11 Dystopian Novels To Prepare You For Donald Trump’s Presidency

by Erika W. Smith

In just over two months, America will be governed by President Donald Trump. And less than two weeks after the election, it already feels like we’re living in a dystopia — with white supremacists appointed to Trump’s staff, talk of Muslim internment camps, and Trump’s camp saying he never said things that there is actual video evidence of him saying.

When Hulu announced that its adaptation of the Handmaid’s Tale was coming in 2017, people responded, “Yeah, we know.” And that’s not all — before November 8, several comparisons were made between Trump and other dystopian novels.

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We’ve gathered a list of the dystopian novels to read to prepare you for a Trump presidency.

1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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In this Margaret Atwood novel, the government blames “Islamic fanatics” for everything as they slowly seize more power. They censor newspapers and make people carry around “Identipasses.” Oh, and women are deprived of all their rights and are assigned roles depending on their fertility and social status. All of this sounds pretty familiar…..

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2. Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler


This 1998 novel by sci-fi legend Octavia Butler (best known for Kindred) got some attention this summer because it features a politician who runs on the platform “Make America Great Again.” Also, he hates Muslims, Jews, and every non-Christian and has perfected the appearing-to-condemn-violence-while-actually-encouraging-it thing that Trump does so well. 

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3. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

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In this YA sci-fi novel, everyone is mandated to get extreme plastic surgery when they turn 16. Trump’s obsession with controlling women’s bodies and ranking them by hotness makes us feel like this isn’t too far of a stretch.

4. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

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Trump hasn’t started burning books just yet, but he has threatened journalists, denied press credentials to outlets that don’t openly support him, said he’ll refuse to allow journalists to cover his presidency, and threatened to sue the New York Times. The Committee to Protect Journalists recently released a statement saying that Trump “has consistently betrayed First Amendment values.”

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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In Panem, the world of The Hunger Games, reality TV rules all. And, as Jezebel points out, Trump’s latest move is a literally a plotline from the Hunger Games series: He’s planning a “Victory Tour.”

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6. 1984 by George Orwell

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In 1984, the government presents completely false information — like “2+2=5” — as true, and people have to believe it, or they’re guilty of “thoughtcrime.” Just how many times has Trump denied things there is actual video evidence of him saying so far? See also: The rise of fake Facebook news.

7. The Maddaddam series by Margaret Atwood

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This other Atwood-created dystopia is focused largely on the effects of climate change and genetic engineering. Guess who thinks climate change is “a Chinese hoax”? Our president-elect.

8. The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

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As pointed out by the New Yorker, Trump shares quite a few similarities with Roth’s version of Charles Lindbergh, who in the novel uses his celebrity to become president and, in both the novel and IRL, was an anti-Semite.

9. It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis


In the wake of the election, many people have pointed to Lewis’ 1935 novel, which is now selling out at some retailers. Lewis’ novel describes a presidential candidate who runs on a platform of anti-immigrant fear and rails against the liberal media — and warns us of the dangers of assuming that the US is safe from a Hitler-like rise to power.


10. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy


Quite a few people have pointed out the similarities between Trump and McCarthy’s small-handed antagonist, and Bedford + Bowery even put together aBlood Meridian or Donald Trump quote?” quiz.

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11. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

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In this 2014 sci-fi novel, a small group of people continues on after a swine flu pandemic destroyed most of the population. Guess who thinks vaccines are dangerous? President-elect Trump.

Top photo: The Handmaid’s Tale

Published November 18, 2016

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