Dystopian Fiction: Essential Reading

A dystopia — a oppressive, totalitarian, or otherwise undesirable society — represents an end as well, an end to the type of society we have envisioned and tried to create in the so-called real world. In that sense, dystopias represent a type of apocalypse, an end of the world as we know it. (Here’s a longer analysis of the differences among the sub-genres.)

I will be listing individual books with notes, but to get started, here are the most essential dystopian reads. It represents a cross-section of types of dystopias aimed at children, teens, and adult readers. If you’ve never tried this genre, this a good place to start.

  1. 1984 by George Orwell
  2. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  3. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  4. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  6. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  7. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  8. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
  9. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
  10. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  11. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  12. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  13. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  14. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  15. The Children of Men by P.D. James
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About Shannon

Writer, copyeditor, reviewer, and web content developer. View all posts by Shannon

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