The Greatest Dystopian Novels

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 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.

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  • Nineteen Eighty-Four
    1
    • First Published: 1949-06-08
    • Subjects: Brainwashing, Literature, Classics, English Language, English Literature
    • Genres (Book): Utopian and dystopian fiction, Social science fiction, Political fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
  • Fahrenheit 451
    2
    Ray Bradbury
    • First Published: 1953
    • Subjects: Bibliophilia, American science fiction, Literature, Book burning, Classics
    • Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Utopian and dystopian fiction, Children's literature, Dystopia, Fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
  • Animal Farm
    3
    George Orwell
    • First Published: 1945-08-17
    • Subjects: Monarch, Literary, Literature, Classics, Drama
    • Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Roman à clef, Satire, Children's literature, Fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
  • Brave New World
    4
    Aldous Huxley
    • Subjects: Literary, Technology, Brainwashing, Literature, Classics
    • Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Utopian and dystopian fiction, Children's literature, Dystopia, Fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
  • Lord of the Flies
    5
    William Golding
    • First Published: 1954
    • Subjects: Monarch, Ethics, Literature, Young adult, Classics
    • Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Allegory, Fiction, Young adult literature, Novel
    • Original Language: English Language
  • A Clockwork Orange
    6
    Anthony Burgess
    • First Published: 1962
    • Subjects: Brainwashing, Classics
    • Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Utopian and dystopian fiction, Satire, Dystopia, Fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
  • The Handmaid's Tale
    7
    Margaret Atwood
    • First Published: 1985
    • Subjects: Feminism
    • Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Utopian and dystopian fiction, Dystopia, Feminist science fiction, Novel
    • Original Language: English Language
    • First Published: 1968
    • Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
  • V for Vendetta
    9
    Alan Moore
    • Subjects: England, Anarchism
    • Genres (Book): Science Fiction, Speculative fiction, Humour
  • The Giver
    10
    Lois Lowry
    • First Published: 1993
    • Subjects: Ethics, Literature, Young adult, Classics, Children's literature
    • Genres (Book): Social science, Speculative fiction, Soft science fiction, Utopian and dystopian fiction, Children's literature
    • Original Language: English Language
  • The Hunger Games
    11
    Suzanne Collins
    • First Published: 2008-09-14
    • Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Utopian and dystopian fiction, Alternate history, Young adult literature, Adventure fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
  • The Road
    12
    Cormac McCarthy
    • First Published: 2006-09-26
    • Subjects: Survival skills, Literary, Adventure, United States of America
    • Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, Fiction, Literary fiction, Science Fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
  • The Running Man
    13
    Stephen King
    • Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Dystopia, Science Fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
  • Watchmen
    14
  • Catching Fire
    15
    Suzanne Collins
    • First Published: 2009-09-01
    • Genres (Book): Utopian and dystopian fiction, Dystopia, Young adult literature, Adventure fiction, Science Fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
  • Logan's Run
    16
    George Clayton Johnson, William F. Nolan
    • First Published: 1967
    • Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Dystopia, Science Fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
  • Mockingjay
    17
    Suzanne Collins
    • First Published: 2010-08-24
    • Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Utopian and dystopian fiction, Thriller, Young adult literature, Adventure fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
  • The Children of Men
    18
    • First Published: 1992
    • Subjects: Human extinction, Infertility
    • Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Utopian and dystopian fiction, Dystopia
    • Original Language: English Language
  • A Scanner Darkly
    19
    Philip K. Dick
    • First Published: 1977
    • Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Roman à clef, Dystopia, Psychological novel, Fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
  • Ready Player One
    20
    Ernest Cline
    • First Published: 2011-08-16
    • Genres (Book): Science Fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
  • The Long Walk
    21
    Stephen King
    • Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Dystopia, Horror Film, Science Fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
  • The Maze Runner
    22
    James Dashner
    • First Published: 2009-10-06
    • Genres (Book): Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, Dystopia, Young adult literature, Science Fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
  • Divergent
    23
    Veronica Roth
    • First Published: 2011-04-25
    • Genres (Book): Utopian and dystopian fiction, Dystopia, Young adult literature, Science Fiction
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz
    24
    Walter M. Miller, Jr.
    • First Published: 1960
    • Subjects: American science fiction, Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, Christianity, Classics, Monasticism
    • Genres (Book): Post-holocaust, Speculative fiction, Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, Fiction, Science Fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
  • Starship Troopers
    25
    Robert A. Heinlein
    • First Published: 1959-12
    • Subjects: Military
    • Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Fiction, Science Fiction, Philosophical fiction
    • Original Language: English Language