwood's pseudo-sequal to oryx and crake, "the year of the flood". it's amazing!

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          kadejonah 5 years ago

          Brave New World is my favorite but your list is missing my second favorite in Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. But all in all this is a great list I love dystopian novels.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          The "Trinity" is suspiciously absent the greatest and likely first Dystopia, Yvgeny Zamyatin's We. We is the template for 1984 and Brave New World and is still staggering in its scope.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          Here are a few more ideas to add to the list of dystopian novels:

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          Thank you for this list. I was trying to find a list of good dystopian/post-apocalypse novels, but due to the popularity of the "Hunger Games" books, all the lists were novels for Young Adults (teens). I have read many of the books on your list, and the others are excellent suggestions. Off to read "Brave New World"!

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          Feed by M.T. Anderson is one of my favorite dystopian books, but I almost never see it on any lists. I always wonder why.

        • Everyday-Miracles profile image

          Everyday-Miracles 5 years ago

          Haha! I love the above statements about big brother. Priceless!

          I don't have a copy of 1984 but I'm definitely going to need to get one!

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          JimDickens 5 years ago

          I have only read half of these 12 books. thank you for the new reading list

        • Budeni profile image

          Budeni 4 years ago

          I could kiss you in the face for this well done lens! Thank you so very much for the list of dystopian literature. I love distopias and have already read a few among the list, but I finally know now that there is so much more out there to read for me now! <3

        • jwcooney profile image

          jwcooney 4 years ago

          Great lens, I have read several of these books and really like the dystopian genre. The Time Machine was one of my favorites and the 1960s movie they made about it wasn't bad either!

        • Ashly Rain profile image

          Ashly Rain 4 years ago

          Great list! Glad you put Lord of The Flies in there (wouldn't have thought of that one myself). I guess a lot of people would want Hunger Games added now, you could add that to the voting list.

        • JoyfulReviewer profile image

          JoyfulReviewer 4 years ago

          Nice list and reviews ... very well presented. ~~Blessed~~

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          I can't believe this list doesn't mention WE.

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          I thank you for this most informative site on what is my favorite genre of writing. Keep up the good work!

        • ryokomayuka profile image

          ryokomayuka 4 years ago from USA

          I have heard of some of these books and the others I haven't. I look novel list.

        • robertzimmerman2 profile image

          Robert Zimmerman 4 years ago from SE Florida, USA

          Great Lens, thanks!

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          I can really appreciate that there were some novels that were written more recently on this list.

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          The Road is a fantastic novel. Possibly the heaviest book I have ever read.

        • JohnTannahill profile image

          John Tannahill 4 years ago from Somewhere in England

          Great list. I spent my early childhood in Billingham, County Durham, UK. Apparently, Huxley got the idea for Brave New World on a visit to the town. I can almost see why, but it wasn't a bad place.

        • HomeDecorKnight profile image

          HomeDecorKnight 4 years ago

          wow! nice lens, I like to read Dystopian Novels, Thanks

        • writergrey profile image

          writergrey 4 years ago

          Some wonderful selections here (and several of my favorites). Fahrenheit 451 in particular is a classic! Thanks.

        • EshanMonteath profile image

          EshanMonteath 4 years ago

          @JohnTannahill: Funny how inspiration for some of the darkest and most classic dystopias can come from seemingly innocuous areas, isn't it?

        • EshanMonteath profile image

          EshanMonteath 4 years ago

          @anonymous: Agreed - one of the wonderful things about dystopian literature is that there is so much of it out there and many modern works just keep adding themselves onto the list of classics. Thanks for sharing!

        • EshanMonteath profile image

          EshanMonteath 4 years ago

          @Budeni: Aww - that's so sweet. Thanks! Unless this is one of those emotionless dystopias and a trap....

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          I am listening to YOU on VSYGOTH'S beyonf the Knoll rebroadcast As I Read.

          I am the Dystpoian Schizophrenic Mind Mogual, Master of Cats and Ducks. Ta, ta.

        • kcsantos profile image

          kcsantos 4 years ago

          Great lens! Neuromancer & Lord of the flies are my fave

        • Brians Secretary profile image

          Brians Secretary 4 years ago

          The V for Vendetta graphic novel was pretty scary, maybe more so because I am from the UK, they did a great job with the film

        • someone111 profile image

          someone111 4 years ago

          Definitely some good stuff on here! Nice job!

        • Zhana21 profile image

          Zhana 4 years ago

          Great to see The Handmaid's Tale mentioned. But you did not mention that many of the measures she wrote about were enacted in Afghanistan under the Taliban. Truly scary stuff.

        • Teddi14 LM profile image

          Teddi14 LM 3 years ago

          I read A Brave New World when I was a senior in high school. I remember loving it.

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          anonymous 3 years ago

          Where is the dystopian Novel call WE from Zamiatine? It´s mother of all dystopian´s novels

        • someone111 profile image

          someone111 3 years ago

          Fantastic lens! I've read a lot of the novels you have listed for your main list, but there are a few that I haven't! I also love that you included that bonus list with even more books! I'll definitely have to stop back for ideas next time I need a book to read!

        • mcsburlea profile image

          mcsburlea 3 years ago

          nice lens, thanks for sharing the list of books with the world :)

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          anonymous 3 years ago

          Maybe I missed it, it was a rather long list. But wouldn't "The Giver" or other Louis Lowry novels such as "Gathering Blue" be considered dystopian? I'm just surprised they're not on there, they are very popular books.

        • KateFeredayEshete profile image

          Kate Fereday Eshete 3 years ago from Ethiopia

          Thank you for a very interesting lens. Reading through your list, I realise that I have quite a few of the books mentioned but haven't got round to reading them yet, so you've inspired me to make a start with Fahrenheit 451, which I bought cheaply from a street vendor in Addis Ababa several years ago (I live in Ethiopia).

        • Arachnea profile image

          Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

          Very well written lens. I did a brief look-see last week into dystopia. Very brief. I would have liked to have found your article then. Well, better late than never.

        • Scott A Butler profile image

          Scott A. Butler 2 years ago from England

          Hunger Games is the best dystopia series I have read in my opinion.

          Just to note, Brave New World was inspired by a similar, earlier dystopia novel called Erewhon (a book written by my ancestor). Aldous Huxley openly admitted that he got the ideas from the book Erewhon and was inspired by its author, Samuel Butler. :)

        • limpet profile image

          Ian Stuart Robertson 2 years ago from London England

          Jack London during his seafaring days landed in the port of London(now long gone) and before shipping out decided to spend a prolonged period as a 'down and out' amongst the poorest in the East End. This at a time when the sun never set on the British Empire. The reigning monarch of the time Queen Victoria would have had no knowledge of her such destitute subjects. They had nothing and survives on 'scilly' a corse gruel dolled out by the Salvation Army. The only escape was the Workhouse where they could earn tuppence to lodge overnight in a doss house. At least now we are cushioned by social services.

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