The Best of Classic Science Fiction Dystopian Novels

 

Dystopian novels have been popular lately in bookstores and in film adaptations. The genre however has existed for more than a century. The word dystopia is associated with frightening possibilities of the future brought about either by advancements in technology or the dehumanization by governments.

Here are ten of the genre’s pioneers.

 

The Lord of the World (1907) by Robert Hugh Benson

The world was divided into three political sections and three religions until one party annexed another and is on the verge of war with the third.

 

The Iron Heel (1908) by Jack London

Oligarchy rose in the United States and other parts of the world. When the revolution succeeded in North America, the Brotherhood of Man replaced the old.

 

We by (1924) Yevgeny Zamyatin

The One State is a united totalitarian nation. Its citizens live in glass apartments under constant surveillance. Behavior is governed by formula created by the state.

 

Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley

The World State controls everything from reproduction of humans to their death. Feelings of discontent are controlled by drugs and hypnotism.

 

Kallocain (1941) by Karin Boye

Leo Kall has developed a drug called Kallocain that forces the user to reveal information. People are tested for ideas of rebellion.

Fahrenheit 451 (1953) by Ray Bradbury

The state censors the information received by the people beginning with the ban and burning of books. People rely on the television instead.

 

One or Escape to Nowhere (1953) by David Karp

The benevolent state is reaching a level of perfection by polishing its techniques of surveillance, re-education and brainwashing.

 

The Chrysalids (1955) by John Wyndham

The Old People were destroyed by God because of advancements in technology. In order to avoid another destruction, the society follows the concept of genetic invariance where minor mutations are considered evil.

 

A Canticle for Leibowitz (1959) by Walter M. Miller Jr.

The world changed after a nuclear war. Knowledge in any form was treated with hostility and destroyed, but an order of monks keeps the scientific knowledge until humanity is ready for it again.

 

1984 (1984) by George Orwell

Oceania, one of the three superstates, is dominated by The Party led by Big Brother. People are divided into three classes and are monitored by four ministries for independent thoughts and individualism.

 

Need More Books?

 

The following haven’t made it to the list above, but they are just as good as the others.

 

Caesar’s Column (1890) by Ignatius L. Donnelly

Facial Justice (1960) by L.P. Hartley

A Clockwork Orange (1962) by Anthony Burgess

The Drowned World (1962) by J.G. Ballard

Cat’s Cradle (1963) by Kurt Vonnegut

Make Room! Make Room! (1966) by Harry Harrison

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) by Philip K. Dick

Stand on Zanzibar (1968) by John Brunner

The Dispossessed (1974) by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Female Man (1975) by Joanna Russ

The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) by Margaret Atwood

15 Mar 2017

10 Utopian Novels You Should Read

 

If dystopian novels and films make you feel depressed with visions of an advanced but doomed humanity, perhaps you should try reading utopia novels for a change.

Here are ten of the most recommended books to get you started.

 

Ecotopia (1975) by Ernest Callenbach

Ecotopia was a small nation that separated from the USA. William Weston’s diary is the primary source of its tales.

 

Erewhon or Over the Range (1872) by Samuel Butler

The novel describes a fictional country called Erewhon. It mirrors the British Empire at the time it was written. When read backwards, Erewhon spells nowhere.

 

Herland (1915) by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Vandyck Jennings and friends travel to a society composed of women. They learned that the women reproduce by parthenogenesis, meaning they don’t need men for fertilization.

 

Looking Backward (1888) by Edward Bellamy

Julian West wakes up 113 years later to find that the world has changed. The country has become a socialist utopia in the year 2000.

 

Men Like Gods (1923) by H.G. Wells

Barnstaple was about to take a holiday from work when he found himself in another world. The residents called it Utopia. It turns out that Utopia was an advanced parallel world.

 

New Atlantis (1624) by Sir Francis Bacon

The island of Bensalem is an ideal society where good values are upheld. One of its most fascinating features is the Salomon’s House.

News from Nowhere (1890) by William Morris

William Guest woke up one day in a socialist society that practices democratic control on the means of production and that upholds common ownership.

 

On Such a Full Sea (2014) by Chang-Rae Lee

In a nation where the social class is stratified, Fan leaves the settlement to find answers after her lover disappeared. Her journey unmasked the utopian society she thought she knew.

 

The City of the Sun (1602) by Tommaso Campanella

Considered a philosophical work, the novel features a dialogue between a Genoese ship captain and a grandmaster of the Knights Hospitalier. The City of the Sun is described in detail.

 

Walden Two (1948) by B.F. Skinner

Two war veterans ask Professor Burris to contact T.E. Frazier to inform him of their interest in an international community called Walden Two. They learned that the community follows a structure that would avoid collapse from within.

 

Other Utopia Books

Here are other titles that you should check out.

 

Utopia (1516) by Thomas More

2894 (1894) by Walter Browne

A Crystal Age (1887) by William Henry Hudson

A Traveler from Altruria (1894) by William Dean Howells

Islandia (1942) by Austin Tappan Wright

Lost Horizon (1933) by James Hilton

Mizora (1890) by Mary E. Bradley Lane

The Blazing World (1666) by Margaret Cavendish

The Commonwealth of Oceania (1656) by James Harrington

The Lathe of Heaven (1971) by Ursula K. Le Guin

Vril (1871) by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

10 Mar 2017