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Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions for young adult dystopian novels. I am going through the recommendations, and I'll post a list of all the titles soon.

In the meantime, I've put together a list of mainstream adult (that is, non-YA) dystopian novels.

Disclaimers: I'm not counting post-apocalyptic fiction that focuses more on the disaster than the world that comes after it, books that focus on worlds other than Earth, or books that mix dystopia and utopia. I've tried to limit myself to one book per author. I broke my own rules and slipped three short stories onto the list, because I couldn't help myself.

Paris in the 20th Century by Jules Verne (1863/1994)
Caesar's Column: A Story of the Twentieth Century by Ignatius Donnelly (1890)
The Iron Heel by Jack London (1908)
"The Machine Stops" by E.M. Forster (1909)
The Sleeper Wakes by H.G. Wells (1910)
The Flying Inn by G.K. Chesterton (1914)
The Heads of Cerberus by Francis Stevens (1919)
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (1921)
Paradise and Iron by Miles J. Breuer (1930)
It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis (1935)
Swastika Night by Katharine Burdekin (1937)
Anthem by Ayn Rand (1938)
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)
Bend Sinister by Vladimir Nabokov (1947)
1984 by George Orwell (1949)
Gather, Darkness by Fritz Leiber (1950)
Limbo by Bernard Wolfe (1952)
Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut (1952)
The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth (1952/1953)
Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)
"If This Goes On-" by Robert Heinlein (1953)
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham (1955)
The Pleasure of a Futuroscope by Lord Dunsany (1955)
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller (1960)
"Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut (1961)
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (1962)
The Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boule (1963)
Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison (1966)
Logan's Run by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson (1967)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (1968)
Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner (1968)
This Perfect Day by Ira Levin (1970)
The Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem (1971)
The World Inside by Robert Silverberg (1971)
334 by Thomas Disch (1972)
Memoirs of a Survivor by Doris Lessing (1974)
Alongside Night by J. Neil Schulman (1979)
Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban (1980)
Hello America by J.G. Ballard (1981)
Neuromancer by William Gibson (1984)
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)
Dayworld by Philip José Farmer (1985)
The Gate to Women's Country by Sherri S. Tepper (1988)
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore (1988)
Give Me Liberty by Frank Miller (1990)
Children of Men by P.D. James (1992)
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (1992)
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (1993)
Gun, With Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem (1994)
Blindness by José Saramago (1995)
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami (1999)
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005)
The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)
Blind Faith by Ben Elton (2007)
The Guardener's Tale by Bruce Boston (2007)

I realized that these aren't the only dystopias out there. What good dystopian novels am I missing, to complete a list of the "must read" works in the genre? Thanks for your recommendations!

And a quote for the day:

The Collected Work of Isaac Asimov (Ultra Condensed)
Stock Asimov Character #1:
I'm a suave, witty, brilliant, good-looking scientist. I am everything Asimov thought he was.
Stock Asimov Character #2:
I am the same, except the opposite sex.
Stock Asimov Character #1:
Great! Let's do some science stuff, save the world, and make out.
(They do.)
- from Book-A-Minute SF/F


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 25th, 2008 06:41 pm (UTC)
I don't know if you want to take the time, but if you read through the messages on the dystopian group at LibraryThing, you might see something you've missed... http://www.librarything.com/groups/distopiannovels
Feb. 26th, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
Oh, great! Thank you so much.
Abbie [wordpress.com]
Feb. 25th, 2008 07:39 pm (UTC)
Book-A-Minute! The solution to all of the reading you gave us. I mean...uhhh....
That's really funny. :o)

Your list is mighty. I have no recommendations.

Post a list of the recommendations soon? Man, this is just like when you audition for something, and you have to wait forever until the official person comes and tacks the official list to the wall. Then everyone crowds around it to see who's in...and some people jump up and down with excitement while others leave crying. I hope I made it!! (Yeah, I don't know what I'm going on about either. It's Monday?)
Feb. 26th, 2008 11:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Bahahaaa!
LOL! See why I didn't give you guys the Book-A-Minute link in class? :D If you go back one page, you can get to the classics. I particularly like the one for the Collected Works of Jane Austen (I'm not exactly a fan):
Female Lead:
I secretly love Male Lead. He must never know.
Male Lead:
I secretly love Female Lead. She must never know.
(They find out.)


Wow, thanks for calling my list mighty! I definitely will post a list of the YA recommendations soon. I've already ordered a couple that you and your mother suggested. I can't wait to read them!
Feb. 25th, 2008 08:52 pm (UTC)
I don't know. I always preferred Animal Farm over 1984 when I was a teen. Well... still do, actually.
Feb. 26th, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
I was just the opposite: I've read Animal Farm once, and 1984 about eight times. But that's very helpful to know, because each must be very powerful in its own manner. It's impressive that Orwell can speak to readers in different voices and reach them in a variety of ways. I really appreciate your insight!
Feb. 26th, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC)
It could be that I read 1984 after I'd read various science fiction stories, set after wars, social collapse, or other dystopias in general, so that it didn't seem as fresh to me. I sort of felt "Yeah, it's depressing and oppressive. Got it. Can we move on now?" (Teens. What can you do with them?) By contrast, Animal Farm was using talking animals in a very non-cutesy, un-Disney kind of way, and I liked the satire.
Feb. 27th, 2008 12:49 am (UTC)
(Teens. What can you do with them?)

LOL! I suspect that's the problem I had with Animal Farm: "Nooooo, not the horse!!!!!" *grin*
Abbie [wordpress.com]
Feb. 27th, 2008 03:01 am (UTC)
Hey. Sorry to butt in, but I have to add that I had the same experience and felt the same way about 1984.
Feb. 25th, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
Book recs! <3 *mems this*
Feb. 26th, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC)
Yay! :)
Feb. 26th, 2008 02:23 am (UTC)
I wonder if Podkayne of Mars (Heinlein) or, on the other end of the spectrum, Cordwainer Smith's work (The Planet Buyers, the Ballad of the Lost D'Joan, The Dead Lady of Clown Town) would apply...and how about Edgar Pangborn's Davy?
Feb. 26th, 2008 02:28 am (UTC)
Also Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle, and Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination... "...deep space is my dwelling place, the stars my destination..."

I'd also include Somtow Sukaritkul's Mallworld tales, but then I hate malls...*g*
Feb. 26th, 2008 11:12 pm (UTC)
Do you think The Demolished Man might be a better representative of dystopia than The Stars My Destination? The moment you mentioned Bester, that popped into my mind.

I'm grateful for your terrific suggestions - I'm going to run with them. By the way, I hate malls, too. *g*
Feb. 27th, 2008 02:05 am (UTC)
I think the release of 'Jumper' put me in mind of Bester and 'Stars,' but both work. Also, the Cordwainer Smith novel 'Norstrilia' is probably more complete than the Planet Buyers, and Rod McBan is right in the YA ballpark--how about those mad sparrows?

Jack Vance has some good stuff, too, and I was always fond of Ursula K. LeGuin--the Dispossessed is an interesting take on dystopias/utopias.
Feb. 26th, 2008 11:10 pm (UTC)
You're quite right on these! *slaps forehead* I didn't even think of Cordwainer Smith. Thank you so much!
Feb. 26th, 2008 02:39 am (UTC)
I once read a story where aliens had conquered Earth and subjected humanity to slavery. Each human was allowed one request a year; the protagonist was trying to decide whether to ask for a replacement coat, which would probably be granted, or for death, which was a long shot, Unauthorized suicides were brought back and tortured, then put back to work.

Damned if I can remember who wrote that. I think it was someone with a middle name, like Manly Wade Wellman or Joseph Payne Brennan. It's not a novel, but neither is Harrison Bergeron.

I can't think of anything not on your list, but I'm not a compleat sci fi geek. I mostly read early modern military history or pre-WWII short horror fiction for fun.

Feb. 26th, 2008 11:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow - I have no idea! I'll ask around, though. Surely someone can solve the mystery! It sounds like a very interesting story.
Feb. 28th, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
What about Thomas Disch's "Camp Concentration"? I've never read it but it has a good reputation.

Mar. 6th, 2008 01:28 am (UTC)
I thought Brave New World wasn't considered dystopian but rather anti-utopian. Because it is showing a flawed utopian society.

I loved that book. This whole list is pretty much my entire library in high school.

I want to suggest The Long Walk and Running Man by Stephen King's psuedonym, Richard Bachman, but I don't think they're as good as what you already have on this list. I just wanted to mention them because I was thinking about them today. :P

ETA: I also read this one book in grade 7 but I cannot remember what it was called. I always thought it was written by Asimov but when I looked through his catalog I couldn't find it. Anyway it was about this guy who was in cryo I think. He's tended to by a series of nurses who are all clones but one is a little different. She wears perfume and earrings. The whole point to the story was the importance of individuality. I just wish I could remember the title or author because it was the book that got me into reading scifi in the first place. *sigh*

ETA Part II: Haha, this whole thing has me thinking about all these books I read in elementary school and totally forgot who wrote them or what they're called! There was this other story I read where it takes place in the future and modern medicine had cured all illnesses and people were living indefinitely. No one was even dying of old age. So there were these government sanctioned bingos where old people won the right to die. Like as in euthanasia.

It *may* have been the same story I mentioned before with the clones. :P

Edited at 2008-03-06 07:28 pm (UTC)
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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