Dystopian Fiction

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Need an escape from current events? Our new list of Dystopian Fiction contains moving and sometimes chilling explorations of what happens when our social and political structures are pushed to the extremes. Find a new perspective when you revisit a few of the classics or discover new apocolyptic bestsellers.

Dystopian Fiction

The Handmaid’s Tale

Margaret Atwood


Set in the future, the United States of America is now the Republic of Gilead, a fundamentalist Christian theocracy that arose after fanatics shot the president, machine-gunned the Congress and forced the army to declare a state of emergency. To reverse the declining birthrate, women are forcibly recruited into the ranks of Handmaids and are assigned to the Commanders of the Faithful, whose wives are barren. 1986.

Bestseller, Politics, Government, Religion, Sociology

Oryx and Crake

Margaret Atwood

DB056234, BR014805

In the near future, a lone human amidst genetically engineered creatures torments himself with memories of the devastation of the natural world. Calling himself "Snowman," he recalls the role of his best friend Crake and mourns the loss of their mutually beloved Oryx. 2003.

Bestseller, Romance, Science, Sociology

The Windup Girl

Paolo Bacigalupi


In a post-oil world where calories are currency, agriculture manager Anderson Lake searches a politically unstable Thailand for new food sources. He meets Emiko, a bioengineered "windup" girl, who works in a Bangkok brothel. 2009.

Award Winning, Thailand, Technology, Biology, Commercial Audiobook

Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury

DB034963, DB067981 (Spanish)

Social satire set in the future, when owning or reading books is a crime. Guy Montag, the fireman-hero, becomes a fugitive when he succumbs to temptation. 1953.

Bestseller, Classic Literature, Politics, Government, Sociology

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

Max Brooks


Author of The Zombie Survival Guide (DB064675) records firsthand interviews with survivors of humanity's devastating clash with the undead. Personal accounts from all over the world reveal the scope of the conflict, from the first zombie outbreak to the aftermath of war. 2006.

Bestseller, Horror, Adventure, War, Biology

A Clockwork Orange

Anthony Burgess


A 15 year old hooligan named Alex roams the streets of London terrorizing people at random. He is arrested and subjected to corrective brainwashing with unanticipated results. The author adds a flavor of reality of his prophecy of future urban life by inventing the teenage dialect of "nadsat." 1962.

Classic Fiction, Crime, Psychological Fiction

Ready Player One

Ernest Cline


2045. Multibillionaire James Halliday dies, leaving his last will and testament online for the world to see. His massively multiplayer online game OASIS has a hidden feature--an Easter egg--and the person who finds the egg first wins Halliday's fortune. 2011.

YA, Bestseller, Adventure, Technology

The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins

DB068384, DB074957 (Spanish)

In a future North America, Panem's rulers maintain control through a televised survival competition pitting teens from twelve districts in a fight to the death. Sixteen-year-olds Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are this year's girl and boy contestants from District Twelve. 2008.

YA, Bestseller, Adventure, Politics, Government, Sociology

The Passage

Justin Cronin


Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte becomes humanity's last hope after the North American populace is decimated by a terrifying viral infection--the product of a secret military experiment housed in a remote compound in the Colorado mountains. 2010.

Bestseller, Horror

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Philip K. Dick

In the year 2021, Rick Deckard is employed on a dying Earth as a bounty hunter, seeking androids that look like humans and destroying them. Basis for the 1982 movie Blade Runner. 1968.


Bestseller, Technology, Government, Sociology, Download Only

The Man in the High Castle

Philip K. Dick


The Axis powers have won World War II and jointly occupy the United States. A German faction attempts to warn the Japanese about an impending nuclear attack. A subversive novel and a fortune-telling device guide characters' decisions in this alternate history. 1962.

Bestseller, Award Winner, Sociology, War

House of the Scorpion

Nancy Farmer


In a future where humans despise clones, Matt has special privileges as the young clone of El PatrĂ³n--the 140-year-old leader of a corrupt drug empire. When Matt gets a glimpse of his fate, he rebels. 2002.

Young Adult, Award Winner, Adventure, Sociology, Download Only


William Gibson


Chase, a twenty-first century computer interfacer, is caught stealing and receives nerve damage as punishment. When even Japan's medical minds can't repair the injury, drug-addicted and penniless Chase loses hope, until he is kidnapped by strangers who promise to cure him if he uses his expertise on their dangerous project. 1984.

Bestseller, Award Winner, Cyberpunk, Download Only

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley


A satire set in a future technocratic society in which people are rigidly classified by the state and kept happy by a government-administered drug. When two bureaucrats, Lenina and Bernard, travel to a "savage" reservation, they "rescue" a woman and her adult son, abandoned long ago, and return them to civilization. 1932.

Bestseller, Classic Literature, Politics, Government, Sociology

Never Let Me Go

Kazuo Ishiguro


As children, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now Kathy looks back at their shared past and to understand just what it is that makes them special—and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.2005.

Bestseller, Psychological Fiction, Biology, Commercial Audiobook, Download Only

The Children of Men

P.D. James


In 1995, aware that all living men are infertile, Theo Faron notes that the earth's last human being has been born. On January 1, 2021, that last human born, Joseph Ricardo, dies at the age of twenty-five. Theo's cousin Xan Lyppiatt, warden of England, rules supreme as he watches the world crumble because of despair-based oppression. Then suddenly a pregnant woman is discovered. 1992.

Bestseller, Politics, Government, Sociology, Biology

The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition

Stephen King


An experimental virus called superflu hits the world--rapidly wiping out the whole of civilization except for the few who are immune. Expansion of novel originally published in 1978. 1990.

Bestseller, Mystery, Biology, Sociology

On Such a Full Sea

Chang-rae Lee


In a post-apocalyptic world, Fan lives in the settlement of B-Mor, where she works as a diver cultivating fish. One day her boyfriend Reg disappears, and Fan leaves B-Mor to discover his fate. 2014.

Young Adult, Award Winner, Adventure, Sociology

The Giver

Lois Lowry


Jonas lives in a utopia: there is no hunger, no disease, no fear; the elderly are tenderly cared for, and every child has attentive parents. The society is uniformly run. Jonas eagerly awaits the Ceremony of Twelve, when twelve-year-olds receive assignments for their lifelong professions. He is selected to be the new Receiver of Memories. As such he learns of misery and pain, but also of joy and love. Newbery Medal winner. 1993.

Grades 6-9, Award Winner, Bestseller, Sociology, Classic Literature

Station Eleven

Emily St. John Mandel


On the eve of civilization's collapse due to pandemic, actor Arthur Leander dies on stage while performing King Lear. Eight-year-old Kirsten Raymonde is also in the play, and as she grows older, she discovers secrets of their new dystopia link back to Arthur. 2014.

Bestseller, Adventure, Arts and Literature, Sociology, Commercial Audiobook

The Road

Cormac McCarthy


A father and his young son journey south after the destruction of the civilized world. Their survival kit consists of a few blankets, a pistol, a cart of scavenged food, and their love for each other. Their values are tested by occasional encounters with other desperate survivors. 2006.

Bestseller, Award Winner, Adventure, Family, Literature


George Orwell

DB073474, BR010312

Satire about an alternate London under a totalitarian regime overseen by the omnipresent Big Brother. Winston Smith, a Ministry of Truth bureaucrat, attempts an intellectual rebellion against the Party while he pursues an illicit romance. His actions lead to his imprisonment, torture, and reeducation by the Thought Police. 1949.

Bestseller, Classic Literature, Politics, Government, Sociology, Humor

On the Beach

Nevil Shute


An atomic war has destroyed all life in the Northern Hemisphere and the lethal fallout is moving southward. A group of people in Australia, including American navy Commander Dwight Towers, are faced with impending annihilation. They must decide how to spend the precious days remaining to them. 1957.

Adventure, War, Download Only

The Time Machine

H. G. Wells


In this short novel, the first of Wells's works in science fiction, the Time Traveller constructs a machine that will enable him to travel backward or forward in time. He travels far into the future and reappears disheveled, pale, and haggard. 1895.

Classic Literature, Sociology

The Chrysalids

John Wyndham


Science fiction about fanatical survivors of an atomic war who are obsessed with weeding out all mutants in the population. The "different" ones are condemned to a hideous exile, and children are careful to hide their "differences" even from their zealous parents. 1955.

Government, Sociology, Download Only