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.

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The books I picked & why

Never Let Me Go

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Book cover of Never Let Me Go

Why did I love 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!

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Never Let Me Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most acclaimed novels of the 21st Century, from the Nobel Prize-winning author

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewed version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now thirty-one, Never Let Me Go dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense…

The Road

By Cormac McCarthy,

Book cover of The Road

Why did I love 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. 

By Cormac McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

25 authors picked The Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • A searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive, this "tale of survival and the miracle of goodness only adds to McCarthy's stature as a living master. It's gripping, frightening and, ultimately, beautiful" (San Francisco Chronicle).

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if…

Station Eleven

By Emily St. John Mandel,

Book cover of Station Eleven

Why did I love 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!

By Emily St. John Mandel,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked Station Eleven as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Best novel. The big one . . . stands above all the others' - George R.R. Martin, author of Game of Thrones

Now an HBO Max original TV series

The New York Times Bestseller
Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award
Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction
National Book Awards Finalist
PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist

What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty.

One snowy night in Toronto famous actor Arthur Leander dies on stage whilst performing the role of a lifetime. That same evening a deadly virus touches down in…

Brave New World

By Aldous Huxley,

Book cover of Brave New World

Why did I love 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!

By Aldous Huxley,

Why should I read it?

17 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 Tide and Tempest: A Forgotten Lands Novel

Why did I love 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!

By Lindsey Pogue,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tide and Tempest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Forged by fire. Bound by blood. Tortured by fate.

Lightning decimates the land, but the people of Ebonpeak know there are greater threats than tempests and firestorms. Raiders pillage the coastline, destroying everything and leaving none unscathed.

Six years ago, Desolation Day stole everything from Samara—except the drive to be stronger, fight harder, and never look back. But her greatest test is yet to come. When the enemy washes ashore with the rising tides, upturning Samara’s world once again, can she shed the scars of her past to save her people, or will her hatred destroy her completely?

Venture beyond…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in dystopian, survival, and cloning?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about dystopian, survival, and cloning.

Dystopian Explore 483 books about dystopian
Survival Explore 163 books about survival
Cloning Explore 9 books about cloning

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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