Title page from Gulliver's Travels
The title page from the original publication of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.

The Irish satirist Jonathan Swift arguably invented the genre of dystopian literature in 1726 by publishing his monumental work Gulliver’s Travels. Since then, writers of all stripes have used the genre to explore the darker possibilities of their societies.

What follows is a short, but ever-expanding list, of fictional works within the genre. If you have a suggestion for the list, please post a comment below. Please be aware, though, that there is a distinction between dystopian literature and post-apocalyptic literature. While the two do often work hand-in-hand, one does not necessitate the other.

An Incomplete List of Dystopian Novels & Comic Books

  1. 1984 by George Orwell, 1948
  2. American War by Omar El Akkad, 2017
  3. Anthem by Ayn Rand, 1938
  4. Bend Sinister by Vladimir Nabokov, 1947
  5. Blindness by José Saramago, 1995
  6. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1932
  7. Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkins, 1998
  8. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, 2018
  9. The Children of Men by P. D. James, 1992
  10. The City and the City by China Mieville, 2009
  11. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, 1962
  12. The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, 1986
  13. The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard, 1962
  14. Fatherland by Robert Harris, 1992
  15. The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemison, 2015
  16. Flatland by Edwin Abbott, 1884
  17. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, 1726
  18. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, 1985
  19. The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead, 2000
  20. The Iron Heel by Jack London, 1908
  21. It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis, 1935
  22. Jennifer Government by Max Barry, 2003
  23. Neuromancer by William Gibson, 1984
  24. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, 1993
  25. The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter, 1977
  26. Patternmaster by Octavia Butler, 2012
  27. The Plot Against America by Philip Roth, 2004
  28. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, 1997
  29. The Trial by Franz Kafka, 1925
  30. Tokyo Ghost by Rick Remender, 2016
  31. Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis, 2002
  32. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, 1989
  33. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, 1987
  34. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, 1921
  35. Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy, 1976
  36. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, 2009
  37. Zero-K by Don DeLillo, 2016

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