What are the best dystopian books for adults?

asked by Anonymous
258 contributors
28 solutions
  1. 37

    #1Swan Song

    Swan Song
    Swan Song is a post-apocalyptic horror novel by Robert McCammon. The evil Man with the Scarlet Eye wants to destroy a girl named Swan, but the last survivors of the nuclear war are determined to protect her.

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    Jane Lin
    Written on April 12, 2018
    "It's no 1984 but if you are a dystopian future addict like myself, this book is a must. The character of Swan really pulled me in, mysterious yet relateable in her way. I have pretty high standards when it comes to stories of this nature because some of them are so cliche but I couldn't put this book down. Bravo!"
  2. 29

    #2Alas, Babylon

    Alas, Babylon

    In Alas, Babylon, a small town in Florida is spared from the nuclear war that decimates the world. Led by Randolph Bragg, the inhabitants of the town work together in order to survive and recover from the tragedy.


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    Theresa Barrett
    Written on April 14, 2018
    "The story described in this book is very unique, it is a real story and has lot of interesting characters described on it. I have had a very good time reading this book and i have a very of memory of it. "
  3. 29

    #3A Clockwork Orange

    A Clockwork Orange

    A Clockwork Orange is a standalone 1963 classic science fiction book written by Anthony Burgess which centers on 15-year-old Alex McDowell who spread violence, but then he came back in the reality and was rejected by his parents. 


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    Jeffrey Castro
    Written on May 16, 2018
    "This is one of my favorite books. If you liked the movie, this is quite different in some ways, but equally amazing. Also an incredibly unique story compared to other typical scifi/fantasy types, while also still being very realistic and plausible (mostly). I loved it."
  1. 24

    #4The Year of the Flood: A Novel

    The Year of the Flood: A Novel

    Year of the Flood is a dystopic novel written by Margaret Atwood. Originally published in 2009 by Doubleday Nan A. Talese under ISBN 0385528779, the novel is a Scotiabank Giller Prize Nominee (2009) and IMPAC Award Nominee (2011).


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  2. 22

    #5The Passage

    The Passage
    The Passage is the first book in The Passage Trilogy written by Justin Cronin. This horror science fiction novel has over 700 pages and published in 2010 by Ballantine Books.

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    Rose Carr
    Written on April 21, 2018
    "This book is epic! The characters really draw you in. It is a doomsday novel, yes, and horror as well. It is a long book, at 785 pages, but don't let that put you off if you live shorter reads. It starts off a little slow, but keep reading, because once the pace picks up you cannot put it down. I highly recommend it. "
  3. 21

    #6Animal Farm

    Animal Farm
    Animal Farm is a short novel by George Orwell that tells the story of a farm that's taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. They set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality, but a revolution starts to show. 

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    David Johnson
    Written on April 16, 2018
    "George orwell is an interesting writer and his books are interesting to read. This book makes you want to keep reading and not put it down. I found my self wanting to pick it up over and over again. If you want a good book, put this one on this list. "
  4. 20

    #7The Long Walk

    The Long Walk

    The Long Walk tells the story an America that has become a police state. One hundred boys are selected to enter an annual grueling walking competition where there can only be one winner—the one that survives. 


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    Frank Cunningham
    Written on April 17, 2018
    "The first question I ask myself, was just one of the Stephan King's best,? No, probably not, but, this is stand on its own as a great read,? Absolutely, it is a very good read full of action and suspense and downright Terror."
  5. 13

    #8World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

    World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
    World War Z is a fictional collection of narratives of eyewitnesses and survivors of the worldwide zombie plague. It was written by American author Max Brooks and was published in 2007 by Three Rivers Press.

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    Gloria Fisher
    Written on April 11, 2018
    "The story described in this book is very unique, it absorbs your imagination completely and time goes so fast while reading this book ."
  6. 12

    #9Brave New World

    Brave New World

    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is a utopian and dystopian fiction novel published in 1932. This book follows Bernard Marx living a perfect life in a scientifically engineered society until he visited one of the remaining old reservoirs.


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    Janice Adams
    Written on April 27, 2018
    "I finally read this book after waiting for it many years! It is truly perfect and amazing at the same time. The story is filled with interesting characters and the drama of the story keeps you on the tip of your toes."
  7. 9

    #10The Road

    The Road
    The Road is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Cormac McCarthy. It tells the story of a father and son walking through post-apocalyptic America to reach the coast. This is an ultimate story of survival in a desolate world.

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    Pari Chavan
    Written on May 7, 2018
    "This book is certainly not for everyone. It's not for me - I like my media to inspire at least a little bit of hope, and while this one does have glimmers of it here and there, the world is so overwhelmingly dark and depressing that it overrides any good feeling I had towards this book. I don't like to feel worse about life when I finish a book, so pass this one by if you want an upbeat read."
  8. 5

    #11The Primarchs (Horus Heresy)

    The Primarchs (Horus Heresy)

    The Primarchs is the 20th book in the famous dystopian science fiction series, Horus Heresy. It was written by Christian Dunn and published in May 2012. It is about four warriors and their impact on the civil war in Imperium.


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    Emily Garza
    Written on April 11, 2018
    "This was such a huge disappointment. I've read my fair share of boring books and I would have to say this one is up there. I was only able to get through the first 100 pages and then shelved it."
  9. 5



    1984 is a utopian and dystopian fiction written by George Orwell. First published in 1949, it is included in the NPR Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books.


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    Abhinav Chattopadhyay
    Written on May 6, 2018
    "I'd be surprised if no one has ever read this book. I think this novel has become a staple in every public and personal library world wide. The story is incredibly interesting and there have even been a handful of move adaptations too. This is 100% a must read in my opinion."
  10. 3

    #13Angel Exterminatus (Horus Heresy)

    Angel Exterminatus (Horus Heresy)
    Angel Exterminatus is the 23rd book in the famous dystopian science fiction series, Horus Heresy. It was written by Graham McNeill and was published in November 2012. It is about Perturabo and his attempt to outshine his primarch brothers.

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    Scott Johnson
    Written on April 10, 2018
    "I read Angel Exterminatus and while it was an improvement of the previous book in the series, this is damning with faint praise. It's schlocky, hokey, and just not very well written. Unless you are a huge fan of the setting, steer clear."
  11. 1

    #14Battle for the Abyss (The Horus Heresy)

    Battle for the Abyss (The Horus Heresy)
    Battle for the Abyss is the 8th book in the famous dystopian science fiction series, Horus Heresy. It was written by Ben Counter and was published in August 2008. It is about Horus' plans to wipe out his enemies, the Ultramarines.

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    Hannah Perry
    Written on April 17, 2018
  12. 0



    We is a dystopian novel written by Yevgeny Zamyatin which is set in D-503 lives in the One State existing in glass apartments so the State can keep an eye on the citizens. This book is the inspiration for George Orwell's famous 1984.


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    Christine Estrada
    Written on April 13, 2018
    "I read a lot of dystopian novels and have never heard of this one. The reviews look good, but I don't know if it can be considered one of the "best" when it isn't all that well known."
  13. 0

    #16The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth)

    The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth)
    The Fifth Season is the first book in the science fiction series The Broken Earth written by N.K. Jemisin which centers on Essun trying to save her daughter after her husband has kidnapped their daughter and brutally murdered their son. 

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    Megan Lane
    Written on April 21, 2018
    "The Fifth Season is a great dystopian book for adults. I read this book in under a week it was that good! I found myself contemplating many of the character's points of views and I found it to be thought provoking. While a Dystopian novel, I could see how it correlates with some issues we face today. The world that the author shows us is vastly different, she really knows how to pull someone into the story. At times I felt I was there with the characters and felt their pain as though my own. It was an awesome read!"
  14. 0

    #17The Water Knife

    The Water Knife

    The Water Knife is a science fiction novel written by Paolo Bacigalupi which follows the adventure of Angel, Lucy, and Maria as their time runs out to survive with each other's help. 


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    Song Zhou
    Written on April 21, 2018
    "Ah, there's nothing like relaxing before bedtime with a nice dystopian book as you drift off to sweet nightmares. This one talks about a vitally important issue - water rights in a world beseiged by climate change. I guess it's like Mad Max but with water instead of petrol."
  15. 0

    #18Forget Tomorrow

    Forget Tomorrow

    Forget Tomorrow is the first book in the science fiction series Forget Tomorrow written by Pintip Dunn which centers on Callie who sees herself murdering her gifted younger sister on a vision she saw in her 17th birthday. 


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    Crystal Hughes
    Written on May 1, 2018
    "In a world full of books talking about tragedies. Forget tomorrow is a story about a women who has a vision of her killing her sister. This turns into an epic but awful look into psychology and despair. "
  16. 0

    #19Intermix Nation

    Intermix Nation

    Intermix Nation is a new adult romance fantasy science fiction novel written by M.P. Attardo. This dystopian book is about Nazirah who joins the rebellion against the government and it is first published in 2013.


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    Amy Bishop
    Written on May 6, 2018
    "Intermix Nation is a well written dystopian society novel that takes you on an emotional roller coaster. This novel delves into some heavy topics that are predominant in today's society; classism, racism, equality, forgiveness, and dealing with loss as a result of traumatic events. The characters are very well developed and relatable. This truly is a coming of age story following Nazirah and Adamek; their lives so different, yet the same...their struggles in dealing with their actions or inactions...how they come to terms with their feelings concerning injustice committed against or by them... An overarching theme in this novel is forgiveness; forgiving oneself and others for the sins they commit and learning how to live with them and not let them consume you. I can't wait to read more of M.P. Attardo's novels!"
  17. 0

    #20The Palace of Dreams

    The Palace of Dreams

    The Palace of Dreams is a European literature and a fiction book set in a dystopian future written by Ismail Kadare and was published on February 5, 1998 by Arcade Publishing. The books is about dream interpretations.


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    Christopher Kelley
    Written on May 17, 2018
    "This book falls utterly short for me on so many levels. The writing is boring and predictable and the characters are played out and rather annoying. I had high hopes but this book just didn’t live up to the hype. I would stay far away from this one!"
  18. 0

    #21Luminary (Anomaly Book 2)

    Luminary (Anomaly Book 2)

    Luminary is a dystopian novel written by Krista McGee. First published in 2014 by Thomas Nelson under ISBN: 1401688748, it is the second book in the Anomaly book series.


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    Cheryl Cook
    Written on May 10, 2018
    "An interesting dystopian series (this is book 2, read book 1 first if you haven't!) that adds in a Christian perspective. If you are looking for a Christian dystopian novel this series is for you. See how those in power wield in a way that tests the faith of their "subjects" and how this crisis is resolved. These books are also good for young adults so read them with your kids. "
  19. 0

    #22A Time to Rise (Out of Time Book 3)

    A Time to Rise (Out of Time Book 3)

    A Time to Rise is a dystopian novel written by Nadine Brandes. First published in 2016 by Enclave Publishing under ISBN: 1683700465, it is the third book in the Out of Time book series.


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    Doris Wang
    Written on May 6, 2018
    "Ok, to begin, it's targeted at "young adults" i.e. the 15-22ish range. That's not to say that adults can't enjoy it, but if you are looking for a book with a harder edge (it is about a dystopian future after all) you probably want to look elsewhere. Beyond that, it is the third in the series, so definitely don't start here. In fact, even the synopsis/back blurb ruins a bit of the tension from the second book if you read it, so don't. Lastly, and this is just me, I'm not a fan of reading heavily Christian books; which this is. So I'm not going to try to say anything about it on that level. Overall, I'd say it's an ok book, but there are better, and there are books targeted towards the "adult" demographic."
  20. 0

    #23Darwin's Children (Darwin's Radio)

    Darwin's Children (Darwin's Radio)
    Darwin's Children (Darwin's Radio) is a science fiction book written by Greg Bear published on June 1, 2004 by Del Rey. It revolves about the human race and what the dystopic future has to offer them.

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    Jennifer Soto
    Written on May 9, 2018
    "Darwin's children has a solid premise but is too weak in execution. The original story is better. Nothing much of interest happens here."
  21. 0

    #24In the After

    In the After

    In the After is the first book in the futuristic dystopic series for young adults, the In The After series written by Demitria Lunetta. It was published in 2014 and is about a teenager whose family was kidnapped by the government.


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    Megan Walters
    Written on May 14, 2018
    "One of the best books I've read this year! Highly recommended!"
  22. 0

    #25The Lottery

    The Lottery

    The Lottery is a classic dystopian horror fiction novel written by Shirley Jackson. This book is first published in 2007 by Perfection Learning. 


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    Madison Duncan
    Written on April 28, 2018
    "The Lottery is definitely one of the best dystopian books for adults as it is a classic novel written by Shirley Jackson. It tells a fascinating story that I would definitely recommend everyone to read if they are interested in dystopian novels. "
  23. 0

    #26The Late Great Human Road Show

    The Late Great Human Road Show

    The Late Great Human Road Show is a mature and dystopic novel for young adults and adults written by Paulette Jiles. It was first released in 1986. It is set in a post-nuclear-explosion Toronto.


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    Joseph Barnett
    Written on April 10, 2018
    "I love anything dystopian and I try to find things I have never read or watched. I found this great book called The Late Great Human Road Show and I really like it. It's about people reacting after a nuclear explosion. I couldn't put it down and I just kept reading because it was so good. "
  24. 0

    #27Insignia (Insignia)

    Insignia (Insignia)


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    Debra Henry
    Written on May 7, 2018
    "I found this a fascinating and engaging book. It is dark, dystopian and deeply enthralling."
  25. 0

    #28Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse

    Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse

    Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse is an apocalytic thriller written by James Wesley Rawles. First published in 2012, the book focuses on survival in the United States after the country suffers from an economic crash.


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    José Alfredo Amador
    Written on May 9, 2018
    "I'm a fan of dystopian stories and love books that have a post-apocalyptic theme to them so I thought I would give this one a shot. It wasn't the best book I have ever read but it was decently captivating and a fun read over the weekend. It didn't have as deep of story as I would've preferred but it was believable and had good characters."


Best What are the best dystopian books for adults
1Swan SongBooks 37 Paid
2Alas, BabylonBooks 29 Paid
3A Clockwork OrangeBooks 29 Paid
4The Year of the Flood: A NovelBooks 24 Paid
5The PassageBooks 22 Paid
6Animal FarmBooks 21 Paid
7The Long WalkBooks 20 Paid
8World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie WarBooks 13 Paid
9Brave New WorldBooks 12 Paid
10The RoadBooks 9 Paid

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