The best riveting dystopian and post-apocalyptic reads you won’t be able to put down

Who am I?

Ever since I read 1984 when I was a teenager, I’ve been fascinated by this idea of how we as humans respond to desperate situations, and where better to find those situations than in the dystopia and post-apocalyptic genres? Novels in these categories are often, at their core, underdog stories. As a reader, I love seeing a character battle and overcome situations that, in the real world, would give any of us nightmares. But more than that, I love stories that touch me emotionally, that balance the line between tragic and beautiful.

I wrote...


By M.A. Phipps,

Book cover of Ultraxenopia

What is my book about?

Wynter Reeves lives by three rules: Don't stand out. Blend in. Remain invisible. In a world where individuality is dangerous, being forgettable keeps her alive. But when Wynter begins showing symptoms of a rare disease, it becomes impossible to hide from the State and she finds herself in a game of cat and mouse with the nefarious Dr. Richter, who is determined to make sense of her condition.

Ultraxenopia will take you to a world where emotions are suppressed out of fear, standing out is viewed as an act of rebellion, being different can make you a target, and even family can't always be trusted. For fans of dystopian romance, apocalyptic plot lines, and psychological thrillers.

The books I picked & why

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Never Let Me Go

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Book cover of Never Let Me Go

Why this book?

I read Never Let Me Go at least a decade ago, and to this day, it’s the one book that has stuck with me the most over the years. It’s a beautiful dystopian take on an alternate reality Britain, so hauntingly realistic in its execution that you can’t help but be emotionally gripped by the plight of the characters. I love a book that triggers an emotional response in me, and needless to say, this one did just that. Have tissues handy!

The Road

By Cormac McCarthy,

Book cover of The Road

Why this book?

I have a rather morbid obsession with the dark and the gritty, and there is no darker post-apocalyptic book in my opinion than The Road. This one will have you on the edge of your seats and will linger in your thoughts (and haunt them) long after the last page. Both beautiful and devastating, I can’t recommend this one enough. 

Station Eleven

By Emily St. John Mandel,

Book cover of Station Eleven

Why this book?

Crossing two timelines, Station Eleven does a tremendous job of presenting what our world may look like following a global pandemic that eradicates most of the world’s population. Unlike what readers may expect from a pandemic story, this book doesn’t linger too long on the actual downfall of society, instead focusing on the dangers of humanity itself and the wonderful things we sometimes take for granted that make civilization worth preserving. A stunning, thought-provoking story that is well worth the read!

Brave New World

By Aldous Huxley,

Book cover of Brave New World

Why this book?

I first read Brave New World when I was in high school, and it was the book that inspired my interest in fiction rooted in science. This novel gripped me with its wide array of scientific advancements and the way psychological manipulation was used to make the characters believe the dystopia they lived in was actually a utopia. An incredibly deep story that all science fiction lovers should read!

Tide and Tempest: A Forgotten Lands Novel

By Lindsey Pogue,

Book cover of Tide and Tempest: A Forgotten Lands Novel

Why this book?

The entire Forgotten Lands trilogy is amazing, but I cannot gush enough about Tide and Tempest. I have a weakness for the enemies to lovers trope, and when set against a post-apocalyptic wasteland, I was utterly sold. Fantastic writing and world-building paired with unforgettable characters you will want to root for. This author is an auto-buy for me!

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in dystopia, survival, and totalitarianism?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about dystopia, survival, and totalitarianism.

Dystopia Explore 221 books about dystopia
Survival Explore 100 books about survival
Totalitarianism Explore 34 books about totalitarianism

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Autumn, V for Vendetta, and Death is a Welcome Guest if you like this list.