The best books about dystopian futures so haunting they will outlast your worst nightmares

Why am I passionate about this?

As a fantasy writer, your imagination’s greatest superpower is malleability – the ability to see that genre isn’t where a writer’s limit lies. Having adopted this belief from a very young age, I’ve travelled much of my life, enriching my stories with all the world and humanity have to offer. Along the way, I have fostered an affinity for effective dialogue, an intrigue for the crosshairs of historical context, and an unquenchable desire to waltz with the written word. Europe, Africa, and the Americas encompass my intercontinental upbringing, a broad narrative perspective that is represented in all of my work. Dahl, King, and Pratchett inspired my voice. And readers fuel my hope and ambition for the future of fiction…

I wrote...

Constellation Planet

By Jason Falloon,

Book cover of Constellation Planet

What is my book about?

Drifting to sleep one night, Oscar, Samuella, and Camson materialise on Constellation Planet – a paradisiacal nirvana in the Dreamerverse, collectively piloted by their own versatile imaginations. On awakening there, the unlikely trio establishes that they’ve been enlisted as Night Dreamers, ordained with the responsibility of overcoming the Drag-in, an inter-dimensional nightmare intent on devouring the mental void separating the Dreamerverse from reality.

Back home, their real world (Mankind’s World, 2058) encapsulates a despondent humanity, torn by decades of resource wars between East and West territories presided over by vain dictators who yearn for the capitulation of their foreign neighbours. But now a strange and unprecedented political alliance is in motion between two enemy tyrants whose prospects for power may be the final straw for co-existence.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of 1984

Jason Falloon Why did I love this book?

George Orwell’s 1984 is the quintessential dystopian fiction novel, which doesn’t really require recommending to any fantasy writer, so I am kind of leaving this one here by default. Unlike its predecessors and many of its highly influenced successors, the novel is able to perfectly combine its own dystopian vision of the human condition with a degree of derivative realism to engineer the mechanics of its story world and twisted, relatably integrated politics. 

The reason I love this fundamental element about Orwell’s craftmanship in 1984 is due to it being defined by growing civilian angst and contemporariness in the midst of the Cold War and the expansion of the Soviet Union. Such a relatable portrayal of real-life politics in fiction, never so vividly portrayed in fiction before, showcases the claustrophobic nightmare of an enemy entrenched within the system itself – as opposed to the typical megalomaniac complex of a human antagonist. This somewhat dehumanised adversary makes Orwell’s story world seem far more intimidating and surrenders its protagonist, Winston Smith, to appear that much more vulnerable at the mercy of it.

Whilst my work contributes a love letter to Orwell’s inspiration and the rest of the genre as a whole, I chose to adopt a more balanced perspective on the sociopolitical topics discussed, since the rightful object to overcome authoritarianism and the freedom such efforts create is subjective to the individual’s experience. In 1984, Orwell emphasises his own socialist attitudes, frightening and forewarning readers with the dangers of extremism for generations since it was published. Alternatively, I wanted to engage readers in a balanced conversation to empathetically recognise the strengths and flaws on both sides of the political spectrum and think for themselves.

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?


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 Brave New World

Jason Falloon Why did I love this book?

Setting the precedent for George Orwell’s cult classic genre-definer 1984, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World introduces (and, in ways, foretells) the dystopian perils of a biologically enhanced future. Therefore, Huxley and Orwell’s subjective differences based on contemporariness is a good example for dystopian writers and readers to understand how the War and subsequent “new world order” had an effect on their duelling sociopolitical themes. For example, what fascinates me most about Brave New World is how accurately Huxley showcases the perils of biological engineering and its stronghold on human identity and society before the Second World War and the “world order” of its time had formed in its embers, which is ominously entrenched in its revisionist impact. Sometimes fiction does not only reflect on the implausible horrors of the past – but it also prepares us for the future.

By Aldous Huxley,

Why should I read it?

20 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 The Handmaid's Tale

Jason Falloon Why did I love this book?

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale brought to light a new and original concept to the dystopian genre, shifting the sociopolitical message from an overarching oppression of humanity to the subversion of gender norms and rights, and building a class system around it. This makes The Handmaid’s Tale one of the most unique explorations of the human condition in the dystopian genre.

My favourite aspect of this novel is the unnerving choice of narration, which places the reader in the perspective of Offred, a completely powerless “fertility slave” at the heart of a misogynistic society. 

From Atwood’s speculative introspection on the successes and failings of feminism in the 20th Century, I was inspired to allegorise my own theories on the subjugation and abuse of standard civil rights that many of us take for granted.

By Margaret Atwood,

Why should I read it?

33 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?


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 -…

Book cover of The Golden Compass

Jason Falloon Why did I love this book?

A somewhat subversion of the fantasy genre thinly veiled in dystopian concepts is Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. The exciting distinction about Lyra’s World is the balance of realism and hardline epic fantasy used to design its geopolitics. 

My favourite element of Pullman’s world-building is the somewhat real-time context he applies to its geography, such as Oxford, Svalbard, and the Commonwealth to build a dystopian reflection of our own society. The haunting geographical resonance with our own world helps to craft an attractive and relatable story world, in which it is easier to imagine the characters in action, unlike the contortions of realism in something like Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. I enjoy structuring my own dystopian worlds in a similar vein, typically through incorporating real-world orientation and historical events, in order to capitalise on the reader’s familiarity and surprise their expectations.

By Philip Pullman,

Why should I read it?

28 authors picked The Golden Compass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The first volume in Philip Pullman's groundbreaking
HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy, now a thrilling, critically
acclaimed BBC/HBO television series. First published
in 1995, and acclaimed as a modern masterpiece, this first
book in the series won the UK's top awards for children's literature.

"Without this child, we shall all

Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live
half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford.

The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands
of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight.

Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences
far beyond her own world...


Book cover of Dune

Jason Falloon Why did I love this book?

Frank Herbert’s Dune set the tone for many fantasy soap operas that have become iconic in pop culture today, such as Star Wars and Game of Thrones. It set the precedent for contemporary commentary featured in the social structure of fantasy epics. The awareness and escalation of realistic stakes within fantasy is key to establishing a convincing story world, which is what I believe makes Dune an important experiment for the genre. 

Narratively, Dune has influenced and deepened my perspective on how the socio-economic system inside a science fiction universe can help to structure its politics and raise the stakes of its conflict. The weight of having a strong and objective foundation for the characters’ beliefs and the workings of their societal values allows me to evolve the story world over countless pages and sequels.

By Frank Herbert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender's Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written.

Melange, or 'spice', is the most valuable - and rarest - element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person's lifespan to making interstellar travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world of Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of…

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Return to Hope Creek

By Alyssa J. Montgomery,

Book cover of Return to Hope Creek

Alyssa J. Montgomery Author Of A Spanish Seduction

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Australian USA Today bestselling romance author who writes contemporary romance and uses the pen name Alyssa James to write medieval romance. I think the makeover trope resonates with me because although I’m no beauty queen now, I was definitely an ugly duckling in my teens. For reasons best known to him, my father insisted on close-cropped hair, and financial circumstances dictated out-of-style hand-me-down clothing. After university, I found my own style, but it wasn’t until I was accepted as an international flight attendant that I believed that I couldn’t be all that ugly if Qantas employed me!

Alyssa's book list on makeover romances

What is my book about?

Return to Hope Creek is a second-chance rural romance set in Australia.

Stella Simpson's career and engagement are over. She returns to the rural community of Hope Creek to heal, unaware her high school and college sweetheart, Mitchell Scott, has also moved back to town to do some healing of his own.

Mitchell, a former NFL quarterback, doesn't need the complication of encountering Stella again so long after the messy end to their relationship, but as each tries to build a new life, they are drawn together and find their chemistry is just as strong as ever.

Will their love be stronger the second time around?

Return to Hope Creek

By Alyssa J. Montgomery,

What is this book about?

When two old flames come back to their home town, sparks are bound to ignite. A rural romance from USA Today bestselling author Alyssa J. Montgomery.

A horrific car accident ended former world number-one Stella Simpson’s tennis career, and a betrayal ended her relationship with her fiancé/coach. When a family friend offers to sell her half of a property in the rural community where she grew up, it seems like the perfect place to escape, heal and begin the next phase of her life. Until she discovers that the man who broke her heart ten years ago has bought the…

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