Culture

The Greatest Dystopian Novels 

Walter Graves
Originally by
Updated April 28, 2020 19.3k votes 2.4k voters 29.6k views 61 items

List Rules Novels set in a fictional society that is (in some important way) frightening

Dystopias have become a fascinating genre over the last century as disillusioned writers witnessed and reacted against imperialism, two world wars, including the Nazi and Stalin regime and the treacherous Holocaust. These writers played with the darkest sides of humanity, unearthed by war and technology and used satiric irony to present a destructive vision of the future. Dystopian novels are characterized by a lack of individual freedom, heroes that know something is wrong and contain many WTF moments that make you rethink the current status quo and become aware of the constructed nature of our values and standards.This dystopian novel list is nowhere near a complete list of all dystopian books, but on it are some of the greatest dystopian works of literature of all time (though most is from the 20th and 21st centuries). If you're a fan of H.G. Wells or George Orwell but are looking for more recent content, the best dystopian books list is the place to be. If your favorite dystopian novel isn'€™t on the list, make sure to add it so others can find their favorite new read.

If you want dystopia without the reading, check out the greatest dystopian and near-future movies or get some synopses on the 13 best dystopian novels.

list ordered by
1
Nineteen Eighty-Four is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
carlybobarly added George Orwell
2
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
Ray Bradbury
3
Animal Farm is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
George Orwell
4
Brave New World is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
Aldous Huxley
5
Lord of the Flies is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
William Golding
6
The Handmaid's Tale is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
Margaret Atwood
7
The Hunger Games is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
Suzanne Collins
8
A Clockwork Orange is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
Anthony Burgess
9
The Giver is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
Lois Lowry
10
Catching Fire is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
Suzanne Collins
11
Do Androids Dream of Ele... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
12
The Road is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
UrsulaScrimgeour added Cormac McCarthy
13
V for Vendetta is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
midnightq2 added Alan Moore
14
Watchmen is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
PeteBoyle added
15
Mockingjay is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
Suzanne Collins
16
The Children of Men is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
JustinShim added P. D. James
17
Divergent is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
Veronica Roth
18
The Maze Runner is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
James Dashner
19
Ready Player One is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
exoticmatter83 added Ernest Cline
20
Logan's Run is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
George Clayton Johnson, William F. Nolan
21
Starship Troopers is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
Robert A. Heinlein
22
Insurgent is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
Veronica Roth
23
Never Let Me Go is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
Kazuo Ishiguro
24
The City of Ember is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
Jeanne DuPrau
25
A Scanner Darkly is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Dystopian Novels
Joseph Stanley added Philip K. Dick