20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020

The 20 Best Dystopian Novels Ever Written

Make 2020 a year to remember here are my 20 best dystopian books to read over the next year and each one of them offers dystopia’s that will give you nightmares. There is often a joke amongst fans of Huxley and Orwell that their dystopian creations were to act as a warning, not a roadmap towards totalitarianism. However the more you read and immerse yourself the more you can see we are only a few steps away from total control in the name of safety and security.

I have been a lover of Dystopian literature since my teen years, upon reading Animal Farm I became hooked; however these stories don’t age, each I have read them more than once, and new lessons are forthcoming every time I delve into these delightfully dark worlds. Here are my 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020, I am only able to promise you one thing, your dreams will become more vivid and you will begin to question everything.

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1. Brave New World

Brave New World 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1931 number one on my list, is dreadfully dark, plausible and nightmarish. There are no real relationships, an all-controlling World State. Children are born in hatchery’s and from a young age are conditioned out of emotions and individuality. A so-called savage happens upon this deviant world and lets put it this way, it does not end well for him. Soma anyone?

Full Analysis Here: Brave New World

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2. 1984

1984 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020

George Orwell’s classic Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1949 number two on my 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020 and for very good reasons. Orwell was a master of observation and give the communication system in place at the time he wrote this book hie foresight was almost profit like. We follow Winston Smith through somewhat of awakening and challenging what he sees, through a surreal nightmare of events.  ‘Big Brother’ is always watching, the book shows a well-oiled propaganda machine, willingness of people to stab one another in the back and total brainwashing of the population. Endless wars, unseen enemies and a bureaucracy that’s nearly as bad as dealing the Australian Tax Office. 1984 has to be on your read list this 2020, you won’t regret it.

Full Analysis Here: 1984

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3. A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020

  A Clockwork Orange book by Anthony Burgess makes a number three for 3 main reasons, it is dark, daring and dangerous. Rape, murder and mayhem with out of control youths and some “Ultraviolence”. Fundamentally the ordinary folk in this tale have fallen into a stupor of complacency and a repressive Super-State controls all aspects of daily life. However, the youth have developed a subculture that’s dark and at times outright terrifying, in the end, the State takes its pound of flesh, however, this impersonal yet plausible reality will certainly stop and make you think. Ask yourselves, are there areas in your city that you dare not venture after dark? A Clockwork Orange is a must-read for all fans of Dystopian Literature.

Full Analysis Here: A Clockwork Orange

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4. Animal Farm

Animal Farm 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020

George Orwell’s Animal Farm is a remarkable allegory of the early years of the Soviet Union. The book follows a revolution in which the animal’s rebel and exile their human leader, he is replaced by the animals. What at first starts out with good intentions soon becomes worse than what they had before, the so-called commandments are slowly modified and life for the workers never seems to do what was offered. Number four on the list and my first dystopian novel is worth your time, easy a one night read. Four legs good two legs……

Full Analysis Here: Animal Farm

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5. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020

Philip K. Dick’s inspired Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? takes a well earned 5th place in my 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020 list. The story follows a post-nuclear annihilated world were real animals are worth their weight in gold. We follow Rick Deckard and he is certainly no hero as he ruthlessly hunts down androids for the bounty. He has a wild ride and at times it’s difficult to see the humanity in the so-called humans. This book was an inspiration for Blade Runner and a must-read dystopia for you to enjoy.

Full Analysis Here: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 

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6. We

Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020

 We the father of Dystopia by Yevgeny Zamyatin’s written 1920. Some say this book inspired Orwell’s writing. Irrespective I have to include this at number Six on my list having read it around 4 times. It was originally written in Russian and then translated, at times can be a challenge to read, but sticking with it will yield memorable results. In a nameless society one of total control a man D-503 dares to fall in love it warns of the surveillance state and an uncontrolled unemotional bureaucracy. There is no final one; revolutions are infinite.

Full Analysis Here: Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We 

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7. The Lathe of Heaven

The Lathe of Heaven 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020

Ursula K. Le Guin in 1971 produced for me one of their most memorable works The Lathe of Heaven. It’s difficult not to give spoilers away so I keep focused. The book follows George Orr and to say he is a dreamer is an understatement, his dream actually alter reality. Dr. Haber who the book portrays as benevolent, however his lack of proportion actually makes me feel with his education there are elements of megalomania. His dreams with the best of intentions have outcomes that can only be described as a nightmare. Well deserved place on your dystopian book list this coming year.

Full Analysis Here: The Lathe of Heaven

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8. The Handmaid’s Tale


The Handmaid’s Tale 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020

The Handmaid’s Tale for me is Margaret Atwood‘s 1985 Masterpiece. Living with declining birthrates and the perception society is moving in the wrong direction a totalitarian state rises. The power all-consuming is shown in the way the regime’s officials act. The story follows Offred who is a Handmaid, she and other Handmaid’s are treated as a resource to be traded and to birth children. I contains some harrowing scenes, yet also offers some reflection on society and it a well-warranted 8th position in my top 20 list.

Full Analysis Here: The Handmaid’s Tale

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9. The Giver

The Giver 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020

Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel The Giver is a dystopian world that set in the surrounding of a utopia. You will be taken on a ride through the eyes of  Jonas a 12 years old kid. Jonas lives in a world of sameness, yet comes to see that in a world of complete equality not everybody wins. Easy reading and one you can enjoy while relaxing, the book will certainly stay with you, and the ending well…. Talk about cliff hangers.

Full Analysis Here: The Giver 

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10. Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020

 Fahrenheit 451 has to be Ray Bradbury’s best work written in 1953 its relevance to today’s world are startling, don’t let the tenth position fool you there is a hairs width between this book and number one. Set in American near future Guy Montag as a Fireman becomes unhappy with his role in the eradication of unapproved history. He breaks the rules and as always has a price to pay, interesting the books name Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature paper burns at, you guessed it there will be a lot of burning books. However, Bradbury’s classic goes much deeper than that and of the 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020 please make sure this is on your list.

Full Analysis Here: Fahrenheit 451

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11. Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020

Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2005 Dystopia Never Let Me Go for me was a fresh look at some dark ideology. The story fundamentally involves clones, self-awareness, tyrannical and sinister regime. As we progress Kathy the protagonist and narrator of the novel evolve from free spirted to lacking emotion, which is unsurprising if you were created for one reason and that reason is sinister. At eleventh position Never Let Me Go is a solid read and offers real joy, sadness hope and despair in ways that will leave you pondering what if.

Full Analysis Here: Never Let Me Go

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12. Parable of the Sower

Parable of the Sower 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020

Parable of the Sower is Octavia E. Butler’s 1993 exploration of near future societal collapse, with global warming, corporate greed, and the trickle-down effect still not working Bulter create a stake possible reality.  Lauren Oya Olamina takes us on a journey a shared experience, she has the ability to feel others emotional state, and in a world where nearly all hope has collapsed, there is a lot of negative emotions to go-arounds.  Lauren works towards an out of this world experience and her journey to get there on the one you don’t want to miss. At number twelve Parable of the Sower is one you want to read in you 2020 Best Dystopian Books reading list.

Full Analysis Here: Parable of the Sower

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13. The City of Ember

The City of Ember 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020

Jeanne DuPrau‘s 2003 book The City of Ember comes thirteenth on my list, I know its a kids book, I hear you, however, it’s good, fresh and the story behind the story is filled with dread. Lina Mayfleet, and her mate, Doon Harrow adventure through their world following a series of clues left behind by their ancestors. However this book is definitely about the journey, and for those of you like who to think a little deeper, ask the what if’s then I would certainly add The City of Ember to your 2020 reading list.

Full Analysis Here: The City of Ember 

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14. The House of the Scorpion

The House of the Scorpion 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020

The House of the Scorpion is my favourite Nancy Farmer novel hands down, and well-deserving of the 14th position of my 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020. The main character is effectively a clone of a drug baron in a nation bordering the USA known as Opium. The story explores individuality, freedom and human nature in ways that are easy to understand yet challenge the current status quo, like any good dystopian story the real-world parallels are evident and at times close to the bone. What does it mean to be human? The House of the Scorpion asks the right questions.

Full Analysis Here: The House of the Scorpion

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15. The Left Hand of Darkness

The Left Hand of Darkness 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020

Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1968 The Left Hand of Darkness explores through societal observation the roles of sex and gender. The setting for this classic is the Hainish universe and we follow Genly Ai through some interesting escapades. The Left Hand of Darkness features interplanetary negotiations, imprisonment and mind-altering drugs what a combination. However, what sets this book aside is its ability to offer intriguing subplots and provides an immense amount of thought provocation for anyone who is a lover of this genre. “Mindspeak” anyone?

Full Analysis Here: The Left Hand of Darkness

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16. The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020

 The Man in the High Castle offers more literary genius from Philip K. Dick a dystopian classic written in 1962. With the war still fresh in people memories he explores a fictional world in which Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany win the WW2. The USA has dominated one side known as the Japanese-occupied Pacific States of America and the other Nazi-occupied former Eastern United States. With a puppet regime in the Southern States, the book touches on some difficult topics such as slavery and second class citizens however is well done and provides a solid read and a well deserved 16th place. Also, read The Grasshopper Lies Heavy 🙂

Full Analysis Here: The Man in the High Castle

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17. Lost Horizon

Lost Horizon 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020

James Hilton’s 1933 Lost Horizon makes my 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020 list as for me the story is timeless. Hugh Conway a British diplomat explores his humanity in Shangri-La. The book has love rivalry, unnaturally long life expectancy and mystery. Ay seventeenth on my list it’s worth a read and remember home is where the heart is.

Full Analysis Here: Lost Horizon

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18. This Perfect Day

This Perfect Day 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020

This Perfect Day by Ira Levin is worth a read for sure, in a world with everything managed by a central computer that literally keeps the world in check including every human being. Imagine being told what to eat, drink, who to marry, when you can have kids. Well This Perfect Day does all that and explores humanity and what it means to be human through this technocratic dystopia.

Full Analysis Here: This Perfect Day

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19. Survival Diaries

Survival Diaries - The World You Think You Know

Ralph K Jones dystopian tale Survival Diaries is set in a near-future Australia living under the care of the Founders. Following a near devastating war, Australia was on its knees. Floods of refugees, water and food shortages, climate disasters and no answer from the government. Desperate for solutions the people turned to a seemingly benevolent group who appear to offer the answers, the only price conformity. People desperate to keep there individuality and identity do whatever it takes, in a world where thinking for yourself can be catastrophic the and the act of rebellion a one-way ticket to oblivion, you are in for one hell of a ride. Set from multiple points of view, Survival Diaries looks at all sides motivations and immerses you in a world that’s daring, terrifying and thought-provoking. Check out Ralph’s website due to release in early 2020.

20. Perception Reality

Perception Reality

Perception Reality a short easy to read Ralph K Jones dystopian space drama, the book follows Rory who lives a difficult but fulfilling life serving the Earth from the moon of Titan. All seems well with drink, sex and rock and roll however one day everything changes. Rory begins to see his world in a different light. Perception Reality following Rory’s struggle for his mind, and awakening that what he sees if not always what he gets. The book keeps you guessing and is well worth a read for any lover of Dystopian fiction this 2020.

Conclusion – 20 Best Dystopian Books to Read in 2020

Here are 20 amazing books that are all worth reading, with two bonus books from an emerging dystopian author. This list was a challenge to put together but very enjoyable, I would like to thank Ralph K Jones for his analytical yet enjoyable approach to reviewing the literature and with books of his own coming soon certainly worth considering a read. One final word these books are all really good and there are many more I have missed, my previous 10 Best Dystopian Novels of All Time had some different titles and I am for sure excited to hear from you and argue the points. Comment below your top 10 or 20 best dystopian books.

Also, enjoy my other Dystopian Reviews.

  1. The Top 3 Dystopian Novels Of Pierce Brown
  2. Classic Dystopian Book – The Island of Doctor Moreau
  3. Classic Dystopian Book – Logan’s Run
  4. The Top 3 Dystopian Novels of Ursula K. Le Guin
  5. Margaret Atwood’s Top 3 Dystopian Novels

Dave Peterson

Dave Peterson Passion for adventure and sharing his life long journey with as many others as possible. "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." HENRY S. HASKINS

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