14 best dystopian novels everyone should read

The best dystopian novels are not flighted to other worlds. Rather, they are a reflection of our world and what may happen in the future. These stories, steeped in cultural criticism and endlessly entertaining, often serve as a warning of what can happen if our worst impulses are not held back.

Our list of the best dystopian novels offers some escapism, but also, just as important, a plan to resist in case things go awry. Here are 14 books to get you started when your mind wants to wander in dark places.

14 PHOTOS

14 best dystopian novels everyone should read

1. Cormac McCarthy Road.

Father and son travel the post-apocalyptic wasteland in McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

14 best dystopian novels everyone should read

2. Don't let me go, Kazuo Ishiguro.

Katie, Ruth, and Tommy spend their youth in a secluded English boarding school, away from the outside world. It is only after Ruth and Tommy escape that they learn why they are isolated.

14 best dystopian novels everyone should read

3. Station Eleven Emily St. John Mandel.

A lyrical novel about a group of survivors who travel through the countryside during a performance after a flu pandemic wiped out most of civilization.

14 best dystopian novels everyone should read

4. The story of the handmaid Margaret Atwood.

In Gilead, democracy is replaced by Christian fundamentalism, women are deprived of bodily autonomy, and a quiet underground resistance arises. Thirty years after publication, Atwood's original feminist dystopia continues to serve as a disturbing mirror to our present.

14 best dystopian novels everyone should read

5. V stands for Vendetta of Alan Moore and David Lloyd.

This chillingly memorable graphic novel is set in a future totalitarian England. It tells the story of an anonymous revolutionary hell that seeks to use anarchism to destroy fascism.

14 best dystopian novels everyone should read

6. Confrontation with Stephen King.

King's epic focuses on wiping out ninety-nine percent of the world's population after a deadly virus was accidentally released from a government laboratory. After that, society collapses and warring groups of survivors revolt - and this is only the beginning of the horrors.

14 best dystopian novels everyone should read

7.451 degrees Fahrenheit by Ray Bradbury

This incendiary classic - and bibliophile's worst nightmare - takes place in a distant future, where the powers that be banned and burned the world's most powerful thing: books. The written word and the critical thinking it inspires must be outlawed and destroyed in order to completely control the masses.

14 best dystopian novels everyone should read

8. Battle Royale from Takami Kushun.

Left on a desert island, their tyrannical government forces a class of junior high school students to fight to the death. Imagine the bloodier and more ruthless Hunger Games.

14 best dystopian novels everyone should read

9. Brave New World of Aldous Huxley.

The mind-blowing saga of the writer-philosopher is a futuristic, painless society created with genetically modified babies, psychological manipulation, drugs, and a social hierarchy based on intelligence. Huxley's most famous novel reminds us of the dangers of complacency.

14 best dystopian novels everyone should read

10. 1984 by George Orwell.

No list of dystopian novels would be complete without Orwell's terrifying classics of surveillance, censorship, and "mental crime" - and the man dreaming of rebellion.

14 best dystopian novels everyone should read

11. Blindness of Jose Saramago.

At night, a significant percentage of the unnamed city's population wakes up without seeing. The epidemic of blindness is never explained, and yet the population has to contend with its new condition. A misleading reading that mimics the lives of the protagonists, Blindness points to the fragility of our society and how quickly things can fall apart.

14 best dystopian novels everyone should read

12. George Orwell's barnyard.

Yes, the main characters of this book are talking animals, but when telling a story on a farm, the allegory of how society is sliding towards totalitarianism manifests itself even more effectively.

14 best dystopian novels everyone should read

13. We are Evgeny Zamyatin.

We, a novel written in the early years of the Soviet Union and published in New York in 1923, is said to have inspired George Orwell's 1984 and Aldous Huxley Brave New World. People don't have names, they are called numbers (D503 is our protagonist).

14 best dystopian novels everyone should read

14. The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins.

How could we forget The Hunger Games, a fast-paced youth book with a shocking premise: Each year, a group of teenagers fight to the death in a complex arena. The bloodbath is broadcast on television throughout the country. After her sister was summoned, Katniss Everdeen from the underprivileged 13th District of Panem volunteered in her place and attempted to outsmart the deadly game.

Keywords: Dystopian novels | Books | Science | World | Book list | Culture | Stories | Criticism

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