Four Dystopian Novels That Are Eerily Close to Becoming True

Dystopia literally means “not-good place” and is a term used to describe a community or society that is undesirable or frightening. Dystopian novels were all the rage back when during the Cold War, possibly as a way to warn people of the perils of such a totalitarian regime as the Communist one. As a fictional genre, dystopias have the uncanny characteristic of painting a rather hopeless future for society.

Here are four dystopian novels that are eerily close to becoming true:

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” 

– George Orwell, 1984

Published in 1949, George Orwell’s masterpiece is a must-read for anyone who is preoccupied with the idea of a totalitarian state.

Dehumanization, deconstructing human personality, surveillance, oppression, these are but a few of the themes of this somber scenario. A Party exerts control over every aspect of human society to such an extant that said society atrophies to but a shadow of what we’d usually describe as such.

The loss of the ability to govern one self and think or speak freely is one of the most disturbing aspects of this novel. A torture to any individual who prizes freedom over everything else, you can almost feel the degenerative effects such measures of oppression would entail on human society.

Maybe it’s worth pondering over this fact: that maybe, just maybe, human beings are willing to sacrifice their freedom for the comfort of not having to think. They’d gladly give away this ability just to be able to operate on a mere subconscious level. Not quite human, not yet animal.

Animal Farm, George Orwell

“The only good human being is a dead one.”

Described by Orwell himself as a metaphor for the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent Communist Regime that followed, this short novella is a true manifesto against communism and its side-effects. The characters are corrupted by power, everything is but a caricature, a poor joke made at the expense of freedom and equality. The decay of contemporary society is criticized; humans have become unwilling to oppose themselves to  degrading factors that could destroy society itself.

“One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.”

Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is, in some ways, a mirror to Orwell’s 1984. It uses the myth that an individual can be misguided in the ideals he chooses to pursue. Democracy is used as a billboard to advertise consumerism. Manipulated on a genetic and psychological level, the people in this work are being told that happiness is but a false promise.

As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

This work does convey a very, very old concept. Think in terms of domestication. Best way to do it? If an animal does what you want it to do, you feed it. If not, you don’t. The ones who are friendly to humans live, while the others die. Simple, isn’t it? But it does make one think. Have we been doing this to ourselves as well? Using the same methods on our own kind to shape them into fitting a certain profile?

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

Published in 1953, this short novel describes American society as one that does not take kindly to ideas. Books are burned in an attempt to stop them from spreading. Media controls the way people think, or better said, the way they don’t. There’s this lethargic characteristic to the world described by Bradbury. People have irreversibly given up on their freedom to be as educated as possible. It is all meaningless. It’s all cheap entertainment.

The dumbing down of society is something prevalent in today’s world. People are less interested in books, culture, art, and more interested in the kind of media that one consumes without much effort. Our desire for comfort has its side-effects.

Why read the book when you can watch the movie? It might seem like an innocent thing, but didn’t all terrible things in this world start off that way?

23 thoughts on “Four Dystopian Novels That Are Eerily Close to Becoming True

  1. I agree with your choices. I would add one more: Anthem by Ayn Rand. Complete suppression of the individual into “we.” And notice how each of these books give an individual viewpoint in spite of the collective context. Staying unique requires thinking, action, and confrontation of conventions. I hope we do not extinguish that gene.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good choice! Read them all, more than once, and find them all very useful. But I like Bradbury in particular, and his “solutions”…. Start memorizing, folks!


  3. We did 1984 as a play in college, and one of the many things we did was try to figure out how they arrived at the society they had. What’s frightening is it would be very simple. After all, ultimate power is about the manipulation and control of minds, and that’s what it was all about. they controlled the input and tailored it for a response, and got it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These are all some of favorite dystopian books. I feel I should reread all of these because it has been years since I’ve read them. These books should be recommendations for everyone, maybe it will help some people grasp the seriousness of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yup. Those are the ones we all think of regarding dystopic worlds. There is also “Erehwon” by Samuel Butler. Another is “Logan’s Run” by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson (novel and movie). And there are lots more.


  6. I have read all of these novels and they are truly amazing work of literature. I love dystopian stories. May I add one more? Lord of the Flies. If you have not read it, I highly highly recommend it. And I dare say some aspects of Lord of the Flies are also becoming true today. Great post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think we are all perceptive beings, it is a part of our DNA, our spiritual one, and that is why we are sensitive to the things to come. It is my belief thought that we have to hit rock bottom before we have the strength to defeat the bad in the world. Has this world hit rock bottom yet?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I use to have a history teacher that would ask us ” Does history repeat itself, or do people repeat history? He often would bring up book that seem to align with future occurrences, written from the past. Well done with this post. Great books.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. It almost sounds cliche to say it nowadays, but Orwell in particular had a knack for predicting a lot of things. Every time I reread 1984 I feel like it is becoming less and less dystopian, because our real life is becoming more and more.

    Liked by 3 people

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