Hunger Games readers will love this: our community has offered wonderful additions to Ashley Lauren’s “Hunger Games” piece, which suggested similar novels. We’ll continue to add them to this post. Cindy Samuels (Managing Editor, Causes)
The trick to a dystopian novel is to take things that really are happening in the world, and carry them to the extreme. Have children fighting for food, women being reduced to breeding machines, books made illegal and goon squads ordered to burn them, every aspect of life controlled by law and under constant observation… All of these things have actually happened. In “The Handmaid’s Tale,” every outrageous abuse women suffered had a parallel somewhere in the modern world. These novels are designed to remind us how easily a society can move in the wrong direction and begin to devalue human intelligence and human rights, how easily a society can be mislead into letting someone who claims to speak for a nebulous moral authority decide what’s good for them, and who can be discounted as having no worth. The books remind us that we don’t have to slip in that direction. We can always, while the spark of human intellect and human conscience still remains, move away from the edge of the abyss. Marianne C.
I would like to recommend John Marsden’s Tomorrow When The War Began, the story of a group of teenagers who become secret warriors when their country is attacked. Barrie C.
i agree re.the title above being misleading…also would recommend Octavia E. Butler’s “Parable Of The Sower” Emma D.
I echo Harry Harrison’s “Make Room, Make Room,” “Sea of Glass” by Barry Longyear. There is a tremendous amount of really good work available in the SF (speculative fiction) category. The works mentioned by commenters and the article include only a small fraction of the best work. Richard P.
…the novel which the author credits as inspiring The Hunger Games isn’t on this list. That novel is called “Battle Royale,” and probably got skipped because it wasn’t originally in English–it’s Japanese. Miaka P.
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas. One of my favorite short stories by this wonderful author. About a child kept captive in a town where his misfortune keeps everyone else happy and successful. Powerful. Alice E.
I would also add Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We, written just after the Bolshevik revolution. MaryEllen C.
Anthem?!!? Why not give them Atlas Shrugged while you’re at it? Maureen H.
I’ve read most of these. There was one left out: ‘Make Room, Make Room!’ by Harry Harrison. In this book, the dystopian society settles for a ‘new’ way of extending the food supply by adding the flesh of the dead to it in the popular ‘soylent green’ food product. . . .. A second book might also be considered: ‘Repent Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman’ by Harlan Ellison. Living by the clock was never so lethal. Fred K.
Excellent reading list! Thanks for posting it. . . .One of my all-time favorite books, a life-changing one, is “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” by Robert Heinlein. It isn’t exactly dystopian but the setting is similar… the outcome is less dark than dystopian literature but the path to get there is very thought-provoking. TANSTAAFL! Fiona D.
For any talk of literature, check out Philip Caputo. His is not light reading but developed stories of characters weaving along parallel tracks to a denouement to excite the discerning reader with an active mind and imagination to create images from his words. Donald T.
Let’s not forget a movie which more than inspired the Hunger Games, the Japanese movie Battle Royale. Christoffer I.
Photo from The Hunger Games