However crazy the real world may be sometimes, you can bet that novelists have dreamed up far more twisted and outlandish fates for humanity. A reality show bully with no political experience being elected leader of of the free world may seem like the perfect setup for dystopian satire (and don’t think everyone in Hollywood isn’t already scrambling for the rights). But reality has nothing on these books.
Bloodthirsty superhumans, talking pigs, child mercenaries, lovesick clones — call us crazy, but these are just the kinds of characters we’re itching to snuggle up with right now. From Aldous Huxley to Margaret Atwood, some of the greatest literary minds in history have pondered the consequences of the world going to shit one way or another. Usually, they’re trying to teach us a thing or two we'd do well to remember.
Our game plan? Dive into some postapocalyptic fare — then close the covers, look around, and rest assured that things could always be worse. These are prescient fantasies with a purpose, though, and we’d be remiss not to heed their warnings: The future, it seems, is now. Alternately thrilling and thought-provoking, terrifying and delicious, these dystopian novels will fuel your fire as much as they serve your need for escape.