Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Classic Dystopian Fiction (i.e. The Good Stuff)

Big Brother Is Watching You
And he doesn't want you reading these books!
Dystopian novels have been around for a long time. Before a bunch of kids were thrown together to fight to the death in the Hunger Games, there was Lord of the Flies. Before people were forced to act, look, think and speak a certain way in the Uglies series, there was 1984.

If you are a fan of the recent deluge of dystopian novels that are flooding the literary market, you probably should check out the classics. It's great to see such a fascinating subject so widely discussed, read, and enjoyed as fiction by so many. It would certainly behoove any fan of oppressive-society-literature to delve into the roots of dystopian fiction.

The Iron Heel (Penguin Classics)The Iron Heel (Penguin Classics)

"Part science fiction, part dystopian fantasy, part radical socialist tract, Jack London’s The Iron Heel offers a grim depiction of warfare between the classes in America and around the globe. Originally published nearly a hundred years ago, it anticipated many features of the past century, including the rise of fascism, the emergence of domestic terrorism, and the growth of centralized government surveillance and authority. What begins as a war of words ends in scenes of harrowing violence as the state oligarchy, known as “the Iron Heel,” moves to crush all opposition to its power.”" -GoodReads Rating: 3.7

Brave New WorldBrave New World

"Huxley s vision of the future in his astonishing 1931 novel Brave New World -- a world of tomorrow in which capitalist civilization has been reconstituted through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering, where the people are genetically designed to be passive, consistently useful to the ruling class." -GoodReads Rating: 3.85

Fahrenheit 451: A NovelFahrenheit 451: A Novel

"Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which book paper burns. Fahrenheit 451 is a novel set in the (perhaps near) future when 'firemen' burn books forbidden by a totaltarian "brave new world" regime. The hero, according to Mr. Bradbury, is 'a book burner who suddenly discovers that books are flesh-and-blood ideas and cry out silently when put to the torch.'

Today, when libraries and schools in this country and all over the world are still "burning" certain books, Fahrenheit 451 remains a brilliantly readable and suspenseful work of even greater impact and timeliness." -GoodReads Rating: 3.86

1984 (Signet Classics)1984 (Signet Classics)

"Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell’s narrative is timelier than ever. 1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time." -GoodReads Rating: 3.99

The Time Machine (Signet Classics)The Time Machine (Signet Classics)

"The story that launched Wells's successful career-the classic tale of the Time Traveler and the extraordinary world he discovers in the far distant future. A haunting portrayal of Darwin's evolutionary theory carried to a terrible conclusion." -GoodReads Rating: 3.65

Lord of the Flies (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)
Lord of the Flies (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)

"The story that never grows old...

Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was first published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. Though critically acclaimed, it was largely ignored upon its initial publication. Yet soon it became a cult favorite among both students and literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought and literature.

Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse,Lord of the Flies has established itself as a true classic. And now readers can own it in a beautifully designed hardcover edition worthy of its stature." -GoodReads Rating: 3.55

Want more? Check out this list of dystopian fiction.


  1. I read a bunch of these books in school, but I hated them......But, that could be the reason because they were required. I've found out that a lot of them I enjoy now that I do not have to read them!

  2. I read 1984 and Lord of the Flies in college. I LOVED both of them. I haven't read all the books on this list. But definitely want to read them all eventually. :P

  3. I'm glad you mentioned Fahrenheit 451. I think its an immensely underrated book. 1984 and Lord of the Flies are great too, but I haven't read any of the others on this list.  Great post.

  4. Thanks! I think so too. The idea that books would be so dangerous they'd all have to be burned reminds me of certain censorship issues in our country... :P


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