20 Reasons Why You Love Reading Dystopian Novels

Do you love reading dystopian novels? Why do you choose to be entertained by dark worlds where it’s kill or be killed? For that matter, why do I write dystopian stories? I have pondered those questions. In my research, I didn’t go to the psychiatrists and academic sites to find out why. I went to the readers.

20 reasons why we love dystopian novels

20 Reasons Why We Love Dystopian Novels

  1. They feel honest because we know politicians, military people, and corporate moguls are capable of doing awful things. Dictatorship, revolution, and counterrevolution usually cause severe physical and psychological damage to the victims and other participants. 
  2. We admire the best dystopian novels because they’re written well and depict people we can relate to.
  3. It fascinates us how some characters react bravely and some react cowardly or with resignation to the terrible situations they face.
  4. As readers, we rubberneck to see the misery; we can’t avert our eyes even as we’re enraged by what despots and other vicious officials are doing to citizens. We wonder if rebels and other members of the populace can somehow remake a wretched society into something more positive.
  5. The questions of who will survive and who won’t keep us reading. 
  6. We might feel a little against-all-odds hope.
  7. Sometimes we hope that our current society can be jolted enough to avoid the dystopia in real life.
  8. Facing reality is inevitable.
  9. We read and think, the world could be a lot worse.
  10. Dark visions help us to make sense of our own increasingly unrecognizable country or world. A well-told narrative, truthful or not, can awaken a reader’s imagination and push them to action—and a neat dystopia is often more satisfying than a complicated truth.
  11. Readers of dystopian novels love humans and their nature to fit in even if it means putting on a mask and pretending that they’re okay.
  12. We love how most people have somewhat free will in a dystopian novel and make choices to not act based on fear or to act despite fear.
  13. Inspired by a facet of reality, dystopian novels expand and explore things that fascinate us.
  14. We love reading books that encourage awareness and how they can be an avenue of discovery, education, and discussion.
  15. A dystopian society is an open invitation for readers to analyze and pinpoint why. 
  16. It gives us hope that we can control or resolve the dark and turbulent times in our own lives.
  17. Reading dystopian novels allows us to reflect on our current world and understand the pitfalls that we need to avoid becoming a degenerate society.
  18. The best dystopian novels have vividly described settings.
  19. We love it because it opens our eyes to the way that one person’s utopia is another person’s dystopia.
  20. Dystopian novels feature protagonists we love. We love these less-than-perfect characters shaped by their situation into strong, active protagonists resisting dark forces.

Do you love to read dystopian novels? If you haven’t yet, download my Dystopian Reading List with more than 200 dystopian titles.

More than 200 novels listed. Yours free when you sign up for my newsletter.

I would love it if you let me know how many of them you’ve read. Did I include all the novels you love? If not, shoot me an email. I’ll add it to the next version of the list.

Did one of these 20 reasons why we love dystopian novels touch one the reasons you love to read them? What can you add to this list?

The Power of Love

“We must discover the power of love,” said Rev. Michael Curry quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the royal wedding. It has never been more appropriate.

Lynette M Burrows discusses the Martin Luther King quote about the power of love. The quote was used by Rev Curry during Prince Harry & Megan's wedding. Read more.

There’s much to fear, people are being killed every day. There are people who hate. People who are mistreated, abused, oppressed, and living in misery. But the power of love is still all around us.

The Power of Love Visible

I went to the store for a quick errand today and I saw the power of love working in quiet ways all around me. A mother kissed her toddler. A pair, not-the-same-skin-color, held hands and whispered to one another. A father ruffled his young son’s hair. Love is all around us. It’s not usually very noisy, the royal wedding is an exception.

An important exception because it held an extraordinary blend of love and tribute and celebration. Most importantly it held a reminder of Dr. King’s words.

There are so many people on the internet shouting angry, hateful words out of fear or negative places and feeling. It drowns out the quieter emotions like love. We, who aren’t full of hate, and anger, and fear, need to hold up the more powerful emotion. I believe Dr. King was right. The power of love is a redemptive power but only if we remember to see it, to hold it to the light.

Look for Love

So take a moment, a day, a week–look for the power of love around you. Really try to see the love. It’s there. But you will have to open yourself. That may feel scary, vulnerable. But if you look, you will get your own glimpses of love. Hold love to the light. Shine the light on love. How does it make you feel to see the love instead of the hate? If we all did this, what would the world be like?

Finding Hope

People were killed and people were severely injured last week. Is finding hope in the midst of this turmoil and suffering even possible?

People are killed and severely injured every week, you say. How is this different? Hate crimes. Yeah. Hate crimes happen every day, too. It’s a sad, angry, scared, confusing world.

This crime was big and public and it hit the news. Caring, compassionate people are hurting, grieving, scared, and angry. Many have lost hope. Some are lashing out with angry words. They think it is a sign of compassion, a sign of solidarity, a sign of right. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it crosses the line. Hate and anger beget hate and anger.

I don’t condone behavior based on hate or anger from anyone, for any reason. I try to feel compassion. But yes, I’m angry, hurt, scared, and confused, too. I wanted to strike back. At the same time, I want to hide my head in the sand. I want to hope it will all go away. And I tried. I tried staying away from social media. I wrote in my journal. I pulled out words I’ve drafted for future blog posts and tried to post them. I tried to pretend all was well. But I couldn’t do it.

I wrote angry, hurt-filled, blaming words that I thought I would post. But I couldn’t do that either. Hate and anger beget hate and anger.

I turned to my center, searching for love, understanding, compassion, hope. Severely challenged by recent events, by all the hate and anger that surrounds us, I couldn’t find any hope until Kitt Crescendo responded to a post by Catie Rhodes. Catie asked folks to comment with whatever music they were listening to today (Sunday). Kitt responded with a comment that when she gets discouraged by the events surrounding us, she turns to this song:

There it is, my compassion, my faith in people, my hope. Look at the lyrics:

“The Change”
Lyrics by Tony Arata and Wayne Tester

One hand
Reaches out
And pulls a lost soul from harm
While a thousand more go unspoken for
They say what good have you done
By saving just this one
It’s like whispering a prayer
In the fury of a storm

And I hear them saying you’ll never change things
And no matter what you do it’s still the same thing
But it’s not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world will know
That it will not change me

This heart
Still believes
The love and mercy still exist
While all the hatred rage and so many say
That love is all but pointless in madness such as this
It’s like trying to stop a fire
With the moisture from a kiss

And I hear them saying you’ll never change things
And no matter what you do it’s still the same thing
But it’s not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world will know
That it will not change me

As long as one heart still holds on
Then hope is never really gone

I hear them saying you’ll never change things
And no matter what you do it’s still the same thing
But it’s not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world we know
Never changes me

What I do is so
This world will know
That it will not change me

Some of you are likely going to comment that I’m avoiding naming the event, the place, the type of hate crime, and the criminals. Yes, I am. An ugly truth is that this isn’t the only hate crime that happened last week. It’s the one in the news. Hate crimes happen every day against people for their gender, their race, their religion, their otherness. Hate crimes range from angry, hurtful words to damaged property, or injury, or murder. No hate crime is less than or greater than the other. No hate crime is the right thing to do. Hate and anger beget hate and anger.

So I will rise above my feelings of hate and anger. I will remember to show love and mercy to all people regardless of their gender, race, religion, or otherness, even regardless of their behavior. I believe bad behavior (which this goes way beyond) must have consequences. But I also believe that only through love and mercy will we ever find true equality and peace.

Written for a different hate crime, this song reminded me. I believe that love and mercy still exist. I know there are people like me who will hold love and mercy in their hearts no matter how much anger and hate is flung around the globe and at home. And knowing that, I know hope is never gone.

With heartfelt thanks to the lyric writers, Tony Arata and Wayne Tester, to Garth Brooks, Catie Rhodes, and Kitt Crescendo. Keep spreading love and mercy!