23 Must Read Dystopian Novels

23 Dystopian
1984


Read Now

1984
By George Orwell

In 1984, London is a grim city in the totalitarian state of Oceania where Big Brother is always watching you and the Thought Police can practically read your mind. Winston Smith is a man in grave danger for the simple reason that his memory still functions. Drawn into a forbidden love affair, Winston finds the courage to join a secret revolutionary organization called The Brotherhood, dedicated to the destruction of the Party. Together with his beloved Julia, he hazards his life in a deadly match against the powers that be.

Lionel Trilling said of Orwell’s masterpiece, “1984 is a profound, terrifying, and wholly fascinating book. It is a fantasy of the political future, and like any such fantasy, serves its author as a magnifying device for an examination of the present.” Though the year 1984 now exists in the past, Orwell’s novel remains an urgent call for the individual willing to speak truth to power.

The Handmaid's Tale


Read Now

The Handmaid’s Tale
By Margaret Atwood

The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid’s Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and a tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.

The Fifth Season


Read Now

The Fifth Season
By N. K. Jemisin

A season of endings has begun.

It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun.

It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter.

It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.

This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.

The Postmortal


Read Now

The Postmortal
By Drew Magary

Imagine a near future where a cure for aging is discovered and-after much political and moral debate-made available to people worldwide. Immortality, however, comes with its own unique problems-including evil green people, government euthanasia programs, a disturbing new religious cult, and other horrors. Witty, eerie, and full of humanity, The Postmortal is an unforgettable thriller that envisions a pre-apocalyptic world so real that it is completely terrifying.

Lawless


Read Now

Lawless
By Tarah Benner

When Lark was sentenced to twenty-five years behind bars, she thought San Judas was her lucky break. The primitive 16,000-acre community in rural New Mexico isn’t like any other prison. There are no cells, there is no warden, and Mother Mercy is the law.

She didn’t realize she’d be fighting for survival on a daily basis — battling hunger, violent inmates, and Mother Mercy’s iron fist. Lark’s only friend is Bernie — an off-the-rails environmental activist doing time for arson — and a mysterious stranger who’s been sending her illicit messages from the men’s colony.

Lark never thought escaping San Judas was possible until a message in a bottle changes everything: The guards outside the walls are disappearing, and the world as they know it is coming to an end.

Lightning Strikes


Read Now

Lightning Strikes
By Joni Mayhan

Could Elizabeth truly make lightning come down from the sky?

The world outside Ember Paine’s window has gone mad. After a horrific virus wipes out the majority of the population, terrorists march door-to-door hunting down the survivors. When Ember’s ten-year-old sister is kidnapped from their yard, she must leave the safety of her home. If she doesn’t find Elizabeth before the bad men discover her gift. it could mean the end for all of them.

Extinction Horizon


Read Now

Extinction Horizon
By Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Master Sergeant Reed Beckham has led his Delta Force Team, codenamed Ghost, through every kind of hell imaginable and never lost a man. When a top secret Medical Corps research facility goes dark, Team Ghost is called in to face their deadliest enemy yet–a variant strain of Ebola that turns men into monsters.

After barely escaping with his life, Beckham returns to Fort Bragg in the midst of a new type of war. As cities fall, Team Ghost is ordered to keep CDC virologist Dr. Kate Lovato alive long enough to find a cure. What she uncovers will change everything.

Total extinction is just on the horizon, but will the cure be worse than the virus?

Survival: After It Happened


Read Now

Survival: After It Happened
By Devon C. Ford

Set in the UK in the immediate aftermath of a mysterious illness which swept the country and left millions dead, the series follows the trials facing a reluctant hero, Dan, and the group he forms around him. They must battle the elements, find sufficient supplies and equipment to survive, and protect themselves against the most destructive force on the planet: other people.

Banding together those he found along the way, he has to fight to keep them safe.

To keep them alive.

Trail of Lightning


Read Now

Trail of Lightning
By Rebecca Roanhorse

While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

 

Unleashed


Read Now

Unleashed
By Dirk Patton

John Chase has just arrived in Atlanta on a routine business trip. When he wakes the next morning, John is shocked to learn that America has been savagely attacked with both nuclear and biochemical weapons. He is immediately thrown into an apocalyptic horror, rescuing a young woman from a group of survivors who are in a violent rage as a result of the release of a devastating neurotoxin.

His path is clear. Survive and fight his way across the continent to reunite with his wife as society disintegrates into savagery and millions of people become raging infected, roaming unchecked in their pursuit of the rapidly dwindling number of survivors. But survival will be the hardest task he has ever undertaken.

Twisted World	by Kate L Mary


Read Now

Twisted World
By Kate L. Mary

Twenty years ago a deadly virus swept the globe, ravaging the population. People died and came back as monsters, and through the tragedy that rocked the world survivors were born. Megan James is the product of survivors. Her parents crossed hundreds of miles of dangerous countryside to reach Atlanta, and the promise of a real future.

Now, two decades later, Meg is facing a crisis of her own. Her father has vanished and is presumed dead, and her mom is teetering on the edge of insanity, but all Meg really wants is to return to the safe world she always thought she was living in. Only Atlanta isn’t everything her parents thought it would be. The slums have grown and corruption is rampant, and despite the promise of democracy the new government has been slow to change. Through it all, the only consistency seems to be the zombies. Decayed and barely more than skeletons, there is no reason they should still be moving. But they are.

The Stigma Surrogate by JT Lawrence


Read Now

The Sigma Surrogate
By JT Lawrence

Joni is a state surrogate: young, bright, and most importantly: fertile.


… and someone wants her dead.

Keke is a smart, sexy biker; a renegade with a hunger for justice.

She won’t stop until she exposes the truth, even it means putting her life in danger.

Will Keke’s reckless ambition help the state surrogates, or harm them?

Arena	by D Michael Withrow


Read Now

Arena
By D. Michael Withrow

In the future those that reach their debt limit are sold off as slaves to the wealthy. Convicted killers are forced to fight in the arena as gladiators did thousands of years before them.

Follow Colston, the son of a wealthy owner, as he struggles to make sense of the world around him and to protect those he has grown to love from his maniacal father.

Free Falling	by Susan Kiernan-Lewis


Read Now

Free Falling
By Susan Kiernan-Lewis

A fun family vacation turns into an apocalyptic nightmare when a couple and their young son find themselves trapped in the Irish countryside during an international crisis. With all contact outside the country gone, all electricity and all non horse-powered vehicles useless and desperate bands of outlaws roaming the Emerald Isle, the time has come for one soft American family to reach deep within for the reserve of brains and courage to survive.

Holding Their Own by Joe Nobody


Read Now

Holding Their Own
By Joe Nobody

This first book of the Holding Their Own series, A Story of Survival, is set in a time when the world is burdened by the second Great Depression. The United States, already weakened by internal strife, becomes the target of an international terror plot. A series of attacks results in thousands of casualties and disables the country’s core infrastructure. The combination of economic hardship and the staggering blow of the terror attacks results in a collapse of the government.

This is a realistic story of how a, middle class couple survives the cascading events brought on by international politics, high tech military actions and the eventual downfall of society. All of their survival skills are tested during the action packed expedition in a world that resembles the American West of 200 years past.

The Power by Naomi Alderman


Read Now

The Power
By Naomi Alderman

In THE POWER, the world is a recognizable place: there’s a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power–they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world drastically resets.

The Passage by Justin Cronin


Read Now

The Passage
By Justin Cronin

An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy—abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas


Read Now

Red Clocks
By Leni Zumas

Five women. One question. What is a woman for?

In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.

Ro, a single high-school teacher, is trying to have a baby on her own, while also writing a biography of Eivør, a little-known 19th-century female polar explorer. Susan is a frustrated mother of two, trapped in a crumbling marriage. Mattie is the adopted daughter of doting parents and one of Ro’s best students, who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. And Gin is the gifted, forest-dwelling herbalist, or “mender,” who brings all their fates together when she’s arrested and put on trial in a frenzied modern-day witch hunt.

One Second After by William R. Forstchen


Read Now

One Second After
By William R. Forstchen

New York Times best selling author William R. Forstchen now brings us a story which can be all too terrifyingly real…a story in which one man struggles to save his family and his small North Carolina town after America loses a war, in one second, a war that will send America back to the Dark Ages…A war based upon a weapon, an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP). A weapon that may already be in the hands of our enemies.

Lock in by John Scalzi


Read Now

Lock In
By John Scalzi

Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent – and nearly five million souls in the United States alone – the disease causes “Lock In”: Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what’s now known as “Haden’s syndrome,” rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two of them are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an “integrator” – someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder becomes that much more complicated.

Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill


Read Now

Sea of Rust
By C. Robert Cargill

A scavenger robot wanders in the wasteland created by a war that has destroyed humanity in this evocative post-apocalyptic “robot western” from the critically acclaimed author, screenwriter, and noted film critic.

It’s been thirty years since the apocalypse and fifteen years since the murder of the last human being at the hands of robots. Humankind is extinct. Every man, woman, and child has been liquidated by a global uprising devised by the very machines humans designed and built to serve them. Most of the world is controlled by an OWI—One World Intelligence—the shared consciousness of millions of robots, uploaded into one huge mainframe brain. But not all robots are willing to cede their individuality—their personality—for the sake of a greater, stronger, higher power. These intrepid resisters are outcasts; solo machines wandering among various underground outposts who have formed into an unruly civilization of rogue AIs in the wasteland that was once our world.

Freezing Point by Grace Hamilton


Read Now

Freezing Point
By Grace Hamilton

In the dawn of a new Ice Age, families everywhere are taking to the road to escape the frigid landscape—but you can’t outrun the cold.

No one could have predicted the terrifying impact of human interference in the Arctic. Shifts in the Earth’s crust have led to catastrophe and now the North Pole is located in the mid-Atlantic, making much of the eastern United States an unlivable polar hellscape.

The Fall by Devon C. Ford


Read Now

The Fall
By Devon C. Ford

Cal’s ‘honeymoon’ didn’t start off quite how he’d planned. For starters, he was heading somewhere he didn’t actually want to go. And secondly, he was going alone and unmarried. He had no idea that his first visit to New York City would also land him in the middle of a domestic terror attack, forcing him to flee Manhattan in a desperate bid to survive.

This was no ordinary terror attack.

The Movement, in a misguided attempt to seize political control of the USA, unwittingly invited the destruction of their homeland, and as the bombs start to fall, the shock and loss of life reverberates around the world.

You may also like

Leave a Reply