Category Archives: Lists

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

Post-Apocalyptic Fiction: Essential Reading

I will be listing books individually with notes, but first here is a list of just the essential reads. If you’re new to the genre of post-apocalyptic fiction, this is where to start. This list gives a good cross-section of types of post-apocalyptic books, with examples from science fiction, horror, and mainstream writers.

  1. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
  2. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
  3. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  4. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
  5. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  6. Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
  7. The Postman by David Brin
  8. On the Beach by Nevil Shute
  9. World War Z by Max Brooks
  10. The Stand by Stephen King
  11. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
  12. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  13. Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
  14. Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban
  15. Lilith’s Brood by Octavia Butler

Music for the Post-Apocalypse

Here’s a playlist for the end of the world:

  • David Bowie, “Five Years”
  • Barry McGuire, “Eve of Destruction”
  • Blue Oyster Cult, “Don’t Fear the Reaper”
  • Bob Dylan, “All Along the Watchtower”
  • Coldplay, “A Rush of Blood to the Head”
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Bad Moon Rising”
  • Crosby, Stills and Nash, “Wooden Ships”
  • Crowded House, “Don’t Dream It’s Over”(because of that scene in The Stand miniseries)
  • Morrissey, “Everyday Is Like Sunday”
  • Neil Young, “Don’t Let It Bring You Down”
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, “The Weeping Song”
  • Nick Drake, “Pink Moon”
  • Peter Gabriel, “Here Comes the Flood”
  • Pink Floyd, “Two Suns in the Sunset”
  • Prince, “1999”
  • Rolling Stones, “Gimme Shelter”
  • Ryan Adams, “Afraid Not Scared”
  • Sisters of Mercy, “Black Planet”
  • Steeley Dan, “King of the World”
  • Talking Heads, “Swamp”
  • TV on the Radio, “Staring at the Sun”
  • White Stripes, “Seven Nation Army”

A more complete list of apocalyptic songs at Wikipedia.