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Top 21 Dystopian Books

Utopian fiction is the creation of an ideal world, or utopia. Dystopian fiction is creation of a nightmare world, or dystopia. Here is a list of the top 21 dystopian and post-apocalyptic books.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick

By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn't afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep...

They even built humans.

Emigrants to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn't want to be identified, they just blended in.

Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to "retire" them. But when cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

A searing, post apocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

The Children of Men by P. D. James

Told with P. D. James's trademark suspense, insightful characterization, and riveting storytelling, The Children of Men is a story of a world with no children and no future. The human race has become infertile, and the last generation to be born is now adult. Civilization itself is crumbling as suicide and despair become commonplace. Oxford historian Theodore Faron, apathetic toward a future without a future, spends most of his time reminiscing. Then he is approached by Julian, a bright, attractive woman who wants him to help get her an audience with his cousin, the powerful Warden of England. She and her band of unlikely revolutionaries may just awaken his desire to live . . . and they may also hold the key to survival for the human race.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.

The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The 'tributes' are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.

When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

The terrifyingly prophetic novel of a post-literate future.

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

The classic dystopian novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity.

Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which, decades on from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

THE MAZE RUNNER is the first of three novels set in a dark, dystopian, post-apocalyptic world ravaged by disease. With exceptional writing, intense dialogue, and impeccably written action scenes, it’s no wonder this novel of barely three years is already in line for a movie! You’ll have no trouble getting sucked into the imaginative storyline, and with two sequels to enjoy (SCORCH TRIALS and THE DEATH CURE) and an upcoming prequel (THE KILL ORDER), there’s no reason to stop at the novel that started it all.

The protagonist, Thomas, wakes up in a lift with no memories beside his own name. He arrives in the Glade, a massive square where children, known as Gladers, live and work in an attempt to survive long enough to find out where—and who—they are. Thomas is quickly thrown into The Maze, a giant stone labyrinth where finding his way out is the least of his worries: The massive walls of The Maze shift and change each day, and the corridors are guarded by hideous, spike-adorned monsters that are lethally poisonous to the touch. When a young girl is sent to the Glade—the first and only girl ever to arrive—she comes bearing a message that changes everything the Gladers thought they knew about The Maze and themselves. With the clock ticking down on the lives of everyone in the Glade, Thomas must unearth the innumerous secrets behind The Maze, the Gladers, and the mysterious corporation responsible for everything and known only as “WICKED.”

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Saba lives in Silverlake, a wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms where her family scavenge from landfills left by the long-gone Wrecker civilization. After four cloaked horsemen kidnap her beloved twin brother Lugh, she teams up with daredevil Jack and the Free Hawks, a girl gang of Revolutionaries.

Saba learns that she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Saba and her new friends stage a showdown that change the course of her civilization.

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

In the One State of the great Benefactor, there are no individuals, only numbers. Life is an ongoing process of mathematical precision, a perfectly balanced equation. Primitive passions and instincts have been subdued. Even nature has been defeated, banished behind the Green Wall. But one frontier remains: outer space. Now, with the creation of the spaceship Integral, that frontier -- and whatever alien species are to be found there -- will be subjugated to the beneficent yoke of reason.

One number, D-503, chief architect of the Integral, decides to record his thoughts in the final days before the launch for the benefit of less advanced societies. But a chance meeting with the beautiful I-330 results in an unexpected discovery that threatens everything D-503 believes about himself and the One State. The discovery -- or rediscovery -- of inner space...and that disease the ancients called the soul.

A page-turning SF adventure, a masterpiece of wit and black humor that accurately predicted the horrors of Stalinism, We is the classic dystopian novel. Its message of hope and warning is as timely at the end of the twentieth century as it was at the beginning.

After the Fall: Tales of the Apocalypse

A desolate landscape, wracked with upheaval, the uncanny nature of a place once so familiar. A revelation of what was formerly undisclosed, the harbingers of apocalypse are edging ever closer...

The wasteland of abandoned memories, the end of the world or a chance for a new beginning. Be it a personal apocalypse, or one of great cataclysm, the stories that arise from the rubble are tales of aftermath and tales of survival. Bridging the gap between Science Fiction and Horror, the gothic overtones of the apocalyptic imagination are explored to their full extent in these short stories.

After the Fall is a collection of twenty short stories, all apocalyptic or dystopian in nature. Some bringing laughter and others bringing tears, but each unique in its interpretation of the theme.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

They say that the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever. And I’ve always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I’d rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.

Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

An unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey–with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake–through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

As children, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life, and for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special--and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Broken Worlds: Dystopian Stories

A dystopian reality can sometimes turn out to be as powerful and strong as it can be fragile, collapsing in on itself from one second to the next. As a race, we are fascinated with what comes next, what's over the hill and, inevitably, what happens if we're left all alone. How can things go on? What lessons can we learn?

Broken Worlds takes a peep into an all too possible future. Narration and style change from story to story, but the core of this volume is human emotion. Coloured by their cultures and backgrounds, the storytellers featured in this volume take the idea of a society at extremes and weave a variety of outcomes.

The Running Man by Stephen King

The Running Man is set within a dystopian future in which the poor are seen more by the government as worrisome rodents than actual human beings. The protagonist of The Running Man, Ben Richards, is quick to realize this as he watches his daughter, Cathy, grow more sick by the day and tread closer and closer to death. Desperate for money to pay Cathy’s medical bills, Ben enlists himself in a true reality style game show where the objective is to merely stay alive.

Neuromancer by William Gibson

The Matrix is a world within the world, a global consensus- hallucination, the representation of every byte of data in cyberspace . . .

Case had been the sharpest data-thief in the business, until vengeful former employers crippled his nervous system. But now a new and very mysterious employer recruits him for a last-chance run. The target: an unthinkably powerful artificial intelligence orbiting Earth in service of the sinister Tessier-Ashpool business clan. With a dead man riding shotgun and Molly, mirror-eyed street-samurai, to watch his back, Case embarks on an adventure that ups the ante on an entire genre of fiction.

Hotwired to the leading edges of art and technology, Neuromancer ranks with 1984 and Brave New World as one of the century's most potent visions of the future.

Uglies by Devin Grayson, Scott Westerfeld, and Steven Cummings

Three hundred years after an apocalyptic-sized disaster that reshaped the world, Tally is about to turn 16 and pretty. In her contained, isolated, self-sufficient city - just like all the other contained, isolated, self-sufficient cities - the operation to make her pretty will be intensive, extreme and, as far as she and everyone else alive is concerned, absolutely worth it. Once she's pretty, she'll go to live across the river in New Pretty Town and party the nights away, loved by all.

It's a shock to her, then, to find that her friend Shay doesn't want to be pretty, and doesn't think she's ugly now. Of course she's ugly - everyone's ugly before the operation. But Shay runs away to the mysterious, secretive Smoke where her friend David awaits, leaving Tally a set of cryptic directions in case she changes her mind and decides to go too. But Tally has no intention of running away: turning pretty is all she wants, so she can be with her friend Peris again across the river, and be noticed and listened to because beautiful people cannot be ignored.

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko...

Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in a chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe.

What Happens when calories become currency? What happens when bio-terrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits, when said bio-terrorism's genetic drift forces mankind to the cusp of post-human evolution? Award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers one of the most highly acclaimed science fiction novels of the twenty-first century.

The Borrowed World: A Novel of Post-Apocalyptic Collapse by Franklin Horton

In a night of devastating terror, ISIS operatives have unleashed a coordinated attack on America’s infrastructure. Life as we know it in America grinds to a halt as the electrical grid collapses, communication networks are damaged, critical bridges and dams are destroyed, and major fuel refineries go up in massive fiery clouds. When the government responds by immediately halting fuel sales to the public, Jim Powell finds himself in a terrifying predicament – trapped five hundred miles from home with a group of coworkers.

With thousands of trapped travelers and scarce law enforcement, the miles between Jim and his family become a brutal gauntlet where the rules of civilized society no longer apply. As Jim puts his years of preparation and planning to the test, he is forced to ask himself if he has what it takes to make it home. Does he have the strength -- the brutality -- required to meet this new world toe-to-toe?

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

Battle Royale, a high-octane thriller about senseless youth violence in a dystopian world, it is one of Japan's best-selling - and most controversial - novels. As part of a ruthless program by the totalitarian government, ninth-grade students are taken to a small isolated island with a map, food, and various weapons. Forced to wear special collars that explode when they break a rule, they must fight each other for three days until only one "winner" remains. The elimination contest becomes the ultimate in must-see reality television. A Japanese pulp classic available in English for the first time, Battle Royale is a potent allegory of what it means to be young and survive in today's dog-eat-dog world. The first novel by small-town journalist Koushun Takami, it went on to become an even more notorious film by 70-year-old director Kinji Fukusaku.

Armageddon’s Children by Terry Brooks

A gripping chronicle of a once-familiar world now spun shockingly out of control, in which an extraordinary few struggle to salvage hope in the face of terrifying chaos.

Logan Tom is doomed to remember the past and determined to rescue the future. Far behind him lies a boyhood cut violently short by his family’s slaughter, when the forces of madness and hate swept our world after decadent excesses led to civilization’s downfall. Somewhere ahead of him rests the only chance to beat back the minions of evil that are systematically killing and enslaving the last remnants of humanity. Navigating the scarred and poisoned landscape that once was America and guided by a powerful talisman, Logan has sworn an oath to seek out a remarkable being born of magic, possessed of untold abilities, and destined to lead the final fight against darkness.