Below is a list of some classic dystopian novels along with a few more contemporary selections to make you reflect and think “what if?”

1984George Orwell’s 1984

The gold standard in dystopian fiction and all too relevant today. Orwell crafts a hyper-collectivist world of constant surveillance and ever-shifting groupthink. Based on his view of the early Labor government’s rule after the end of the Second World War.

Animal FarmGeorge Orwell’s Animal Farm

An excellent book for introducing children to the evils of communism. The tale of the Bolshevik Revolution and the Stalinist witch hunts are told using farm animals. As good for teaching literary techniques, as it is history and values.

Brave New WorldAldous Huxley’s Brave New World

Huxley’s Brave New World offers a voluptuary, sex-controlled dystopia that may be familiar to denizens of the 21st Century. Can people be too comfortable? An important read for a time when we are learning more about the effects of comfort.

IslandAldous Huxley’s Island

Aldous Huxley wrote Island as the utopian counterpart to the dystopian Brave New World. In it Huxley explores a vision of a perfect world that is very much one of its time; the optimism of post-war Europe. Island sees man using science and the end of old taboos to forge the perfect world.

Fahrenheit 451Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

The bizarre tale of a world where firemen start fires to burn contraband books in a world where literacy is against the law. A commentary on human complacency, ignorance, and idiocy, written at a time when mankind lived under the constant threat of nuclear war.

Atlas ShruggedAyn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged

Ayn Rand’s definitive statement is Atlas Shrugged, which famously includes a 60-page soliloquy at the end detailing Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. The book asks the simple question of what would happen if all of the producers stopped producing in a regulated and overtaxed world.

Ender's GameOrson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game

Training children to make war on video games. How far away from that world can we really be? And how much of what we think we know is simply well-crafted efforts of total propaganda? While ostensibly a young adult book, Ender’s Game is a rich read for any age.

Foreign EnemiesMatthew Bracken’s Foreign Enemies and Traitors

Americans resisting relocation into FEMA camps are pursued by foreign mercenaries. An all-too-real seeming tale from a time of increased government intrusion into our lives — for our own good, of course. A military novel of resistance to tyranny.

Snow CrashNeal Stephenson’s Snow Crash

Neal Stephenson saw the future when he wrote Snow Crash, one of the definitive novels of the cyberpunk genre. Enter a world where the only jobs left in America are coding and delivering pizzas. Then ask yourself just how Stephenson got so much right.

SubmissionMichel Houellebecq’s Submission

A short time from now in a future that’s almost the present, a French professor grinds out a mediocre existence as an apathetic French republic sees the rise of political Islam and shrugs. One of the most controversial novels of the last 10 years.

CaliphateTom Kratman’s Caliphate

Tom Kratman’s Caliphate explores life for Christian dhimmi under the harsh yoke of Islamist rule in the 22nd Century. An excellent explanation of the dangers of political Islam and a richly built world rooted in reality.