Dystopian books give us an insight into how the world would have turned out if certain occurrences had taken place. An important theme in the dystopian genre is politics.
Political dystopian books are written as a result of the dangers of the dysfunctional history of the human race, and often warns us of the future.
If there’s anything the year 2020 can teach us, it’s that fiction can become reality. With the trend of beguiling events these past years, lovers of dystopian books may be able to relate with certain pieces of literature.
The plot of a typical political dystopian novel involves a society in the future, with a tyrannical government that compels conformity.
In some cases, this is in the wake of a calamity that has occurred for humankind or society all in all has taken a dim and severe turn for the more terrible.
Periodically there are no delightful endings in these political dystopian books, just a dismal and broken future with a glimpse into the light.
This post contains some affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you.
According to readers, these are the best political dystopian books:
It is impossible to talk about classic political dystopia books without mentioning this book. George Orwell’s “1984,” published over seventy years ago, has had an astonishing run as a work of political prescience.
Ranked among the most terrifying books, 1984 captures a futuristic world in which society is in an interminable condition of perpetual war.
Residents are managed by an oligarchical tyranny and are held under consistent reconnaissance and psyche control. Everything, including thinking, is constrained by the state.
Any trace of rebellion or sick discussion of the ruling party can be detected by different state device, for example, the Thought Police. Despite how terrifying this sounds; the classic pervades such a large amount of current culture that even the first read feels instantly familiar.
This book by George Orwell was incredibly popular when it was published in the year 1949 and remains very popular to this day.
With a large number of copies sold, it resurfaced in bestseller lists in early January after Trump emerged winner in the 2016 election. Many argued that Orwell’s dystopian vision had at last shown up.
If you’ve ever watched the news, you’d realise that a great deal of the world is in unrest. You may have felt that the government ought to plan something to assist individuals in being more joyful with one another.
As much as this seems like a great thought, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley shows us the dangers that could arise if the government regulated happiness.
Huxley’s dystopian novel portrays a future society where mechanical and clinical advancements are utilised by the state to practice power over its residents.
The unified World State in this book has figured out how to maintain harmony, and its inhabitants are kept unnaturally happy by the administration of a drug called ‘soma’.
Even birth is controlled from the fetus stage, and infants are distributed to different classes of the population according to their status, where they are raised to remain content.
Published in 1932, this novel is often compared with George Orwell’s 1984, as both books give an insight into the dangers of totalitarianism.
Brave New World was placed at number five in a rundown of the 100 best English Language books of the twentieth century, by Modern Library.
In 2003, it was included chronologically at number 53 in “the top 100 greatest novels of all time”, and was recorded at number 87 on The Big Read study by the BBC.
Fahrenheit 451 is considered to be the greatest work by Ray Bradbury. This book may be terrifying to book lovers as it describes a world where reading or owning books is a crime. Fahrenheit 451 is centred around the message that knowledge should not be censored.
Within the story, books are burned by a special group of firefighters who relentlessly hunt book readers. Hence, the author used the temperature at which paper burns, 451 degrees Fahrenheit, as the title.
In the world described by this novel where books have become illicit, having possession of them counts as a form of misconduct against the totalitarian state and infraction of the law.
By destroying the knowledge of the nation, they reinforce ignorance throughout society. The message of this book can be applied to recent times where censorship is being applied more to our media.
Since it was published in 1953, this novel has been commended for its position against restriction and its defence of literature as fundamental both to humanity and to progress.
According to Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 was written due to his concerns about the threat of book burning in America and serves as a commentary on how mass media reduces interest in reading literature. Fahrenheit 451 has won several awards and was adapted to a television film by HBO in 2018.
This classic of feminist fiction describes a world where women’s bodies are controlled by the state and the ‘handmaids’ are only recognised for their ability to give birth to children. In Margaret Atwood’s dystopian future, natural debacles and declining birthrates have prompted a Second American Civil War.
The outcome is the ascent of the Republic of Gilead, an authoritarian system that authorises unbending social jobs and oppresses the remaining fertile ladies.
Managed by a tyrannical religious government and threatened with outcast to ‘polluted’ external states, the Handmaid in Atwood’s story battles to hold her personality in a world that sees her not as an individual, but exclusively as a hatchery. This epic serves as a preventive warning about the aftereffect of any extremist view taken to its logical end.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood was published in 1985, with the story picked up years later in 2019 in a sequel title ‘The Testament’.
Atwood’s classic has been adapted into several movies, and the bestselling TV adaptation starring Samira Wiley and Elisabeth Moss has been nominated for several awards. The book itself has won many awards over the years, such as the Governor General’s Award in 1985 and the first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987.
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin was published in 1924 and is one of the earliest political dystopian books. It is an effective innovative vision that has directly inspired scholars from George Orwell to Ayn Rand.
The tale depicts a universe of harmony and congruity inside a united authoritarian state. The setting of Yevgeny’s We is an urban glass city called OneState, managed by spies and secret police.
In the glass-encased city of total straight lines, the residents managed under the authoritarian OneState live out their lives without energy and inventiveness. Residents wear indistinguishable apparel and are recognised distinctly by the number doled out to them during childbirth.
The story follows a man called D-503, who perilously starts to veer from the ‘standards’ of society in the wake of meeting I-330, a lady who resists the principles. D-503 before long finds himself plotting against the OneState to liberate the city.
A terrifying vision of a general public overwhelmed by agnostic savagery and administered by a threatening extremist government, A Clockwork Orange is one of the most innovatively composed dystopian books, written in a teenager slang ‘Nadsat’, a conversational style made by Burgess for the novel.
The story is told by a focal character, Alex, who along with his friends commits fierce violence against others.
That is until the authorities catch him and endeavor to ‘correct’ him through a progression of treatments. Be that as it may, what is the idea of his reconditioning? Burgess’ dimly humored novel investigates the delicacy of opportunity even with suppression.
It may seem like this book promotes violence; however, it rather investigates the possibility of viciousness laced with youth culture and the ethical quality of unrestrained choice.
A Clockwork Orange is a startling story about good and evil inside a messed up regularly preservationist society and the significance of human freedom.
Written in only three weeks, Burgess’s classic was published in the year 1962 and raises moral questions that are relevant now more than ever.
It was listed in Time magazine’s rundown of the 100 best English Language books composed since 1923. It was also named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English Language books of the twentieth century.
The pioneer political dystopian novels were published in the 1900s, however, several noteworthy publications have been made in recent times.
Popular books published in the 2000’s such as The Children of Men by P.D. James, Secondborn by Amy Bartol, Agenda 21 by Glenn Beck, Day of the Oprichnik by Vladimir Sorokin, Unwind by Neal Shusterman, Adults in the Room by Yanis Varoufakis, and It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis and Michael Meyer, have made a name in the political dystopian literature industry, with several new publications coming up.
Political dystopian books continue to give new points of view on hazardous social and political practices that may otherwise be underestimated or thought about as natural and inescapable.
Submit your review