Maybe because I’m a woman myself, but The Handmaid’s Tale takes top spot on my list, a constant reminder that women around the world have a long way to go to equality. If you were forced to read this in school and hated it, it’s time for a reread, it really is wonderful.
It was always going to be in there somewhere wasn’t it? Winston’s hell is the archetypal dystopia that still resonates loudly, even today. As the world still searches for the political ideal, Orwell shows that the balance is always precarious.
A homage to 1984, but written with the Internet and social media in mind, Blind Faith is an astute dystopian look at where today’s society is heading. Written in almost perfect Orwell style, Blind Faith shows how underrated Elton is as the social commentator of our day.
A recent addition to my read pile, Bradbury’s hell for the enlightened is a novel that will stay with me forever. Anyone who has been mocked for their intelligence and love for books is likely to feel this theme down to their bones, as Bradbury’s masterpiece runs scarily close to where society seems to be heading.
After failing with Doors of Perception, Brave New World sat on my unread shelf a long while before I finally picked it up, in the end I was glad I had. A dark and worrying tale that draws frightening parallels to our own society.
Swastika Night – Murray Constantine/ Katharine Burdekin
Yes I know, this makes six but I’m including it not because I think it deserves a place at the top but because I think it paved the way for many dystopian novels we all love. First published by the Left Book Club, the group that would go on to help the British Labour Party gain huge popularity, Swastika Night imagines a society where Hitler wins the war and what might follow (written in 1938, before WWII broke out). Now it didn’t make my list because I simply don’t think it’s relevant today, but as Orwell had almost certainly read the novel, and mentions clubs similar to the Left Book Club in many of his contemporary works, I feel it deserves a mention and for fans of the genre it’s an interesting historical piece.