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Waiting for a Copy of 1984? Try One of These.


The rumors are true: There's a huge, nationwide run on copies of George Orwell’s 1984.

More copies are on their way to the New York Public Library right now, so if you too want to read this classic tale of power, corruption, and totalitarianism, you can put it on hold via our catalog. We have two editions of print copies in English, a print copy in Spanish, two different ebooks, and an audiobook.

But Orwell's classic isn't the only dystopian game in town. While you're waiting, check out some of these other serious, thought-provoking novels on our shelves—physical and virtual—right now.

Surveillance, science, and technology

If you’re drawn to 1984 because of its dark science and creepy portrayal of Big Brother, try…


The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan

Lovestar by Andri Snær Magnason

Green Earth by Kim Stanley Robinson

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

Power, tyrants, and oppressive societies

If a desire to understand the dynamics of resistance and the authoritarian states is driving your desire for Orwell’s classic, try a few other classics…


The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Dystopian breakdowns

For more dark stories about societies in disarray, try…


The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline


Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.


Just read

Dystopian books

I'm disappointed you didn't include "A Gift Upon the Shore" by M.K. Wren, approx 1980. It might fit in at least the last category you use. Thanks.

What about Animal Farm by

What about Animal Farm by Gorge Orwell? Stories about living in a totalitarian dystopia might be interesting. But isn't it important to look into who it gets there?

What about Brave New World?

What about Brave New World? Seems almost more relevant than 1984. genetic engineering and pill popping.

More Female authors, more positive futures

Want a peek into a practical, revolutionary, earth-based, spiritual future? Try Starhawk's "City of Refuge"... hands down, the best.

You missed the most relevant one...

... to what's happening right now: It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis


Forgot about Haruki Murakami's 1Q84

dystopian literature

Would also include Walter Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz and Philip Wylie's The Disappearance.

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