15 Works of Dystopian Fiction Everyone Should Read

Dystopian fiction has enjoyed a renaissance in these scary post-9/11 times, and the fact that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is sure to destroy all competition at the box office is a testament to the fact that, weirdly enough, fiction set in some post-apocalyptic world run by some totalitarian government has occupied the same place in the current cultural zeitgeist as otherworldly monsters like vampires and zombies.

Although the books were initially written for teenagers, adults have helped make The Hunger Games a cultural phenomenon. Maybe the trilogy is not as iconic as George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, or Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (all of which you should already have read), but it’s definitely required reading if you find yourself drawn to dystopian fiction. Here are some other great books that fall into that category.


Invitation to a Beheading, Vladimir Nabokov

You know it’s dystopian fiction when a person is imprisoned for a crime like “gnostical turpitude,” and the gloomy and gray world portrayed in Nabokov’s book — which is constantly compared to the work of Franz Kafka, despite the fact Nabokov claimed to have written it before reading any Kafka — will also be familiar to fans of the genre.