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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Dystopian Literature

Since the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President, the popularity of dystopian literature has risen dramatically.  For example, sales of 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale have soared.  It seems readers are searching for stories that describe what’s currently happening and what has the possibility of happening due to recent events.

Various publications have prepared lists of dystopian books and I thought I’d recommend a couple of sites:

The Savvy Reader includes both Orwell and Atwood and also mentions Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel which I reviewed (

Refinery29 also suggests Orwell, Atwood and St. John Mandel.

Wikipedia lists dystopian novels chronologically.
The Guardian listed books about American authoritarianism. 

Over the years, I have read and taught a number of dystopian novels.  Here are a dozen authors I recommend:
The Handmaid's Tale and the MaddAddam Trilogy (Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, and MaddAddam) by Margaret Atwood
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
La Planète des Singes by Pierre Boulle
The Hunger Games Trilogy (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay) by Suzanne Collins
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Children of Men by P. D. James
It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Zazen by Vanessa Veselka
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

If you don’t have the time to read a book, how about a short story?  "By the Waters of Babylon" is a post-apocalyptic short story by Stephen Vincent Benét.  You can read it here: