Top Ten Dystopian Novels of the 20th Century

Element119
This is a list of the best dystopian novels written during the 20th century. Feel free to vote for your favorite, or submit a book you like to the list.

The Top Ten

1 1984 - George Orwell

This is my favorite book of all time. A true dystopian masterpiece, this book portrays a world devoid of freedom or happiness, and remains that way through the very end. This book allows you to see our world of today in a new light and try to avoid letting our society come to the same fate that the world of 1984 has become-a world where wrong is right, 2+2=5, and Big Brother is always watching. - Element119

Yep, Western society has definitely gone the way of 1984, especially since the Obama administration with liberal media dominating what can be said and can not.

Canada, in addition to its already outrageous restrictions on free speech, is now considering making it a criminal offense to use any but state-approved terms in reference to "gender" and "gender issues." A good portion of the western world has indeed gone mad.

Are Winston and Julia a romance though? Either way, Wnston is the perfect Dystopian protogonist. - Lucretia

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2 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

Another stunning dystopian novel, Brave New World is a chilling telling of a world where people have become completely oblivious to all that matters. To me, this book is somewhat of a counter to 1984-while the people in 1984 are ruled by force and fear, the citizens in Brave New World are ruled by "conditioning" and drugs so they don't care about what happens to them. - Element119

3 A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess

Another great work of literature, A Clockwork Orange is about the morality of forcing someone to do right against their will, or if they should have the ability to choose to do right or wrong. I just got to finally read the whole novel recently, and I was extremely impressed with this book and the masterpiece that it is. - Element119

4 The Lathe of Heaven - Ursula Le Guin

I don't believe this is an extremely well-known book, but wonderful all the same. I have also never really seen this on dystopian book lists or anything, but I would classify it as one based on the premise and storyline of the novel. This is one of my favorite books ever, and I would recommend this to anyone to read. - Element119

5 Animal Farm - George Orwell

The first genre I would see Animal Farm as would be political satire, but I can also see it being very dystopian at the same time. Using animals as a representation of people and society, Animal Farm tells a tale of how "some animals are more equal than others". - Element119

6 We - Yevgeny Zamyatin

We is a captivating tale of a society carefully controlled by the One State. Citizens have no privacy, and everything they do is carefully managed. - Element119

7 The Chrysalids - John Wyndham

The Chrysalids is a novel showing what can happen to a society governed completely by religion. Any flaw or imperfection on a person (or any other living being) is believed to be done by Satan, and any person who suffers from any sort of imperfection is either banished to the Fringes, or is killed. - Element119

8 Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 is a novel written about a society where books are outlawed, and if an existing one is discovered, burned. Citizens are kept docile and unrebellious by watching a sort of government-controlled television. - Element119

I like this book because it shows the consequences of being extremely one-sided. I know a few far left and far right extremists, they think this book is garbage...explains a lot.

I think I have a new favourite list!

Fahrenheit 451 depicts more of a "personal" dystopia--the people are oppressed because they wish to be oppressed. It's scary how accurate some parts of Bradbury's world are (think seashell radios). - PetSounds

Thank you. And I agree with you are saying with how the people in Fahrenheit 451 choose to be oppressed themselves. We also see people in reality (which I feel that dystopias are much more meaningful when you can connect them to the real world) that do somewhat of the same by choosing to ignore things of importance to their and society's lives, and choosing instead to waste their life and attention on distractions (like celebrities or social media). Perhaps if people would take an interest in what is really going on in the world around them, we could see more positive change in society. - Element119

9 This Perfect Day - Ira Levin

This Perfect Day is a a tale of a society where all citizens are given "treatments", or drugs to make them cooperative and unrebellious to the government. Everyone is considered part of "the Family", and if someone begins to think of making their own choices without Uni (a computer that governs the society), they are considered sick and are given extra treatments to make sure they do not begin to rebel. - Element119

10 Anthem - Ayn Rand

In Anthem, individuality has been destroyed. Citizens refer to themselves as "we", and other plural pronouns, instead of referring to themselves as an individual pronoun-everything has become a collective mindset. - Element119

The Contenders

11 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick

Whoever added this, thank you! This is a wonderful novel, and I can't believe I forgot to put this anywhere on the original list. - Element119

Also known as the inspiration to the critically acclaimed Sci-Fi movie, BladeRunner. - cjWriter1997

12 Battle Royale - Koushun Takami
13 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tail centers around one horrifying scenario, what-if women were reduced to becoming property and forced to have babies against their own will. Even as a male, I find this scenario appalling, so I could only imagine what impact this would have on female readers. While this concept has been done before in novels like Swastika Night, this novel brings this concept to life more than any other. With well-written prose, one of the most sympathetic main characters I've read, and terrifying yet well-crafted worldbuilding. All that threw me off was the absence of quotation marks, and I was able to accustom to that early on. I'll end it off there before I say enough to ruin this experience of a novel, it's best to go in as blind as possible. - nerffan8000

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