The best books about women in dystopian worlds

Who am I?

I write women in dystopia. I live in the North West of the UK and I also write psychological thrillers and women’s fiction – I am currently writing my 9th book. I love books set in the near future and in alternate dystopian worlds – I recently discussed this with my brother and we settled on ‘mind-bending’ as our go-to for this genre. I have a PhD in narrative and storytelling and my mission as a writer was to write fiction about issues that affect women, and what better way than to place them in hypothetical but possible situations to explore that reality? 

I wrote...


By J.A. Christy,

Book cover of SmartYellow™

What is my book about?

Teenager Katrina Williams finds herself pregnant and on the wrong side of social services. She soon realises that something sinister is going on in the depths of the sink estates. Then she finds out about SmartYellow™.

Exploring themes of social inequity and scientific responsibility, J.A. Christy's first speculative fiction novel leads Katrina to understand how probability, hope, and empathy play a huge part in the flow of life and are absent in the stagnation of mere survival. SmartYellow™ offers a worryingly plausible and chilling glimpse into an alternate Nineties Britain. SmartYellow™ was nominated for the Arthur C Clark in 2016.

The books I picked & why

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The Handmaid's Tale

By Margaret Atwood,

Book cover of The Handmaid's Tale

Why this book?

When I first read The Handmaid’s Tale years ago, it made a huge impression on me. As well as being a writer I am a Health Psychologist specializing in women’s reproductive health, and this book to me on so many levels. Offred’s life is all our worst fears as women and this novel truly brought another dimension of the world and what people are capable of into view. I was lucky enough to meet Margaret Atwood and chat about how she wrote the book and imagined the world, which I hope informs my own work. Everyone should read this book.

The End of Men

By Christina Sweeney-Baird,

Book cover of The End of Men

Why this book?

I read The End of Men recently during the pandemic. Without giving the plot away, this book is about a pandemic written before the actual pandemic. The thing I love about this book is the deep feelings it invoked. It is written from many viewpoints and I really cared about the characters – if a book can resonate so deeply that it makes you wonder how your life would be in the same circumstances, the author has succeeded. The women in the book face an almost unimaginable struggle and I rooted for them all the way.

The Power

By Naomi Alderman,

Book cover of The Power

Why this book?

I picked this book up when it won the Orange Prize for Women’s fiction. The premise is that teenage girls suddenly realize they have an electrical power that they use to tame men. We soon start to see how they use it and pass it on to other women, and I loved how it grew into a ‘good vs evil’ exploration. I found the novel a thought experiment on what would happen if power dynamics were reversed. I loved it and read it over a weekend. 

Station Eleven

By Emily St. John Mandel,

Book cover of Station Eleven

Why this book?

Station Eleven was a strange one for me. I hadn’t been reading for a while due to my day job and childcare issues and this was the first book I picked up when I finally had time to myself. The post-apocalyptic setting was perfect to draw me into a world where scattered humanity must find community. I loved Kirsten as a character and how details she was written, I felt like I knew her. This was one of those books that I was sad to finish and missed the characters. 

The End of Mr. Y

By Scarlett Thomas,

Book cover of The End of Mr. Y

Why this book?

I love Scarlett Thomas’ writing and The End of Mr. Y was my first read of hers. I fell in love with this book because it was about a book, and a cursed book at that. The exquisite writing took me on a journey of uncertainty and time travel with Ariel and I have yet to find another book like it – it is a unique book that has many layers and as well as focusing on the speculative aspect, it is suspenseful and beautifully descriptive. Five stars from me and it made me want to read more from this author. 

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in dystopia, women, and romantic love?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about dystopia, women, and romantic love.

Dystopia Explore 233 books about dystopia
Women Explore 346 books about women
Romantic Love Explore 417 books about romantic love

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Plague, The War of the Worlds, and The Road if you like this list.