What is it about dystopian fiction that keeps readers going back for more? Are we suckers for punishment? Maybe we find comfort in the reminder that yes, things could be worse. Dystopian fiction has been around since the 19th century. Mary Shelley, famous for her fictional monster Frankenstein, was one of the first writers to venture into the bleak world of dystopia with her 1826 novel, The Last Man, but the genre didn't explode until after WWII and the introduction of nuclear weapons.
For decades, writers from H.G. Wells to Margaret Atwood have been creating dystopian futures that are both beyond our wildest imaginations and shockingly close to home. In this list of the best dystopian novels, extreme cosmetic surgery is enforced, America breaks into a second Civil War, and animals rebel. Prepare to be disturbed, and utterly enthralled.