Before I say anything else, let me say that there is nothing wrong with reading Young Adult dystopian books. I’m not afraid to say that I’ve had a good time with most of them myself. Sometime you’d rather have something that was a little more “grown-up.” A book that makes you feel like you’re reading something with a capital L. Unlike YA dystopian fiction, the best dystopian novels for adults aren’t afraid to talk about very important issues. Life in a post-apocalyptic world would be very bad, and it’s not likely that teenagers would be able to help. If the world can be saved at all. Books written for adults don’t shy away from saying things aren’t always going to be better than they were before.
It’s a goal of dystopian fiction to make us think about the future in a bad way so that we can avoid the worst-case scenario.Human nature can be both dark and light at the same time. So, dystopian novels usually have both of these things. It’s been shown to us by the coronavirus pandemic that life as we know it can change in an instant. Anyone can imagine what will happen next.
And these authors have a lot of ideas.
Best Dystopian Novels for Adults
Station Eleven By Emily St. John Mandel
Station Eleven is my favorite dystopian book because it has a beautiful literary feel. Though it’s set after an apocalypse, this book isn’t really about the apocalypse at all, even though it is. It’s not the twists in the plot that make this book so interesting. It’s the themes. Power and beauty are hard to put into words. So you’ll have to read it to find out.
The book was published on September 9, 2014. People can buy the book on Amazon and read it on Goodreads.
The Handmaid’s Tale By Margaret Atwood
Between the Hulu TV show and the new sequel, Margaret Atwood’s modern classic The Handmaid’s Tale is getting more attention. In power now is the theocratic, patriarchal society Gilead, which used to be a part of the United States. The elite women can’t have children because of a huge infertility epidemic, so most can’t have them. Instead, they use “handmaids,” women from the lower class who are forced to give birth to children for men so they can have a child. The Handmaid’s Tale is written as the diary of one of these handmaidens, Offred, as she struggles to live in a cruel world and one day escape.
World War Z By Max Brooks
Brooks wrote the book as an oral history of the Zombie War. He splits the book into a series of short stories, which are interviews with survivors of the war, and a single story. It starts with the discovery of Patient Zero and goes all the way up to the complete invasion of Japan. Each story is about a different part of the conflict. Brooks expertly narrates each character to give a wide range of perspectives on a fictional world event. Don’t let the idea of zombies or Brad Pitt’s “meh” movie adaptation scare you off. The book (and the full-cast audiobook) is one of the best dystopian novels out there, and it’s even better than the movie.
Lucifer’s Hammer By Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
My favorite classic dystopian book is one about the end of the world from 1977, which is one of my favorite books from that time. With a huge comet on its way to Earth, Niven and Pournelle write a story about surviving not only the earthquakes and tsunamis that will follow, but also the end of the world as we know it. Lucifer’s Hammer is a page-turner that will make you wonder what you would do at the end of the world and hope you never have to find out.
One Second After By William R. Forstchen
When there is no electricity, there is no medicine, and there is no food. In his novel, William R. Forstchen talks about an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) device that could go off over the United States. In a split second, the electromagnetic wave wipes out all technology and sends the US back to the Dark Ages. Can one man save his small mountain town in North Carolina from the end of civilization by being a good citizen? While Forstchen isn’t the best writer ever, he will make you think about what you’d do if the lights went out. With our old electrical grid and the fact that EMPs are real, he will make you think about what you’d do.
Cloud Atlas By David Mitchell
You should read Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell if you want to read a book about the future that isn’t like any other. Mitchell really shows off his writing skills in this novel, which is told in six short stories that all connect. Starting in 1850, you read the journal of an explorer. Then, you move to a 1930s Belgian composer, a 1970s investigative journalist, present-day England, dystopian Korea, and post-apocalyptic Hawaii, among other places. Stories come back in reverse order before you can even catch your breath. This reveals a bigger story that’s more than the sum of its parts.
Extremely Long Dystopian Books for Adults
The Stand By Stephen King
To make a modern Lord of the Rings, Stephen King wrote one of the best dystopian books ever written, which is called The Dark Tower. After a pandemic like influenza kills most of the world’s people, the people who are left must choose between good and evil. It has a lot of supernatural elements in it, which is typical of Stephen King. This dark fantasy has over 800 pages.
Wanderers By Chuck Wendig
Shana wakes up one morning to find her sister asleepwalking, so she goes to check on her. When she is asleep, she can’t be woken up or stopped from going to sleep. When people see her, they start to follow her. As the epidemic spreads, society starts to fall apart around it. Chuck Wendig paints a tantalizing picture of the end of the world. The 800-page length of Wanderers isn’t going to scare you away from this sci-fi novel. It was the clear winner of the best dystopian novels of 2019.
The Passage By Justin Cronin
What starts out as a government experiment to make people more immune turns into a wave of vampires spreading across the world. Brad Wolgast, an FBI agent, is sorry for his part in the drama and wants to protect Amy, a six-year-old orphan who was part of the experiment that went wrong. There are 700 pages in The Passage that cover a 90-year period, and it’s only the first book in a three-book set.
1Q84 By Haruki Murakami
The famous Japanese author Haruki Murakami has written a mind-bending book that you might want to read if you want something a little different. In 1984, Aomame notices things that aren’t right and finds out that she’s in a different version of her life called 1Q84. People in the religion Aomame is part of start to question what is real. He accepts an assignment to rewrite the book, which changes his whole life and brings him closer to Aomame.
Battlefield: Earth By Ron Hubbard
Is a book about the year 3000 dystopian? This science fiction story is one of my favorites, so I’m going to count it even if I don’t like it as much as I should. For a thousand years, the Psychlos have been in charge of Earth. They are an alien race. However, a group of humans is still living like cavemen. No, Johnnie Goodboy Tyler, the leader of the group, can’t defeat the Empire. Just be willing to look at this one on its own merits, not because the movie was bad or because L. Ron Hubbard is the founder of Scientology, which is what this movie is about.
Sci Fi Dystopian Books About Magical Powers
Year One By Nora Roberts
Nora Roberts is a well-known romance author, but Year One is one of the best new dystopian novels. At midnight on New Year’s Eve, a sickness spreads through the world, killing half the people and destroying civilization. As law and order fall away, magic moves in. Now, a group of survivors must be very careful when they change their lives in a chaotic world.
When did this book come out? December 5, 2017. In this case, you can buy books on Amazon and read them on Goodreads
The Power By Naomi Alderman
What would happen if all women started to be able to make electricity with their hands? If you had that power, how would the world change as a whole? Naomi Alderman does a good job of setting up this dystopian world in this book. Her story is about people who see opportunities in the changing times and make changes in the world, but not always for the better. It was well-written, but I didn’t fall in love. You should know that this book has a lot of language and violence in it, which is typical of books about the future that aren’t very happy.
Brilliance By Marcus Sakey
Marcus Sakey writes a series of books for adults about a dystopian world where only 1% of people have supernatural powers. Nick Cooper, a federal agent, has a unique ability: he can find terrorists. His new target is another “brilliant” person who wants to start a civil war. My favorite part of the first book was all the action. However, I didn’t think the second book lived up to the first one. I didn’t finish the show.