2018 May 5
In the recent years, dystopian novels have become a completely separate genre of literature by itself. Readers and novelists both certainly seem to enjoy stories of the end of the world, and the chaos or recovery afterwards. Although it can be said that much of dystopian literature is aimed at young readers, there are many riveting books of post-apocalyptic stories that older readers will definitely enjoy!
Take a look at the ten best dystopian novels for adults below!
1. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
A searing, post apocalyptic novel. The Road by Cormac McCarthy is a rather bleak yet incredibly moving novel, with a storyline that revolves around a father and his son walking alone through burned America. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.
2. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
You’ve no doubt heard about The Handmaid’s Tale over the past year. The TV series adaptation of the novel was an instant hit, and although certainly not new, the issues it addressed were relevant enough to spark conversation even in our current day and age. The story revolves around Offred, a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that her Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. The chilling novel is certainly worth a read.
3. Station Eleven: A Novel – Emily St. John Mandel
Station Eleven focuses not on the destruction of civilization, but on the rebuilding that happens afterwards. Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.
4. The Passage – Justin Cronin
As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. The Passage is both suspenseful and adventurous.
5. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
A timeless classic by George Orwell, Nineteen Eight-Four portrays a disturbing and dystopian world of constant surveillance and government-controlled media, a concept and reality that now resounds with our current day and age more than ever. This is definitely a must-read.
6. The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
It’s not possible to think of time travel and the term ‘time machine’ without mentioning the incredible novel by H. G. Wells. The very definition of science fiction and dystopia, The Time Machine, though first published in 1895, is an entertaining read even today.
7. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
A Clockwork Orange painted a vivid, depressing future riven with violent gangs, extreme youthful violence and the work of state authorities to try and restore order. In Anthony Burgess’s nightmare vision of the future, where criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends’ social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom.
8. The Giver – Lois Lowry
More along the lines of high school literature, it’s time to pick up a copy of The Giver. Young Jonas lives in a community that has eliminated pain, suffering, and discord by adopting “Sameness.” In doing so, however, it has also eliminated color, music, individuality, and privacy. When Jonas is selected as the next “Receiver of Memory” he begins to learn of the world before its colors were stripped away.
9. The Stand – Stephen King
In The Stand, the world ends with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. In this bleak new world, the real horror begins, when the remaining one percent of the population must make some difficult decisions and choose how to rebuild.
10. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
With an HBO movie in the making, now is the perfect time to pick up a copy of Fahrenheit 451! Bradbury described an American society where books are burned and intellectual thought is illegal. Upon release, the book was banned in many settings as well, no doubt making readers more curious to pick up a copy themselves.