Special Report

30 Utopian Novels to Read in Our Dystopian World

Source: Courtesy of Amazon.com

Island (1962)
> Author: Aldous Huxley

A counterpoint to his preeminent dystopian novel “Brave New World,” Aldous Huxley’s last novel, “Island,” follows a news reporter who intentionally shipwrecks himself on a flourishing utopian island with the intention of duping the inhabitants into selling rights to an untapped natural resource. Despite his ulterior motives, he is irrevocably changed by the values and spiritual actualization of the people of Pala.

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The Dispossessed (1974)
> Author: Ursula K. Le Guin

Set in the same universe as Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle novels, “The Dispossessed” follows a physicist from an anarcho-syndicalist utopian world where personal possessions are nonexistent, as he attempts to bridge the political divide between his planet and one that looks very similar to our own. “The Dispossessed” won the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards for Best Novel in 1975.

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Ecotopia (1975)
> Author: Ernest Callenbach

An iconic utopian novel of the green movement, “Ecotopia” details the trials of an emerging ecostate that has seceded from the U.S. in an attempt to live in balance with the natural world. Feminism, non-monogamy, free mass transportation, a 20-hour work week, employee ownership of companies, and renewable energy are among the cultural values accepted or implemented in the isolated society.

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Beatrice the Sixteenth (1909)
> Author: Irene Clyde

Written by English lawyer and transgender pioneer Thomas Baty under the pseudonym Irene Clyde, “Beatrice the Sixteenth” is set in a postgender and postsexual society in which everyone has vaguely female characteristics. Life partnerships are based on companionship, procreation is impossible, and everyone is vegetarian. Clyde’s novel is considered a radical early work of transgender literature.

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Men Like Gods (1923)
> Author: H.G. Wells

An enthusiastic projection of where society could be in 3,000 years, “Men Like Gods” imagines a world free from government, war, crime, poverty, and religion, where people have opportunities to spend time on creative pursuits. In this utopia, telepathy is the norm, there is no money, and there are multiple known universes. But of course a few time travelers are planning a takeover.

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