Top 5 Dystopian Stories to start the New Year

Top 5 Dystopian Stories to start the New Year

The dystopian genre powers on with more directors lining up to make movies of some excellent books.

Try these Top 5  Dystopian Stories for a different perspective on life as well as entertainment. It contains several of our absolute favorites.

1. Wool – Hugh Howey

Part of the Silo series, this book is a rare gem in dystopian sci-fi. Howey shows a knack for creating well-rounded, believable characters that readers can empathize with and root for. The storytelling is also nothing short of exceptional; the plot keeps building up and will keep you on your toes, turning the pages to see how things will unfold. With more dystopian stories getting film adaptations, Wool is one of those books that you will wish actually gets made by a film studio someday soon.
Dystopian Stories

2. Uglies: Uglies; Pretties; Specials; Extras – Scott Westerfeld

Dystopian Stories

Imagine a world where one’s quality of life relies on being beautiful, and all children are born ugly, until they turn 16 year-old and are given plastic surgery as an initiation rite. This is the premise of Westerfeld’s dystopian trilogy (plus). As the first book of the trilogy, Uglies introduces a solidly constructed setting, so readers understand how the world got to where it is.  As the series develops the pitfalls of social media are explored, along with the boundaries of controlling society.  How far can you?  Oh, and you will want a hoverboard too.  A firm favorite dystopian story series.

3. The Host: A Novel – Stephanie Meyer

Dystopian Stories

Forget Twilight. It would not be fair to compare The Host to Meyer’s highly popular teen girl-meets-vampire series. And forget the film which did not do this book any justice either. The novel is well-paced, balancing quieter moments where one can get to know the characters better with action sequences. The idea of aliens inhabiting human bodies may or may not be your cup or tea – same goes for sparkling vampires – but this is definitely a book worth giving a chance. Meyer may not be the next big name in genre fiction, but she does deserve credit for showing growth as a writer. One of our favorite books.

4. The Windup Girl – Paolo Bacigalupi

Dystopian Stories

Rarely is there a book that comes along with such originality that one would practically beg for a sequel. The Windup girl is set in the bleakest of bleak futures; in a world where petroleum-powered technology is scarce, solar tech is non-existent, and power is generated by human labor with calories as currency. What makes The Windup Girl a worthwhile read is that it explores the theme of humanity. Perhaps the simple takeaway message here is that we all have the power to make defining choices, no matter how depressing the state of the world seems to be.

5. Obernewtyn: The Obernewtyn Chronicles 1 – Isobelle Carmody

Dystopian Stories

As the first book of the series The Obernewtyn Chronicles, Obernewtyn introduces readers to Carmody’s intriguing post-apocalyptic world and the main character, Elspeth. Like most introductory books, it starts off on the slower side so readers can familiarize themselves with the setting. But keep on reading, because a lot of excitement, action and adventure do eventually follow. If you are looking for a longer series with a story that expands beyond the typical trilogy, the Obernewtyn Chronicles may just be what you are looking for.

20th Century Dystopian Novels to Read

20th Century Dystopian Novels to Read

The Dystopia theme has undergone a revival in recent years with a spate of dystopian movies such as Hunger Games, Maze Runner and Divergent.  Many recent dystopian movies originated with a novel, or series; resulting in a series of movies, usually spawned from the book series. This genre of literature explores alternate societies with degraded social and/or political structures.

Dystopian novels have been around since the 1700’s! Gulliver’s Travels (Jonathon Swift – 1726) is considered one of the very first in the genre. Early 19th century dystopian novels include The Time Machine (HG Wells, 1985) and The Begum’s Fortune (Jules Verne – 1879). In 20th Century the genre expanded, as literacy, printing and the world expanded. Dystopian classics such as We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (reviewed below) and Brave New World (Aldous Huxley – 1931) were written early 20th Century.

So dystopian fiction is not new. Yet, you may have noticed many of these dystopian movies appear to have been aimed at the “young adult” market.

WhyToRead believes this is because young adults are more likely to question the status-quo. Traditionally, teenagers and young adults look to explore extreme ideas, often around political ideals as they develop their own knowledge and perception of the world and its problems. Dystopian novels helps teens and adults explore themes and life lessons about power, freedom and ideals in a safe environment – their imagination.

5 Twentieth Century Dystopian Novels

1. We – Yevgeny Zamyatin

Dystopian Novels

Written in 1920 and often regarded as the author’s satirical take on the political events leading to the foundation of the USSR, the world in We was built on the premise of a future where a single governing body rules over nameless citizens with no individuality. Many themes are explored here; from freedom and love to privacy and perfection. Overall, the novel was written in the true spirit of dystopian fiction whereby it present the idea of what could have been, thus offering readers an alternative view of reality. This is a classic that fans of the genre should not pass up.

2. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

dystopian novels

Rarely are there novels that can strike a chord with readers because of how familiar the events in its fictional world are to that of reality. The Handmaid’s Tale touches on themes such as human rights and gender discrimination – all of which are still a reality in many parts of the world – with many allusions to biblical stories. The story does not progress in a linear fashion though; so expect flash backs and forwards, but because it is written in Atwood’s characteristic masterful prose, it is impossible not to be absorbed by this book.

3. Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand

dystopian novels

What happens when a nation’s prominent industrialists refused to give into aggressive new regulations and allow the economy to collapse? Atlas Shrugged showcases the application of Rand’s objectivism philosophy which some reader may not find themselves approving of. Whether one agrees with the novel’s underlying philosophy or not, Atlas Shrugged is still a book that should be on everyone’s essential reading list – even if it is just for the sake of challenging your own views.

4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K Dick

dystopian novels

Although it was first published in 1968, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? remains a Sci-Fi classic that is ahead of its time, simply because some aspects of the grim future envisioned in the book seem not too detached from reality. In the novel, humanity is defined by the ability to feel empathy for all life forms, even artificial life. The protagonist is then faced with the question of his own humanity when he meets an android he is assigned to ‘kill’, only to realize that even androids are well-aware of their own mortality. It should be noted that this book was the source material for the 1982 movie, Blade Runner.

5. Running Man – Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King)

dystopian novels
In the year 2025, what could a man desperate to save his family do to get a large sum of cash? Well, appear in a life-or-death reality TV show, of course! The concept of a reality TV show seemed far-fetched in 1982, when Running Man was first published, which would only give the novel’s premise an edge. But even after an era of reality show -saturated television, the book still proves to have a powerful impact on the readers. It is fast paced, neither too complex nor too simple, and definitely impossible to put down – a testament to Stephen King’s storytelling prowess, which was already evident in his early days as a writer under this pseudonym.

8 Best Books About The Impending Zombie Apocolypse

8 Best Books About The Impending Zombie Apocolypse

Hell is full and all the dead remain here on Earth as the walking dead. Or, there is a virus that turns everyone’s brains into mush and they need to eat more human brains to survive. Whatever the reason, zombie apocalypse books would have us believe that this is how we’re all going to die and the books on this list are the main culprits of this premise.

8 Best Zombie Books

1. World War Z – Max Brooks

Zombie Books

From a previous post: World War Z is a fictional account of a worldwide outbreak of the living dead in the near future and judging from some of the descriptions of places and events in the beginning of the book it won’t be too far in the future.

2. The Girl With All the Gifts – M.R. Carey

Zombie Books

If you like post apocalyptic thrillers with a decent scientific conceit underpinning it and an engaging read. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic society in the U.K. Melanie and other children attend school classes, which seems normal enough on the surface, but it soon become apparent that something is not quite right, both with the children and with this school.

3. Monster Island: A Zombie Novel – David Wellington

Zombie Books

The novel takes place six weeks after the epidemic, which turned the world to chaos run by the living dead. We follow Dekalb, a former UN weapons inspector who has found safety in Somalia, with a group of female warriors loyal to the warlord of Somalia. This book has a different take on the usual zombie novel, which is what makes this book stand out.

4. Day by Day Armageddon – J. L. Bourne

Zombie Books

The story, told in first person journal format, kicks off with the narrator (an unnamed U.S. Naval officer) making a New Year’s resolution to keep a journal. As the days progress, he comments on his life and the various problems he’s noticing in the news, particularly the mysterious outbreak of a disease in China.

5. Infected: A Novel – Scott Sigler

Zombie Books

Scott Sigler takes just enough reality and science to make his fiction even scarier. The story follows Dew Phillips and his partner in the CIA who are on a top secret mission, chasing after madmen who are homicidal and suicidal, possibly infected with some new disease.

6. Feed – Mira Grant

Zombie Books

The year is 2039 and bloggers have taken over the world. Twenty five years ago the Kellis-Amberlee virus went live. Infected humans and animals began reanimating after death–some underwent spontaneous change–to become walking feeding machines.

7. The Passage: A Novel – Justin Cronin

Zombie Books

The story is teased out gradually, moving back and forth from places as far and deep as a Bolivian jungle, to the deserts and mountains of the west and southwest, to the concrete jungle of Houston, Texas, and many stops throughout. In this staggering book of speculative fiction, Cronin has proven that he can transcend genre and, with his power of language, create a distant world that feels close and credible.

8. The Remaining – D.J. Molles

Zombie Books

This is not a “zombie” book per say. There are living breathing running people who have been attacked by a virus that turns them crazy and violent and they can still use tools. And, of course, we have the raiders, the idiots, the rapists, and all the crazy “non infected” that come crawling out like cockroaches to add to the excitement.

6 Gripping Page Turners You Won’t Be Able To Put Down

6 Gripping Page Turners You Won’t Be Able To Put Down

A major part of the success of these books is how gripping they are. We wanted to make a book list that showcased the books that made you forget to eat, forget to sleep and forget to pick up your kids from school. This is the list we came up with.

6 Gripping Page turners You Won’t Be Able To Put Down

1. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

gripping books

Don’t hate us for including this one. If you haven’t read it, you must do before watching the movie. In fact, give the movie a miss. Its pointless and the book is far better. There’s no denying its success and Dan Brown will keep you turning those pages until there are no more pages to turn.

2. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

gripping books

Another gripping page turner, The Time Travelers Wife will keep you going just to figure out whats going on. The romantics will enjoy the relationship between the two main characters, and everyone else will enjoy the time travelling storytelling.

3. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

gripping books

A book which tells of the horrors of living under Nazi control, told from the perspective of a young book thief who befriends a Jewish man, before he is sent off to a concentration camp.

4. Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen

gripping books

A phenomenal story told from the perspective of an orphaned and penniless, Jacob Jankowski. He joins the circus for an adventure and an adventure is exactly what he gets, albeit with more danger than he could have anticipated.

5. The Road – Cormac McCarthy

gripping books

A beautifully written post apolocalyptic story told from the perspective of a father and son in search of food, warmth and ultimate survival. What they encounter along the way is shocking and an indication of what people will do to survive.

6. Animal Farm – George Orwell

gripping books

If like me you were forced to read this in high school and therefore hated it, I urge you to read it again. George Orwell found an incredible way to show how the power structures of the world work, how revolutions come about and how absolute power can corrupt, absolutely.

9 Thought Provoking Books Everyone Should Read

9 Thought Provoking Books Everyone Should Read

We wanted to find the books that created such an intense feeling in its readers that it left them thinking about it for a long time. These thought provoking books will change your perspective and they will stay with you, long after you’ve finished the book.

9 Thought Provoking Books Everyone Should Read

1. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein

Thought Provoking Books

Written at the peak of Robert A. Heinlein’s creative powers in the mid-sixties, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress ranks with “Stranger in a Strange Land” as his most popular and acclaimed novel. Heinlein was furiously ingenious at this stage in his career, and this novel is an incredible feat of imagination, intellect, and writing talent.

He plays with language, revolutionary politics, propaganda, sex, families, economics, war and the question of when does a machine become human.

2. Siddhartha Mass Market – Hermann Hesse

Thought Provoking Books

Siddhartha is that most unusual of all stories – one that follows a character throughout most of his life and describes that life in terms of a spiritual journey. For those who are ready to think about what their spiritual journey can be, Siddhartha will be a revelation.

3. Cat’s Cradle: A Novel – Kurt Vonnegut

Thought Provoking Books

Cat’s Cradle is by far the best Vonnegut novel that I have yet read. Blending his patented wry humor with acute social insight presented in an absurd fantasy world, Vonnegut has written an exceptional novel of love, lies, and the self destruction of mankind.

4. Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes

Thought Provoking Books

This is a wonderful and highly original novel about a mentally challenged man named Charlie who wanted to be smart. One day, his wish was granted. A group of scientists selected him for an experimental operation which would to raise his intelligence to genius level. Suddenly, Charlie found himself transformed, and life changed.

5. The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster

Thought Provoking Books

The story follows the journey of Milo, a boy bored of basically everything around him. One day he receives a mysterious package that turns out to be a tollbooth. For lack of anything better to do, he puts it together and begins to play, only to find himself driving in an entirely different world.

6. East of Eden – John Steinbeck

Thought Provoking Books

East of Eden is for those who think, who care about who they are and who they want to be or ought to have been. People have talked of its being depressing. It’s not. The Biblical tale of Cain and Abel sets the tone as we are introduced to two sets of brothers. Each tries to win the love of his father in different ways. The story of why one brother succeeds while another feels unloved is beautifully told.

7. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Thought Provoking Books

Aldous Huxley’s novel “Brave New World” is both one of the best science fiction books and one of the most brilliant pieces of satire ever written. It takes place on a future Earth where human beings are mass-produced and conditioned for lives in a rigid caste system. As the story progresses, we learn some of the disturbing secrets that lie underneath the bright, shiny facade of this highly-ordered world.

8. The Giver – Lois Lowry

Thought Provoking Books

Jonas lives in a perfect world where war, disease, and suffering have all been eradicated. The people have no worries or cares. The Community strives for “sameness,” in which everyone and everything are the same and equal. To help the Community function as a cohesive unit, each member is assigned a position in society. When Jonas turns twelve, the Community selects him to be the new “Receiver of Memories.” Only the “Giver” knows the truth and memories of the past, and now he must pass these memories on to Jonas.

9. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values Mass Market – Robert M. Pirsig

Thought Provoking Books

Phaedrus, our narrator, takes a present-tense cross-country motorcycle trip with his son during which the maintenance of the motorcycle becomes an illustration of how we can unify the cold, rational realm of technology with the warm, imaginative realm of artistry. This book is famous because it fills a perfect niche in that it introduces some very complicated philosophical questions in a form that the common reader will find interesting.

5 Most Controversial Books In History

5 Most Controversial Books In History

You would think that the religious texts such as the Bible and Quran are a shoe into this list but we left them out because we’d like the list to have more variety. They are absolutely controversial, but lets find some other controversial books.

Here are the 5 Most Controversial Books In History.

1. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

Controversial Books

If you’ve only heard of “Lolita” from its reputation as being “pornographic”, you are in for a surprise when you read it. Yes, it involves a lecherous, middle aged man chasing after a 12 year old “nymphet”. Yes, it is deeply disturbing and makes one queasy at times. It is also a brilliant, funny, witty, literary rollercoaster.

2. The Satanic Verses: A Novel – Salman Rushdie

Controversial Books

Although we’re avoiding the religious texts, we’re not avoiding religion all together. One of the most controversial and acclaimed novels ever written, The Satanic Verses is Salman Rushdie’s best-known books, which almost cost him his life.

3. Holy Blood, Holy Grail: The Secret History of Christ & The Shocking Legacy of the Grail – Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, Henry Lincoln

Controversial Books

This book is pretty much the basis to the fictional work by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code. It states that Jesus lived, married, had children, and moved to France. Let the controversy ensue.

4. The Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx, Friedrich Egles

Controversial Books

As far as political books go, this could be the most controversial from the perspective of the west. The book claims that capitalism is only a theoretical success.

5. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Controversial Books

Brave New World is a most popular novel by Aldous Huxley and published in 1932. It was frequently challenged with banning attempts, and is still considered controversial. Its portrayal of what the future could look like was deemed too controversial, and the book was banned in many countries and is still seen as one of the most controversial books of all time.

Banned Books: 6 Banned Books Which Are Now Bestsellers

Banned Books: 6 Banned Books Which Are Now Bestsellers

Banned Books

This is a list of banned books that have at one point either been banned, censored, or requested for removal from libraries. They were controversial when they were published, but turned out to enlighten those who read them, to a point that those in charge were not ready for.

We can handle them now, so without further ado;

6 Banned Books Which Are Now Bestsellers

1. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Banned Books

2. 1984 – George Orwell

Banned Books

3. Animal Farm – George Orwell

Banned Books

4. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

Banned Books

5. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

Banned Books

6. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank

Banned Books

If you know of any other banned books that we are worth a mention, let us know in the comments.

Top 5 Best Dystopian Novels Ever Written

Top 5 Best Dystopian Novels Ever Written

Best Dystopian Novels

Below are the Best Dystopian Novels and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction books ever written, ranked based on customer ratings and international sales numbers. If we missed your favourite novel, let us know in the comments below.

Top 5 Best Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction Novels Ever Written

1. 1984 – George Orwell

Best Dystopian Novels

Orwell tried to depict a totalitarian state, where the truth didn’t exist as such, but was merely what the “Big Brother” said it was. Freedom was only total obedience to the Party, and love an alien concept, unless it was love for the Party. A terrifying glimpse into the future that could be, or already is.

2. The Giver – Lois Lowry

Best Dystopian Novels

Jonas lives in a “perfect” world where war, disease, and suffering have all been eradicated. Everything is in order; everything is under control. The people have no worries or cares. The Community strives for “sameness,” in which everyone and everything are the same and equal. To help the Community function as a cohesive unit, each member is assigned a position in society. When Jonas turns twelve, the Community selects him to be the new “Receiver of Memories.” Only the “Giver” knows the truth and memories of the past, and now he must pass these memories on to Jonas.

3. Brave New World- Aldous Huxley

Best Dystopian Novels

The book takes place on a future Earth where human beings are mass-produced and conditioned for lives in a rigid caste system. As the story progresses, we learn some of the disturbing secrets that lie underneath the bright, shiny facade of this highly-ordered world.

4. Fahrenheit 451: A Novel – Ray Bradbury

Best Dystopian Novels

In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury’s classic, frightening vision of the future, firemen don’t put out fires–they start them in order to burn books. Bradbury’s vividly painted society holds up the appearance of happiness as the highest goal–a place where trivial information is good, and knowledge and ideas are bad.

5. Lord of the Flies – William Golding

Best Dystopian Novels

Lord of the Flies is a 1954 dystopian novel by Nobel Prize winning English author William Golding about a group of British boys stuck on an uninhabited island who try to govern themselves with disastrous results.