Special Report

30 Utopian Novels to Read in Our Dystopian World

The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)
> Author: Ursula K. Le Guin

Set in the universe of Ursula Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle, this novel presents a peaceful, androgynous society of ambisexual people on the planet of Gethen. When an ambassador from the earth-like planet of Terra arrives in Gethen to persuade its nations to join an interplanetary confederation, his failure to grasp their cultural norms hinders his mission.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon.com

The Deep (2019)
> Author: Rivers Solomon with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes

This novella, inspired by a song of the same name by Los Angeles hip hop group clipping., imagines a secret underwater utopia inhabited by the wajinru, descendants of pregnant African captives who were thrown overboard along the Middle Passage. When they discover that an energy company wants to drill beneath them to harvest fossil fuels, they must face their collective memories in order to survive.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon.com

The Fifth Sacred Thing (1993)
> Author: Starhawk

Set in a post-apocalyptic 2048, this novel imagines a pagan ecotopia in northern California ruled by a council of women elders, where hunger, waste, and homelessness are nonexistent. When the threat of invasion by a nearby fundamentalist Christian nation becomes inevitable, the citizens of this peaceful utopia may have a way to defend their community without sacrificing their ideals.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon.com

Pacific Edge (1990)
> Author: Kim Stanley Robinson

The final book in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Three Californias Trilogy, which imagines multiple alternate futures for Orange County, California, “Pacific Edge” can be read as a stand-alone novel. It details a possible transformation from the present to an ecologically sustainable future. This idyllic world is not without its own conflicts, of course, that arise in the form of greed and exploitation that threaten the new way of life.


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