Dystopian fiction is interested in imagining what would happen if everything went horribly wrong some time in the future (distant, or not-too distant). The word ‘dystopia’ was conceived to be the opposite of ‘utopia,’ which in turn comes from the Greek roots οὐ-τόπος  (the not-place) and εὖ-τόπος (the good place). So, while a utopia is a perfect society that cannot truly exist, a dystopia is a broken society that is normally based in some way on the real world.

Sometimes it has a bit of a sci-fi feel (like the spaceship setting in Across the Universe), but it’s nearly always a bit bleak (like the list below!). The horrible wrong-ness can be due to social, political (or socio-political) problems (see The Hunger Games, Divergent, 1984 for example). It can also be due to environmental problems (Ship Breaker, The Water Wars, Blood Red Road etc).

Here’s a selection of dystopian/futuristic titles for you to work your way through. Note that this isn’t an exhaustive list, but if you think there’s something worthy that we haven’t mentioned then email us about it!

Updated May 2020

  1. Flawed, Cecelia Ahern
  2. Feed, M T Anderson
  3. Genesis, Bernard Beckett
  4. Noughts and Crosses, Malorie Blackman
  5. Winterkill (series), Kate Boorman
  6. Selection (series), Kiera Cass
  7. The Hunger Games (trilogy), Suzanne Collins
  8. Matched (trilogy) Ally Condie
  9. The Maze Runner (series), James Dashner
  10. Salt (trilogy), Maurice Gee
  11. Lord of the Flies, William Golding
  12. Gone (series), Michael Grant
  13. Rated, Melissa Grey
  14. Blood of the Lamb (trilogy), Mandy Hager
  15. When We Wake, Karen Healey
  16. The Giver (series), Lois Lowry
  17. Legend (series), Marie Lu
  18. Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi
  19. The Declaration series, Gemma Malley
  20. The Unidentified, Rae Mariz
  21. We Set the Dark on Fire, Tehlor Mejia
  22. Chaos Walking (trilogy), Patrick Ness
  23. The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Patrick Ness
  24. Delirium (trilogy) and Requiem (duology), Lauren Oliver
  25. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
  26. Wilder Girls, Rory Power
  27. Divergent (series), Veronica Roth
  28. Scythe (series), Neil Shusterman
  29. Uglies (series), Scott Westerfeld
  30. Dustlands (trilogy) Moira Young