“Dystopia” refers to a broad range of stories, and therefore everyone has their own recommendations for what the “must-reads” are. Lists generally include Orwell’s famous 1984 – and greatly diverge from there.
Although a list’s offerings often have common themes, they don’t always feel similar. For example, one list put The Lorax next to The Maze Runner and The Crucible. These three have dystopic themes while being very different. I can understand why they’re on the same list. But I wanted a lineup which was more specific, more related to Orwellian themes, and couldn’t easily find such a list. So I created my own:
- 1984 by George Orwell (1949)
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1986)
- The Children of Men by P. D. James (1992)
- Shockwave Rider by John Brunner (1975)
- V for Vendetta by Alan Moore (1990)
- It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis (1935)
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (2008)
- The Running Man by Richard Bachman (1982)
While this list isn’t perfect (or comprehensive), it’s cohesive enough to feel like a good start. These are all popular works you’re likely to hear about (if you don’t already know about them).