The best dystopian novels that are more relevant than ever

Why am I passionate about this?

For ten years I’ve been perfecting my own dystopian saga, and with that has come a great love for the genre as I’ve studied and dissected it. Having been involved in the political arena as well, the utopian language politicians have always caused some great concern for me, and through my study of dystopias, these great authors have not only seen dark futures of their respective countries and times, but they’ve always tried to bridge the gap between fiction and societal reality, which I am a great admirer of.  


I wrote...

Saga of the Nine: Origins

By Kawika Miles Black, Lori Humphreys (editor),

Book cover of Saga of the Nine: Origins

What is my book about?

In this new American dystopian, we follow both Jax, a lowly mill worker in an unnamed tyrannical future, and Mica Rouge, a former veteran that is watching his country being torn apart in a not-too-distant time. In a war across time, both men are pulled into a fight against the Nine, the Ordean Reich, and their dystopian designs for not only the United States, but the world. 

In this debut novel by American author Kawika Miles, readers will find themselves in a refreshing take on the dystopian genre. While the world Miles creates is rampant with your typical themes of censorship, corruption, rebellion, and tyranny, characters are rife with internal conflict due to the violence, betrayal, and dishonor within factions and amongst apparent comrades.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Brave New World

Kawika Miles Black Why did I love this book?

Aldous Huxley mistrusted human nature, fearing that our drive to find the path of least resistance would ultimately make gods out of our pleasures and desires. Tiktok and Netflix are numbing the masses with trash TV while YouTube shorts and the latest Marvel blockbuster distract us from meaningful connections with those around us. Huxley feared no one would want to read books and that the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance, which is exactly how his novel is written. In Brave New World people were controlled by pleasure which ultimately led to their demise. 

By Aldous Huxley,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked Brave New World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**One of the BBC's 100 Novels That Shaped Our World**

EVERYONE BELONGS TO EVERYONE ELSE. Read the dystopian classic that inspired the hit Sky TV series.

'A masterpiece of speculation... As vibrant, fresh, and somehow shocking as it was when I first read it' Margaret Atwood, bestselling author of The Handmaid's Tale.

Welcome to New London. Everybody is happy here. Our perfect society achieved peace and stability through the prohibition of monogamy, privacy, money, family and history itself. Now everyone belongs.

You can be happy too. All you need to do is take your Soma pills.

Discover the brave new…


Book cover of 1984

Kawika Miles Black Why did I love this book?

This is probably the most referenced dystopian novel, which is why I didn’t put it first. That being said, it is the most referenced because it is the most obvious as to the fear of the power of government. George Orwell had a genuine mistrust of government and other authoritative organizations simply through his observation of the Spanish Civil War. Orwell feared those who would ban books, concealing the truth from us.

In 1984 people were controlled by government’s pain and fear, aka Big Brother, which is something society runs into on a daily basis in the information age. Not only do people self-censor, but Big Tech is silencing and cancelling opposition and politicians and CEOs are constant threats of becoming tyrants as they grasp for their slice of control.

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

42 authors picked 1984 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU . . .

1984 is the year in which it happens. The world is divided into three superstates. In Oceania, the Party's power is absolute. Every action, word, gesture and thought is monitored under the watchful eye of Big Brother and the Thought Police. In the Ministry of Truth, the Party's department for propaganda, Winston Smith's job is to edit the past. Over time, the impulse to escape the machine and live independently takes hold of him and he embarks on a secret and forbidden love affair. As he writes the words 'DOWN WITH BIG…


Book cover of V for Vendetta

Kawika Miles Black Why did I love this book?

Although technically a “graphic novel”, Moore’s novel has nonetheless been a relevant warning on both complacency and ignorance. Powerful entities not only use the “shove it under the rug” to their advantage, but they both incentivize and negatively reinforce behavior to promote this kind of mindset.

This is a story about re-empowering the individual, not only for their self-worth and pride, but to have the courage to stand against tyranny in order to choose true freedom over the chains of oppression. People should never be afraid of their governments, but rather the governments should remain fearful of their people.

By Alan Moore, David Lloyd (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked V for Vendetta as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the near future, England has become a corrupt, totalitarian state, opposed only by V, the mystery man wearing a white porcelain mask who intends to free the masses through absurd acts of terrorism.


Book cover of Unwind

Kawika Miles Black Why did I love this book?

With the topic of Roe V. Wade in the United States, the chasm between pro-life and pro-choice has grown even more, and in a novel that is solely about a great compromise between the two ideologies, Shusterman’s dystopian saga could not be more relevant. Ultimately, Shusterman seems to have great worry about societies lack of value for human life, taking the choice away from those whose lives are being debated over. 

Unwind is a classic study on the intertwining of personal choice and the value of human life. Who owns our bodies? Do we? Does someone else? Does the government? Does anyone but the individual have the right to determine the value of their life? Because of society’s proximity to abortion, this storyline seems extreme and disturbing. However, The Unwind Dystology is no more extreme and disturbing than other classic dystopian novels such as 1984 and A Brave New World.

By Neal Shusterman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Unwind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them

Connor's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can't be harmed -- but when…


Book cover of The Handmaid's Tale

Kawika Miles Black Why did I love this book?

While Atwood ultimately feared that theology and religion would be humanity’s downfall, I don’t think she predicted the dogmatic worship of government. From the women’s bodies being used as political instruments and language as a tool of power, to the causes of complacency and complicity, the deeply religious thematic elements are clear. 

Margaret Atwood was right in fearing that religions would ruin us. However, rather than orthodox religions being the cause of totalitarianism, it is the Church of the Woke that is becoming the very evil they deplore. This unorthodox church places a giant stigma on Motherhood, putting those women who do want to rear children into a place of ostracization, and pays tithes through state-sanctioned behavior, utilizing slogans like “my body, my choice” as prayerful phrases of the faithful.

By Margaret Atwood,

Why should I read it?

30 authors picked The Handmaid's Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

** THE SUNDAY TIMES NO. 1 BESTSELLER **
**A BBC BETWEEN COVERS BIG JUBILEE READ**

Go back to where it all began with the dystopian novel behind the award-winning TV series.

'As relevant today as it was when Atwood wrote it' Guardian

I believe in the resistance as I believe there can be no light without shadow; or rather, no shadow unless there is also light.

Offred is a Handmaid in The Republic of Gilead, a religious totalitarian state in what was formerly known as the United States. She is placed in the household of The Commander, Fred Waterford -…


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God on a Budget: and other stories in dialogue

By J.M. Unrue,

Book cover of God on a Budget: and other stories in dialogue

J.M. Unrue Author Of The Festival of Sin: and other tales of fantasy

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an old guy. I say this with a bit of cheek and a certain amount of incongruity. All the books on my list are old. That’s one area of continuity. Another, and I’ll probably stop at two, is that they all deal with ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances—those curveballs of life we flail at with an unfamiliar bat; the getting stuck on the Interstate behind a semi and some geezer in a golf cap hogging the passing lane in a Buick Le Sabre. No one makes it through this life unscathed. How we cope does more to define us than a thousand smiles when things are rosy. Thus endeth the lesson.

J.M.'s book list on showing that somebody has it worse than you do

What is my book about?

Nine Stories Told Completely in Dialogue is a unique collection of narratives, each unfolding entirely through conversations between its characters. The book opens with "God on a Budget," a tale of a man's surreal nighttime visitation that offers a blend of the mundane and the mystical. In "Doctor in the House," readers are plunged into the emotionally charged moment when an oncologist delivers a life-altering diagnosis to a patient. The collection then shifts to "Prisoner 8086," a story about the unlikely friendship that blossoms between a prison volunteer and a habitual offender, exploring themes of redemption and human connection.

The heart of the book continues with "The Reunion," a touching narrative about high school sweethearts reuniting, stirring up poignant memories and unspoken feelings. "The Therapy Session" adds a lighter touch, presenting a serio-comic exchange between a therapist and a challenging patient. In "The Fishing Trip," a father imparts crucial life lessons to his daughter during an eventful outing, leading to unexpected consequences. "Mortality" offers a deeply personal moment as a mother shares a cherished, secret story from her past with her son.

The collection then takes a romantic turn in "The Singles Cruise," where two individuals find connection amidst shared stories on a cruise for singles. Finally, "Jesus and Buddha in the Garden of Eden" provides a satirical, thought-provoking encounter in the afterlife between two spiritual figures. The book concludes with "The Breakup," a nuanced portrayal of a young couple's separation, told from both perspectives, encapsulating the complexities of relationships and the human experience.

God on a Budget: and other stories in dialogue

By J.M. Unrue,

What is this book about?

Nine Stories Told Completely in Dialogue is a unique collection of narratives, each unfolding entirely through conversations between its characters. The book opens with "God on a Budget," a tale of a man's surreal nighttime visitation that offers a blend of the mundane and the mystical. In "Doctor in the House," readers are plunged into the emotionally charged moment when an oncologist delivers a life-altering diagnosis to a patient. The collection then shifts to "Prisoner 8086," a story about the unlikely friendship that blossoms between a prison volunteer and a habitual offender, exploring themes of redemption and human connection.

The…


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