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Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Top 10: Dystopia

“Dystopian” is the opposite of Utopian, a description derived from Utopia by St Thomas More (he was just a Sir when he wrote it), a book about an island society where everything’s perfect. So if Utopian is perfect or ideal, then dystopian is…

Dystopian themes show up heaps in fiction. We love dystopian novels, since they serve a double purpose: warning about how bad things could get and celebrating the fact that they aren’t… yet. Here are some classic and recent dystopian novels, after the jump:

Firstly, classics (three of them):

  1. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding – the opposite of Utopia, in that this is also an island society…
  2. Animal Farm and
  3. 1984 by George Orwell – two of *the* great classics of a gloomy 20th century.
    The not so old stuff:
  4. Un Lun Dun by China Mieville – this is in the children’s fiction collection, but at 520 pages is a challenge for anyone.
  5. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry – again, this is in children’s fiction, but good for Year Nines.
  6. The Tomorrow trilogy by John Marsden.
  7. Genesis by Bernard Beckett – this won last year’s NZ Post Book Award for Young Adult fiction.
  8. The Cure by Michael Coleman – brand new (as of the beginning of February) in the library.
  9. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld – what looks like a good idea isn’t always.
  10. The Declaration by Gemma Malley – you can read her top 10 Dystopian novels list on the Guardian website (actually, I really like the Guardian’s Top 10 lists, they’re a really interesting perspective on categorising literature, if you’re into that sort of thing (making lists and whatnot)).

Happy reading, love from Grimm.


The Terror From the Deep


Absolutely Positively Pacifika


  1. Ana

    Animal farm is written by George Orwell, not Aldous Huxley.


  2. Thanks for spotting that – I’ve fixed it up now 😀

  3. Grimm

    It gets worse: I meant to put Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, not Animal Farm, but oh well. Sorry (sheepish).

  4. Akira

    Good list but I’m not sure that all of the titles are dystopian, see http://hem.passagen.se/replikant/

  5. loser

    i dont think i would consider lord of the flies dystopian, exactly. i think you could find a better dystopian book than that.

  6. for the love of chocolate

    another good dystopian read is: The Silenced
    by James DeVite

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