Dystopian Books for Adults

A list of Adult Dystopian Books

After listing down my top favourite dystopian books for teens and young adults, today, I’m going to share my best-loved dystopian fiction literature for adults’ genre. Some of the novels I listed for the younger generations are also a few of the most-liked of grown-ups or people of mature ages.

George Orwell’s “Nineteen eighty-four/1984,” Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” are some of the most notable dystopian books that the adults love to read due to its thought-provoking plots.

“The Twilight Saga” and “Cinder” are not only some of the popular dystopian books of young adults, but they are also on the top list of the older generations. Even a couple or so of the teens’ favourites in dystopia plots are also closed to the hearts of mature ages, like “Hunger Games,” “Divergent,” and “Harry Potter.”

Well, without any further delay, here are quite a few of the dystopian-themed books for adults that I loved, personally.

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Ready Player One

Ready Player One

This mega-hit dystopian literature novel by Ernest Cline is among the top five favourites in the list. “Ready Player One” is a best-selling book that accounts for an innovative virtual reality game set in an abominable revolutionary world in the year 2045.

It’s Cline’s superstar novel that caught the attention of a prestigious film outfit. The film adaptation became a super blockbuster hit earning more than five hundred million dollars.

Well, what do you expect from a well-crafted storyline? It’s brilliantly written by Cline that gives you that edge-of-the-seat ride with its suspenseful plot and highly imaginative story.

Ready Player One Synopsis:

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In the distant dystopian world, the reality is a grotesque place. The year is 2045, global warming and crisis in energy seized the world, which causes universal economic depression and social concerns, and the only way for the majority of the people to get away with this tragic reality is the OASIS.

Ready Player One

It’s a virtual universe that the citizens can access using haptic or wired gloves and a visor. Cline described it as both a virtual community and a “Massively Multi-player Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG)” environment.

Deceased wealthy man James Halliday created this interactive virtual role-playing game, which disguised as a hunt for that “Easter Egg,” as the journey to finding it will award both of Halliday’s fortune and the ownership and control of the OASIS.

The story follows the journey of the main character Wade Owen Watts or also known by his avatar’s name as Parzival, who is a teen and an orphan living with his aunt in the slum area of the community.

Wade’s only way to feel alive despite his miserable life is when he’s playing in the virtual utopian OASIS world. He dedicated his whole life studying the mind-boggling puzzles concealed within the gripping digital world. 

While playing the game, he encounters the first clue of the puzzle that leads other players in a quest to kill him to get the ultimate prize of massive fortune and power to whoever can unlock the OASIS and find the “Easter Egg.”

Exhilarating trip to more suspense and adventure makes this Cline’s masterpiece worth reading.

Genre – Dystopian Fiction Literature for Adults

Pages – 374 pages

Goodreads rating4.27/5

My rating – 9.85/10  

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Station Eleven

Station Eleven

An “Arthur C. Clarke Award” recipient is the next on my list. This award-winning novel by Emily St. John Mandel happens in the region of “Great Lakes,” which became a devastating place after a fictional pandemic of “Georgia Flu,” swine flu struck and killed the majority of the populations.

Due to the gripping grounds of the novel, readers couldn’t help but extend their praises over Mandel’s masterpiece. It became a highly acclaimed book, in which critics described the author’s understated nature of writing.

With the collapse of civilizations, Station Eleven’s plot showcases the story of the lives of the artists and the saviour and the journey they’re taking, risking everything for their passion and love for arts and humanities.

Station Eleven Synopsis:

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The story begins during a snowy evening when famous actor Arthur Leander died on stage while playing the title role of the play “King Lear” after suffering from a heart attack.

Station Eleven

Witnessing what was happening to the fifty-one-year-old star, former-paparazzo-turned-entertainment-journalist-EMT Jeevan Chaudhary tries to revive Leander but didn’t succeed. He ended up comforting Kristen Raymonde, one of the child actors of the play.

After leaving the incident, Jeevan goes out and walks on the snowy street of “Great Lakes” when he receives a call from his friend, who is a doctor, advising him to go out of the city and warning him about the mysterious swine flu or “Georgian Flu” that’s increasingly spreading across the town, which sooner became a pandemic.

Jeevan packed his things and stayed with his brother Frank Chaudhary. As time passes by, the story revolves around Kristine Raymonde alongside a group of vagabond actors, who roam around the different outposts of the ruins of the region to perform.

The story moves back from the early days of the actor’s film career to fifteen years chronicling the journey of “Traveling Symphony,” a group of theatre actors, who roam around the abandoned region, with sad, intriguing, and suspenseful plots and the twists of fate, entangling the lives of the five characters.

Genre – Dystopian Fiction Literature for Adults

Pages – 336 pages

Goodreads rating4.05/5

My rating – 9.80/10  

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V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta

Another intriguing dystopian book that provoked global attention is Alan Moore’s work of art “V for Vendetta.” This novel illustrates a dystopian or post-apocalyptic setting of the United Kingdom after the nuclear war attack that left the world in a devastating state.

The concocted “Norsefire political party,” made up of white supremacist, homophobic, superficially Christofascistic, and white supremacist, ruling now as the “Police State,” eliminating their oppositions in concentration camps.

In a powerful and terrifying tale of mankind’s tragic fate in an absolute totalitarianism government, where their identity and freedom are extinct, coupled with chillingly believable graphics and plots that will make you feel and live the horrifying despotic world.

This revolutionary and provocative storyline reveals the suffocating nature of living in a commanding society with an oppressive police state. It also shows how the human spirit’s redeeming power will rebel against unjust suppression.

V for Vendetta Synopsis:

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V for Vendetta

In the dystopian world of London in 1997, financially distressed sixteen-year-old Evey Hammond solicits money from men in exchange for sexual pleasure without knowing that these men are members of “The Finger” or the “state secret police.

”While they prepare to violet and murder Evey, a disguised rebel in a mask, known as V, killed the men.

Before bringing the teen into his hidden underground hideout, which he named as the “Shadow Gallery,” he remotely blows up the “House of Parliament.”

As Evey reveals her story to V, in the same way as the latter, the spine-tingling revolutionary rebellion that V has planned along with the help of the sixteen-year-old girl continues.

Genre – Dystopian Fiction Literature for Adults

Pages – 296 pages

Goodreads rating4.25/5

My rating – 9.85/10  

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Bird Box

Bird Box

Adding to my new favourite dystopian fiction literature novel is the controversial “Bird Box” by Josh Malerman. The most talked-about book became a worldwide sensation for its impressive film adaptation.

Nevertheless, nothing is more spectacular than reading it through the pages of this frightening, post-apocalyptic plot. This debut novel of Malerman provokes people’s senses and imaginative views in a world where the enemy is invisible.

Malerman creatively writes the storyline in flashbacks of two previous periods and integrating it into the present. Overall, it is happening in a three-time period.

Bird Box Synopsis:

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Bird Box

It starts with Malorie discovering her pregnancy after a one-night stand with a man that she’s unable to contact. Despite initial reports from international news about people going mad, she initially rejects it until she witnessed something horrible around the people, particularly with her sister.

The story continues with people turning into savages attacking and infecting others in the process before they kill themselves.

Malorie finds herself with other survivors in a home where they shelter and hide from the chaos happening outside.

Together, they spend the days and nights in the house and only come out to get grocery supplies with blindfolds, as the invisible culprit seems to attack them using their fears through their sights. Eventually, Malorie gave birth and survived from the sad turns of the dwelling place with almost everyone killed, except for her, her baby, another survivor’s baby, and Tom. Malorie and Tom, together with the two children, embark on another dangerous and thrilling journey.

Genre – Dystopian Fiction Literature for Adults

Pages – 262 pages

Goodreads rating 4.02/5

My rating – 9.35/10  

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A fresh addition to my best dystopian novels is Christina Dalcher’s “Vox,” which is the debut or first book of this award-winning author and has twenty language translations. In the ruins of what was known as America, half of mankind’s populations are not allowed to talk.

It celebrates the strength of a woman and mother under unjust government law. Dalcher details how a mother will do anything and everything to protect herself and her one and only daughter against a new law that imposes women to limit the number of words they speak.

Vox Synopsis:

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In a fictional new America, the government implements a new law, which restricts women, in particular, to speak. One woman and mother, Dr Jean McClellan, couldn’t believe what she found out. She’s in complete denial, unable to accept that it is happening in the country and to her.

Making things worse, it was just the beginning. Soon, women will also get banned from working. The girls will no longer learn how to read and write, as teaching them will also not be allowed.

Eventually, females will be left voiceless, as they will get silenced by the government.

Before, everyone can speak countlessly, but with the current law, women will be significantly affected as they can only say one hundred words. However, this will not be the end that Dr McClellan sees. She’s going to redeem women’s rights for herself and her daughter, and to all the women silenced.

Genre – Dystopian Fiction Literature for Adults

Pages – 336 pages

Goodreads rating 3.56/5

My rating – 8.75/10  

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Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451

One of my top 100 dystopian-themed novels is “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury. With more than a million ratings from readers, this book is one of Bradbury’s best works. It presents a future society in the United States where books get banned.

Books get confiscated and burned by governing authorities called the “firemen.” Seized books will get burned under the “Fahrenheit 451” temperature. Hence, the title. Eventually, one of the most loyal and dedicated firemen will get disappointed with his role, leading him to quit his work and commit to protecting literary and cultural writings in the process.

Fahrenheit 451 Synopsis:

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The story primarily tells the life of one of the autocratic government’s firemen named Guy Montag. His work includes burning down houses that contain prohibited books.

Fahrenheit 451

Married but with no children, he meets his new neighbour while returning from work one fall night.

His new neighbour is Clarisse McClellan, a teen whose free-spirited character and forward-thinking ideology made Guy questions his life and perceptions of happiness.

Upon returning home, he found his wife Mildred, who is unresponsive as she gets overdosed with sleeping pills.

Guy calls for medical attention, and two indifferent emergency medical personnel came and assisted Mildred. After the two leaving, Guy goes outside his home and hears Clarisse with her family talking about a society that’s illiterate and self-indulgent.

He got overwhelmed with what he hears and what happens to his wife. As he and Clarisse enjoy a fun-filled conversation each night, he finds out one day that the teen is missing. He knows something is wrong.

Genre – Dystopian Fiction Literature for Adults

Pages – 194 pages

Goodreads rating3.99/5

My rating – 9.25/10  

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Final Say

While “Ready Player One” gives us that edge-of-the-seat excitement with its innovative virtual reality game’s twists and thrills, “Station Eleven” and “Fahrenheit 451,” on the other hand, show us how arts and literature contribute immensely to our daily lives. “Vox” and “Bird Box” mainly tell us a story of a mother’s strength and love to protect her children.

“V for Vendetta” proves to us how excessive unlawful treatments in an autocratic government can provoke mankind. Well, too much of something is not okay.

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A Beginner’s Guide to the Dystopian Genre

Kelly W
Kelly W
Dream big, play hard, take the wins and embrace the losses.
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