Special Report

30 Utopian Novels to Read in Our Dystopian World

Source: Courtesy of Amazon.com

Herland (1915)
> Author: Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Released in serial format in 1915, this feminist utopian novel wasn’t published as a book until 1979. “Herland” follows a group of men who stumble upon a remote community of women who procreate asexually and enjoy a society free of war, gender roles, and power struggles. Instead, empathy, understanding, and patience are marked attributes of the citizens, and teachers are the most revered of all people.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon.com

Fire on the Mountain (1988)
> Author: Terry Bisson

This alternate history novel imagines a timeline in which the abolitionist John Brown had succeeded in pulling off his 1859 slave rebellion – this time, with the help of maverick organizer Harriet Tubman. The revolution leads to emancipation and a new Black republic, headed by Tubman and Frederick Douglass, that eventually incites a socialist revolution, leading to worldwide prosperity and happiness.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon.com

Lost Horizon (1933)
> Author: James Hilton

This novel about a utopian lamasery in the Tibetan mountains was eventually made into a film, and is the origin of the idea of Shangri-La, a remote earthly paradise. In the novel, the residents of Shangri-La age so slowly that they live hundreds of years. While their home is one of striking natural beauty, the residents are not deprived of modern technology and information.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon.com

Sultana’s Dream (1905)
> Author: Begum Rokeya

Written in English by Bengali-Muslim feminist Begum Rokeya, “Sultana’s Dream” imagines a society in which the tables are turned on the traditional Muslim practice of purdah (female seclusion). In her feminist utopia, Ladyland, women run a crime-free society with a two-hour workweek, and males are kept in seclusion. Technological advancements featured in the novel include flying cars, weather control, solar power, and automated farming.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Red Star (1908)
> Author: Alexander Bogdanov

Written by a physician and Bolshevik revolutionary, “Red Star” imagines a communist utopia on Mars that features universal equality, the absence of gender, advanced science and medicine, and legally assisted suicide. Citizens have the freedom to choose their occupation and workload, as well as who and how many people they wish to love.

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