The Handmaid's Tale

Top 10 Best Dystopian Books

Who doesn't like a good dystopia?

by Iva Rizova

Dystopian books usually present society in the conditions of a non-existent dehumanized world. We often underestimate the genre of dystopia, thinking that such works are too unrealistic. 1984 refutes this claim by predicting the future. That is why we have gathered ten of the best representatives of the genre. These are some excellent literature.

1984, George Orwell


Orwell’s book is considered a classic in the genre. It was published in 1949 and focuses on totalitarianism and the resulting social manipulation and restriction of human freedoms. 1984 turned out to be an ominous prediction of the future. To illustrate the totalitarian regime in the novel, Orwell used Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany as prototypes. Today it has become one of the obligatory books that everyone should read not to forget the past. However, 1984 is read-only once in a lifetime for the simple reason that you are unlikely to have the courage to redeploy it. The dystopian novels by George Orwell surely are something else. 

Animal Farm, George Orwell

Animal Farm

The Animal Farm is George Orwell’s other foundational work. The allegorical novel tells the story of a group of animals who rebel against their master, and their goal is to create a society where everyone has equal rights. Over time, however, some animals become more equal than others. Although it is only about 100 pages long, Animal Farm uniquely recreates the undemocratic regimes and greed for power. It is no coincidence that Time magazine named the book one of the 100 best English-language novels.

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale

The Canadian writer takes us to a totalitarian and patriarchal country called New England. The story tells of the life of a social group of handmaids whose only task is to produce children for the male ruling class of commanders. Among the topics discussed were women’s obedience in a patriarchal society and the struggle for gender equality and fundamental human rights. The novel won numerous awards and was screened in the form of a series, and in 2019 the sequel was released – The Testaments.

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury introduces a future American society in which books are illegal and all specimens found are burned by firefighters. The strange title of the book actually symbolizes the temperature at which the paper ignites itself. The relentless censorship of literature and the destruction of knowledge force the protagonist to quit his long-term job and do the exact opposite of what is required of firefighters in this dystopian world. The novel has won numerous awards and continues to inspire plays, games, and film adaptations. It remains one of our favorite dystopian novel books.

Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

Brave New World

The action in the book takes place in the distant future 26th century. Technology development has reached its peak. Artificial reproduction, eugenics, and hypnopedia are crucial for society. All this has led to creating a seemingly crossed world without wars, disease, and poverty. People are carefree and constantly happy, but they have lost the ability to experience strong feelings and spiritual pleasure. Brave New World has been the subject of criticism and censorship and has even become part of the American Library Association’s list of the 100 banned books.

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games

The famous film series is based on the trilogy of Suzanne Collins – one of the best dystopian books authors. The first two books (The Hunger Games and Catching Fire) are New York Times bestsellers, and the third one (Mockingjay) topped all bestseller charts when it came out. The action takes place in a fictional North American state, uniting the wealthy Capitol and 13 areas with varying degrees of poverty. Each year, children from poor areas are chosen by lot to take part in the obligatory spectacular death match known as the Hunger Games. The goal is to provide entertainment for the Capitol and remind the poor areas of the power of the wealth. Such amazing dystopian books!

A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange,

Anthony Burgess is the author of this dystopian and terrifying novel. The book tells the story of a near-future society whose culture is characterized by extreme violence. The main character is a teenager who shares with readers his forcible acts and his relationship with the state authorities. Less than a decade after the novel was published (1962), the film adaptation appeared (1971). Because of the violence, the movie was met with mixed reviews and was even banned in some countries. But later, it was re-evaluated and received four Oscar nominations.

Not a Drop to Drink, Mindy McGinnis

Not a Drop to Drink

With her impressive debut, Mindy McGinnis dares to show us a natural dystopian world in which water is in short supply, depicting what it is like to be surrounded by life-giving fluid and at the same time to be thirsty. The book illustrates the bleak future, the return to the primitive, where you kill to live. Even though it has been declared a post-apocalyptic youth novel, Not a Drop to Drink discusses complex topics and makes you ask yourself important questions. How much is life worth? Is humanity the price we have to pay to survive? It must be one of the best dystopian novels by American authors.

Lord of the Flies, William Golding

Lord of the Flies

Look no further if you’re searching for dystopian books best sellers. Initially, the manuscript of Nobel Prize winner William Golding was rejected by publishers because it was an absurd and uninteresting fantasy. In the end, one publisher agreed to put it out, but not before a significant revision was made. Despite the slow sale of the first edition, Lord of the Flies later became a bestseller and inspiration for several film productions. In addition, today, Golding’s work is part of many charts and lists of the best dystopian books of the twentieth century.

High-Rise, J. G. Ballard


Ballard describes the gradual disintegration of an idyllic and lavish life in a luxury high-rise building and the ensuing chaos. This block, located on the outskirts of London, provides its residents with all amenities: a hairdresser, a school, a gym, swimming pools, a restaurant, a bank, a supermarket, etc. The presence of so many facilities isolates the people from the outside world. They become irritated by insignificant things, which leads to growing conflicts and open war between the lower, middle, and upper floors.

We deliberately started the chart with Orwell’s notorious work, which turned out to predict the future to emphasize the importance of dystopian books. Given the novels involved, we strongly hope that none of them turn out to be prophetic.

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