Totalitarian Dystopian Novels To Read

Modern Dystopian Novels
Modern Dystopian Novels
August 7, 2020
Dystopian Trilogy
Dystopian Trilogy Books
August 8, 2020
Totalitarian Dystopian Novels To Read

Dystopian Novels and the Totalitarian Philosophy

Debatably, George Orwell became widely known as the man who started the dystopian culture in literature, as he discusses depictions of a totalitarian government in his notable literary works, such as “Animal Farm” in 1945 and “Nineteen Eighty-Four” in 1949.

Although Aldous Huxley came in first with his “Brave New World” in 1932 that also touches a bit of totalitarianism, Orwell clearly illustrated and mentioned a world of dystopia due to autocracy or despotism.

In the contemporary world, “The Hunger Games” book series of Suzanne Collins is a real, perfect example of a good read totalitarian dystopian novel that will always get mentioned in this category.

While I’m at it, I’ve decided to share with you a smattering number of books that I’ve loved with totalitarian dystopian themes, apart from the ones I mentioned earlier.

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Modern Dystopian Novels

Delirium

This young adult dystopian novel by Lauren Oliver is the first part of her trilogy with the same name.

Delirium

Oliver distinctly centres her story about a society treating love as a disease called “the deliria” under a totalitarian government after cataclysmic bombing destroyed most of the cities. With that ruling, it is mandatory for everyone who is eighteen years old and above to undergo a procedure, which they refer to as a surgical cure to love.

Convinced by this principle, the girl is highly anticipating for the surgery to happen, but fate has another destiny for her to fulfill. She falls in love with someone who defied the law mandated by the government, and so, referred to as an “Invalid” and living in the “Wilds.”

It’s a place for people who didn’t undergo the surgical cure for “the deliria.” Following this book is “Pandemonium,” which details her life in the “Wilds.”

Genre – Totalitarian Dystopian Literature

Pages – 441

Goodreads rating 3.98/5

My rating9.48/10

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Delirium

Shatter Me

Award-winning author Tahereh Mafi showcased her creative thinking in writing through her novel “Shatter Me,” which became a book series under the same namesake.

Shatter Me

Though Mafi centres her story on a teen girl, who has a powerful touch that can turn anyone in paralysis or death, she mentions about the “Reestablishment” government, depicted as a totalitarian that wants to use the girl as their weapon to rule the land.

Genre – Totalitarian Dystopian Literature

Pages – 338

Goodreads rating 3.96/5

My rating9.02/10

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Shatter Me

The Long Walk

The Long Walk

Known as the “King of Horror,” multi-awarded and highly acclaimed author Stephen King created a perfect literary with his 1979 totalitarian dystopian novel.

“The Long Walk” shows us the horrifying truth behind a totalitarian government with an extreme militaristic ruling. King details the story of young boys getting forced to participate in a gruesome annual competition that may end their lives too soon without a choice to leave and live but to fight and survive.

Get shot or walk until you die is what this ruthless game is all about under this autocratic government.

Genre – Totalitarian Dystopian Literature

Pages – 245

Goodreads rating4.11/5

My rating 8.82/10

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The Long Walk

We

We

Yevgeny Zamyatin may not mention evidently about it in his 1924 English published book “We,” but as you read through his writings, it discernibly portrays a totalitarian government.

The plot describes a harmonious and united world under the so-called totalitarian state. There were also claims that apparently, George Orwell made speculations that “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley is partially from “We” by Zamyatin. Yet, Huxley reportedly denied it.

Everyone and everything in the “One State” society is under the outlined logic run and controlled by the latter. People are under centralised mass surveillance of the state where they have to march in unified steps in unison, and their names are numbers.

Formula and equations defined every person’s behaviour as it is their essential law. That is why Orwell probably thought about it.

Genre – Totalitarian Dystopian Literature

Pages – 255

Goodreads rating 3.93/5

My rating 8.76/10

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We

Vox

VOX

Showcasing women’s strength in a despotic government where their power to speak gets suppressed with the new imposition of law governing the number of words they can speak in a day.

This law didn’t sit well with the main character, who happens to be a mother too, she fights back against the oppression for her, for her daughter, and the rest of the women in the society.

Christina Dalcher beautifully creates a story of how women will use their power against oppression as their voices get repressed. Hence, probably the title is “Vox.”

Genre – Totalitarian Dystopian Literature

Pages – 336

Goodreads rating 3.56/5

My rating 8.75/10 

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Vox

Anthem

Anthem

Ayn Rand’s 1938 novel “Anthem” comes similarly alike with Yevgeny Zamyatin’s book “We,” as both didn’t state clearly about totalitarianism, but the narratives speak highly of autocratic governance.

The main character’s name is a number designated by the government, like in “We.” He got separated from his parents when he was a child as the government took him away and brought him up as a child. His identity got taken away from him, like everyone else, which is similar to that of Zamyatin’s book.

Genre – Totalitarian Dystopian Literature

Pages – 105

Goodreads rating 3.63/5

My rating 8.34/10

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Anthem

VanWest The Past

VanWest The Past

Kenneth Thomas chronicles the life and journey of the “Enforcer,” who is out to catch the renegades, as tasked by the totalitarian government he’s serving.

The autocratic “Universal Council” orders him to take down a group of people, who are trying to change the past, which the tyrant didn’t like and treat them as rebels in return.

As he travels through time to catch these insurgents, he unravels the dark truth about his past and his unique ability in the process.

Genre – Totalitarian Dystopian Literature

Pages – 195

Goodreads rating 4.94/5

My rating 8.00/10

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VanWest The Past

Shades of Grey

Shades of Grey

A bold and thought-provoking plot well-crafted by Jasper Fforde tells about a story of a man who can only see his colour but not everyone else in a world where people’s rank is solely dependent on their perception of colour.

Fforde centres his story on the man’s journey in unraveling the truth of what he thought a good and just government is the exact opposite as he meets and falls in love with a woman belonging to the low caste, revealing to him the hidden despotic regime lying beneath the surface.

Genre – Totalitarian Dystopian Literature

Pages – 400

Goodreads rating 4.14/5

My rating 7.97/10

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Shades of Grey

The Dispossessed

The Dispossessed

This provocative book that deals with a revolutionary change theme is sixth of Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Hainish Cycle” book series.

It’s a story about a physicist who tries to discover the world outside his restricted, repressive walled planet of nihilists or anarchists. By doing this extremely dangerous task, he has to sacrifice some things and people in his life, including his family.

Genre – Totalitarian Dystopian Literature

Pages – 387

Goodreads rating 4.22/5

My rating 7.75/10

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The Dispossessed

This Perfect Day

This Perfect Day

Ira Levin didn’t particularly specify his 1970 book entitled “This Perfect Day” as a dystopian world under totalitarianism.

However, as you go through the pages and plots, you’ll see the tragic reality of the autocratic government hidden within the story. Levin circles his novel around a world that is under the control and management of a central computer known as the “UniComp.”

The entire world and every single human is intently and strictly watched over by the main computer, and every month, a jet injector or transdermal spray delivers the so-called treatments to keep people contented and cooperative as “Family Members” of the society.

Everything in their lives from their homes to reproducing offsprings is under the scrutiny and strict control of the UniComp. However, one man will resist the law and might change it forever and for the better.

Genre – Totalitarian Dystopian Literature

Pages – 368

Goodreads rating4.02/5

My rating 7.73/10

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This Perfect Day

The Man in the High Castle

The Man In The High Castle

This “Hugo Award” recipient from the creative mind of Philip K. Dick is another worth reading totalitarian dystopian novel.

“The Man in the High Castle” depicts totalitarianism where slavery becomes legal, following a hypothetical victorious Axis Powers. It tells about how and what the world has become fifteen years after in 1962 when World War II has ended differently.

Genre – Totalitarian Dystopian Literature

Pages – 259

Goodreads rating 3.62/5

My rating – 7.70/10

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The Man in the High Castle

The V Girl: A Coming Of Age Story

The V Girl

Mya Roberts created this controversial yet powerful narrative of how women’s dignity gets discriminated against and disrespected by people in authorities in a totalitarian world.

In a world where sexual slavery is legal, “The V Girl: A Coming of Age Story” depicts the fight of one lady to desperately lose her purity before the government troops can find her and take it from her by force.

Genre – Totalitarian Dystopian Literature

Pages – 340

Goodreads rating 4.02/5

My rating 7.66/10

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The V Girl

Final Say

One of my personal favourites in the totalitarian dystopian novel is the legendary “V for Vendetta” by Alan Moore, which also has an intriguing take on totalitarianism. “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury details autocratic governance but focuses on the oppression of people from patronising or celebrating literature through burning books and reprimanding anyone who gets caught.

Lastly, Margaret Atwood’s classic story of “The Handmaid’s Tale” is also another worth reading totalitarian dystopian novel that chronicles the life of repressed women in a patriarchal style of a regime.

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Main Feature Image Credits: Image by Viktar Masalovich from Pixabay

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Max Atlas
Max Atlas
I am Max Atlas; my only mission is to raise awareness of Dystopian fiction and share in a collective awakening. Together we will explore not only the best Dystopian Novels ever written but also new and upcoming Authors, giving future greats a platform to share their Dystopian Worlds.