The Dystopian Timeline to The Hunger Games [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Patrick Brown on March 21, 2012

Dystopian fiction is more popular than it has been in more than 50 years. Whether it's the result of political turmoil, global financial crises, or other anxieties, readers are craving books about ruthless governments and terrifying worlds. The new breed of dystopian novels combines classic dystopian themes of cruel governments and violent, restrictive worlds with a few new twists—badass heroines and romance. To mark the movie release of the most popular of this new wave of books, The Hunger Games, we examined the history of the dystopian genre to see how it has evolved and why it's so popular today.

Comments Showing 1-50 of 140 (140 new)

message 1: by Crestial (new)

Crestial Wintersmith Wow!!!

message 2: by Koi N. (new)

Koi N. Very interesting. I'd like to read all the books listed here. Thanks!

message 3: by Kristoff (new)

Kristoff OH. MY. GAWD! I did not know that! My brain is now processing this new information. Thanks for sharing this amazing facts!

message 4: by Sian (new)

Sian Whiley This is why I love this website - you give us insight as well as suggestions. Interesting comments.

message 5: by Michelle (new)

Michelle This is great! Really nicely made! :)

message 6: by Lorenzo (new)

Lorenzo Fascinating and well presented. Thanks

message 7: by Emilia (new)

Emilia I wrote a thesis on dystopian literature in 2011 and this is a perfect graphic breakdown of my claims. Dystopian literature is on a boom and therefore, incredibly important to society and especially the classroom. It's important to understand the numerous different ways in which you could approach all of these novels as a critical reader.

message 8: by Neveen (new)

Neveen That's interesting thing to know.

message 9: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Loraine So interesting. I find my writing fits into this category as well. Thanks.

message 10: by shortbreadsouth (new)

shortbreadsouth Yes, I think The Hunger Games will soon pass 1984. They are both very relevant, but as society changes the newer novels will definitely invoke more interest.

message 11: by Francesca (new)

Francesca Mind=blown

message 12: by Nancy (new)

Nancy O'Toole To answer the question about The Hunger Games, I also believe that it will eventually pass 1984 in popularity. With the movie coming out this week, a lot of new readers are becoming interested.

This graph is really neat :)

message 13: by Rubber Gloved (new)

Rubber Gloved Philosopher Good summary, thanks... a couple of other great recent young adult dystopian novels which come to mind are "Feed" and "House of the Scorpion".

You asked about the next trend in this genre? What about food/water/environmental anxiety? Not sexy, but actually scary and anger-inducing... Or perhaps we will go back to a wave of "Fear of the State" as our governments fail to protect our best interests...

message 14: by Danya (new)

Danya Bakhbakhi Enjoyed some and ALL the rest been on my to-read since forever. interesting one.

Ps, someone forgot to pin something on Pinterest Goodreads!!

message 15: by Abigail (new)

Abigail The Giver has to be added to this list! It was the first dystopian novel I read years ago and I bet many people have read it!

message 16: by Andrea (new)

Andrea I absolutely love this! I love to know stuff like this... Anyways I'm all up for 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 as much as I love The Hunger Games. Would it surpass 1984? I hope not, I support the classics and then we might inspire people to write something better.

message 17: by Elsbeth L.S.E. (new)

Elsbeth L.S.E. This post shows how far behind I am in terms of reading. I haven't read any of these books listed here. Arrrggghhh.... Should find time to read more.

Great post, btw.

message 18: by Judy (new)

Judy I agree with Abigail that The Giver should be in this list. I also loved Enclave.

message 19: by Bess (new)

Bess I need to start reading these!

message 20: by Sharon (new)

Sharon I'd argue that Brave New World -- with its biologically engineered social caste system -- is about biological, reproductive, and economic issues, in addition to its other themes.

message 21: by Isabella (new)

Isabella I think Chemical Garden should be mentioned too with it's reproduction and disease theme that I think is quite relevant considering all the different pandemics etc. Interesting read though, I've only read Crossed and Hunger Games of the mentioned though so I have some reading to do in the future!

message 22: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth So interesting! I have read a lot of these books OR I have been meaning to read them. Can't wait to start comparing them once I have read more.

message 23: by Timothy (new)

Timothy Darling I don't know, it seems to me that books like The Day of the Triffids; Alas, Babylon; The Postman; Earth Abides belong on this list too. Are they too overtly SF to make the cut? Or perhaps post-apocalypse and dystopia are two different genres. I love this list though, and I'll be checking in on it for some future reading material.

message 24: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer I hope the next big trend is: corporations controlling the government.

message 25: by Trisha (new)

Trisha Great fun facts! I don't know how I feel about the Hunger Games surpassing 1984 or even Farenheit 451 as the best ever. The writing writing style in both of those books are beyond the Hunger Games in my opinion. Definitely a big fan of all of the above!

message 26: by Breanna (new)


message 27: by Isabelle (new)

Isabelle Faacinating. :) Although I believe the 'Chaos Walking' Trilogy should definitely be on this list. Fantastic dystopian series. I STRONGLY recommned it.

message 28: by Breanna (last edited Mar 21, 2012 11:08AM) (new)

Breanna Isabelle wrote: "Faacinating. :) Although I believe the 'Chaos Walking' Trilogy should definitely be on this list. Fantastic dystopian series. I STRONGLY recommned it."

definitely! it's captured my heart and became my favorite series.

message 29: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca Love your infographic posts.

Despite being female, I prefer the older "fear of the state" dystopian novels. "1984" and "Fahrenheit 451", especially.

Although, in the current "bad times", I'd just as leave have some escapist fantasy. Don't need more worries in my reading material.

message 30: by Shelby (new)

Shelby This is amazing. What eye-opening information! Thanks, Patrick!

message 31: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie A. Cain Don't forget about the 1994 Newbery winner The Giver, by Lois Lowry! Blood Red Road by Moira Young is another new dystopian YA, and I found it both epic and literary.

message 32: by Sylvia101 (new)

Sylvia101 great list. I would also add "Parable of the Sower", and perhaps "Catch 22", "Girlfriend in a Coma", "Parable of the Sower", the Enders Game Trilogy, and "The Passage".

message 33: by Amy (new)

Amy Dystopian themed books are just about all I've been reading so far this year! I'm greatly enjoying them, however I wish there were more adult (versus YOUNG adult) dystopian novels that included romance. Of course, I could just not be aware of them as yet.

message 34: by Namida... (last edited Mar 21, 2012 01:44PM) (new)

Namida... the hunger games is one of those books that i feel would have been much better off if it was only given praise to the extend it deserves, some books when alot of people start to read them and a lot of people begin to say they're the best books and so and so, they lose their integrity...The Hunger Games is a very good book, i love it, but it is not brilliant and will never be as 1984 or brave new world. Giving it more than it deserves makes literary scholars start to point out the many faults and segregates people to 'haters' and 'lovers'... the same story happened to twilight and the mortal instruments, and it's not fair for adequately good books...

message 35: by Laura (new)

Laura How interesting! I would love for robotics to be the next "big thing"...just minus the sci-fi (think FIRST Robotics Competition!). But, I don't want to see the newest phase of dystopian novels dissipate anytime soon! Also, wouldn't a better index/indicator of how well a book does in comparison is by its sales? After all, Twilight has a ton of sales AND reviews, but how many people have you heard made a stink about them?

message 36: by Stacey (new)

Stacey Flynn Excellent infographic! The overlapping themes that are used in the novel have allowed it to capture a wider audience.

message 37: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown Thanks for all the comments, everyone! This is a tremendous reaction to the post.

We definitely left a few big dystopian novels off our graphic to save some space. The Giver, Unwind, and others were definitely on our map. We also tried to draw a distinction between dystopian books -- where there is some order to the world -- and post-apocalyptic books, where there's not. Books like The Road, The Crossing, etc. seemed more post-apocalyptic to us.

Thanks again for the comments and for sharing the graphic.

message 38: by Kim (new)

Kim Rader Hey, it would be great if there were active links in this so we could add these books to our To Read lists.

message 39: by Paul (new)

Paul Kieniewicz "Gaia's Children by Paul Kieniewicz-- Dystopian novel in near-future Scotland. Check it out!

message 40: by Stacey (new)

Stacey (prettybooks) I'm a massive fan of dystopia and so I shared it on my blog: (with a link back, of course!). It's brilliant - thank you for posting!

message 41: by Han (new)

Han Women prefer the society of The Handmaid's Tale? Really? Are you sure?

message 42: by Carly (new)

Carly Wow, wonderful post!

message 43: by Stacey (new)

Stacey (prettybooks) Hannah wrote: "Women prefer the society of The Handmaid's Tale? Really? Are you sure?"

I think it means whether men or women enjoyed/read the book more (I may be wrong though...).

message 44: by Han (new)

Han prettybooks wrote: "Hannah wrote: "Women prefer the society of The Handmaid's Tale? Really? Are you sure?"

I think it means whether men or women enjoyed/read the book more (I may be wrong though...)."

ahh that makes sense, I assumed because all the others seemed to fit with the internal genders as well >.<

message 45: by viki (new)

viki What annoys me again and again and again is that people brand The Hunger Games as some amazing, unique, ground breaking masterpiece. No. It's Battle Royale for children, and I think it is a great shame that so few people know about that book.

The Literary Analyst FANTASTIC! Please do more post like this one.

message 47: by Camila (new)

Camila this is amazing! thank you!

message 48: by Guadalupe (new)

Guadalupe Neri Hunger Games is riding the Young Adult popularity wave like the Harry Potter series and like the Twilight series. Will it eventually become a "must read" classics like 1984, Soylent Green, THX-1138 or I, Robot (please, not the movie)? Will the story itself stand the test of time? Thirty years from now, will people rate it amongst the mentioned masterpieces? Personally, I don't believe so, although, who can tell? For now, it will remain popular until the next "must follow" book/film comes along.

message 49: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Dystopian fiction has always made us think and possibly warned but this current trend, and desire for it, is a reflection of these never-before times. I believe these stories help us feel less isolated in our suffering and offer a glimmer of hope.

If you like those listed above- there are plenty more in Sci-fi land such as Ender's Game and the more recent Across the Universe Trilogy. And yes the YA Lois Lowry Giver Series: The Giver, Messenger, Gathering Blue all fall into this genre. Check out for a real trip into the Matrix.

message 50: by Emily (new)

Emily LOVE! Dystopia is now my favorite genre thanks to the Hunger Games! I have now read 4 of the 5 books under the YA Explosion: Romance section!!! :) I feel so proud!

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