Top 15 Astonishing Dystopian Novels Of All Time

Who doesn’t love dystopian novels? They give us a vision of the upcoming world that is at once eerily familiar and far too horrible. They more or less make us realize that what we are doing to our planet, our ecosystem, the whole of nature, and how wronging each other in the name of power will result in nothing but evil.

Top 15 Astonishing Dystopian Novels Of All Time

1. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

fahrenheit 451
Dystopian Novels
source: amazon

In 1953, the world received, through Ray Bradbury, a masterpiece that is Fahrenheit 451. The classic dystopian novel presents a terrifying version of the world where books are burnt on orders. Imagine a world without books, where powerful characters don’t impart their powerful words, and the earth gets no better. The protagonist Guy Montag is a firefighter, and thus, he must burn the books. The book is so richly written that the world and its horrors come alive and haunt you— undoubtedly one of the best dystopian novels the world has witnessed.

2. 1984, by George Orwell

source: The New York Times

This dystopian novel is widely popular among dystopian genre lovers. In 1949, this book portrayed a dystopian world through the eyes of Winston Smith, who is a part of the society more or less ruled by the leader of the Party called Big Brother. When individuality itself is banned, the brave Winston defied the rules and expressed himself, all the while pursuing the woman he loves. A disturbing read, indeed, but it is so worth it.

3. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale
source: amazon

This story, written in 1985, is set in a near-future New England in a totalitarian state, known as Gilead, which has taken over the United States government by overthrowing it. The story explores the lives of subjugated women in a patriarchal society and their very own ways to defy the rules, their personal acts of freedom and independence in such a society.

4. Brave New World, By  Aldous Huxley

Brave New World
source: amazon

This dystopian novel projects a futurist world society called the World State, which centers itself on science and efficiency. Individuality and emotions are extracted from children’s brains, and they are left not much more than machines themselves. There are no relationships of any kind because there are no emotions to guide them. Set in such a horrifying time, the book breaks down the dangers of giving in to new and exciting technologies that flood the market every day.

5. Blindness, by José Saramago 

source: amazon

Set in the 1990s, the book describes a futuristic world plagued by a mysterious and incurable white blindness. The story is woven around the chaos that breaks loose on the widespread plague- the deaths, the scarcities of food, water, and shelter, the breakdown of order and laws, exploitation by criminals, and much more. It paints this horrifying and captive image of a world with everything to do with the symbolism of already existing flaws in the system and our blindness towards it. ‘

6. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange
source: amazon

This truly terrifying and disturbing dystopian novel may not be the most comfortable read on this list, but it sure is one of the best dystopian novels ever written. The story is set in a time when the average youth’s anger manifests itself into something a thousand times more horrible. Alex is one such youth, and the story is filled with violence, psychological manipulation, and its own language made from Russian and Shakespearean loanwords. This book has detailed descriptions of some gory scenes, and it is not for ones with a weak heart.

7. The Children Of Men, by P. D. James

The Children Of Men
source: amazon

This dystopian novel, written in 1992, is set in a 2021 society where infertility has broken the back of the world. When the last people born on the earth get killed in a pub brawl, the world finds itself gasping for the future that doesn’t seem to exist without more individuals. Amid this chaos, historian Theo Faron is caught up in a political fight with his cousin, who is dictatorial. But the struggle manifests itself into something else entirely, and Theo is left wondering if there is a future after all.

8. The Drowned World, by  J. G. Ballard 

The Drowned World
source: eco lit books

Written in the year 1962 and set in the year 2145, this dystopian novel explores what is one of the major global problems of today- global warming. It is the year 2145, and the effects of global warming are rising in their full glory, as the oceans ravage the earth, swallowing it one city at a time, and mutation has changed animals into monsters. Dr. Robert Kerans sets off to research the un-mapped, uncharted, and uninhabited territory of the wide world with his team.

9. We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin 

source: amazon

This dystopian novel takes us into a futuristic world where people are nameless, emotionless, and have no passion. Each individual is identified with a unique set of numbers and letters. Among this heartless crowd of beings that are hardly human, mathematician D-503 realizes that he thinks, reacts, and does things differently. In exploring his own truth and society, many aspects of the future are introduced and explained. The world where humans are essentially androids. Sounds pretty fascinating to me!

10. Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go
source: amazon

The story travels within the memories of a caretaker in her thirties and reminiscing about her past. Though it sounds pretty much like a YA novel, don’t be too quick to judge because the details of the society that she lives in emerge slowly and paint the picture of a community, so different yet resembling so much to us that the book and the beautifully simple way it is written haunts you for days after reading it.

11. Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel 

Station Eleven
source: amazon

This captivating dystopian novel is not set in one timeline; instead, it jumps from one to another consistently according to the characters: a dead actor, his first wife, the paparazzi who tried to save him, his close friend, and a young aspiring actress who witnessed his death. As if this is not enough, their lives are also plagued by a deadly flu that has succeeded in wiping out most of the population of earth.

12. The Time Machine, by  H. G. Wells

The Time Machine
source: amazon

This remarkable dystopian novel tells the tale of a Victorian scientist who has built a Time Machine, which he uses to go far off in the future only to discover a world full of carefree, childlike people. He devotes his time to uncovering and discovering humankind’s development that has lead to this society, but when he returns to the place where he parked his time machine, he finds it empty. The grim and exciting, all at once, adventure then begins.

13. Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood 

oryx and crake
source: NC state university

The novel follows two friends Jimmy and Crake, who one day find themselves on the wrong side of the internet as a youthful experiment only to have their lives altered forever. In their adulthood, an odd pandemic strikes that wipes out most of the population. The remaining people are said to be genetically better. At the heart of the novel are the scientific and technological advances and inventions that are enough to keep you hooked.

14. Parable Of the Sower, by Octavia E. Butler

Parable Of the Sower
source: Abrams and Chronicle

Set in the grim and destroyed future of the world, this dystopian novel describes humanity’s fall as various climatic catastrophes and natural disasters prompted by the civilization wipe out everything on the earth, except for some gated communities. It is such a community which Lauren Olamina is a part of. Yet her community finds itself in threat, and as Lauren tries to prop up what has remained of humanity, will the world she knows fall like ashes?

15. The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham

The Chrysalids
source: amazon UK

The civilization has collapsed, the shining age of technology has finally flickered and went out, leaving only the dark age afterward. The world is wiped clean of humans. Only a few remain and believe strongly that only the strict following of normalcy can bring back the world they once knew. But subsequently, mutations arise in these humans, and they are acted against. But in the middle of it all is David, an authoritative figure with a community to save and his mutation to hide.

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