Dystopian Short Stories

Stories of dystopias have become favorites for many readers. Thought provoking tales of surveillance, regimentation, oppression and rebellion have long fascinated and frightened us.

If you’ve read dystopian novels and are looking for more stories, these shorter works are entertaining and interesting.

Here are some short story selections for a fan of dystopian fiction with links where available.

Looking for Dystopian Novels?

Red Card | S. L. Gilbow

Linda Jackson shoots her husband. The general reaction of the public is favorable. She reports her “enforcement” to the authorities and prepares to follow proper procedure as the holder of a red card.

Read Red Card

The Funeral | Kate Wilhelm

After a very old woman dies, the young girls who attended to her in her final years are assigned to write down things that she said. Most of it is government approved, but one of the girls remembers her saying something about a cave where she could go and hide.

Read The Funeral

Billennium | J. G. Ballard

Overpopulation is society’s main problem. The government has mandated a maximum living space of 4 square meters per person. A man, Ward, finds a place slightly larger than the legal limit which he shares with a friend. They make a discovery that changes everything.

Read Billennium

Amaryllis| Carrie Vaughn

Marie is the captain of a fishing vessel. Their catches are limited to a government mandated quota, as is the population in general. Marie was an illegal birth; her mother hid the pregnancy, causing the breakup of the family.

Read Amaryllis

Ten With a Flag | Joseph Paul Haines

In the future when advanced testing is available for pregnant women, a mother finds out that her unborn child will be gifted – the government believes the child will benefit society. The father believes the child is dangerous.

Peter Skilling | Alex Irvine

Peter died 98 years ago in a mountain climbing accident. He is revived with advanced medical technology. Peter is eager to begin his life again, but due to strict anti-terrorism laws he must first answer for the crimes of his past.

Read Peter Skilling

The Pedestrian | Ray Bradbury

Leonard Mead leaves his house at 8PM for a walk. In ten years of taking evening walks he has never met up with another person; everyone stays inside to watch television. He is spotted by the police and approached.

Read The Pedestrian

Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman | Harlan Ellison

The Ticktockman is in charge of a highly regimented society where everything runs on schedule. He has the power to shorten, or end, people’s lives as punishment for being late. A rebellious figure, the Harlequin, disrupts the master schedule by causing interference for the citizens, bringing him to the attention of the Ticktockman.

Read Repent, Harlequin

Is This Your Day to Join the Revolution | Genevieve Valentine

Liz lives in a society where citizens are closely monitored and ordered to report each other for suspicious behavior. She has been matched with Greg to reproduce. Disease control workers hand out pills and masks, warning people of a dangerous contagion.

Read Is This Your Day...

Minority Report | Philip K. Dick

John Anderton is the head of the pre-crime division – a division that can determine in advance who is going to commit a crime. The names of the future criminals are generated on a card; one day, Anderton’s own name appears.

Read Minority Report

Just Do It | Heather Linsley

Alex Monroe interviews for a job at CraveTech, a company in chemical advertising – advertising that is shot into people which makes them crave a particular product. She has an ulterior motive for wanting the job.

Read Just Do It

Civilization | Vylar Kaftan

You are in charge of a civilization. You get to make important decisions that affect the whole population in a Choose Your Own Adventure style story.

Read Civilization

Resistance | Tobias S. Bucknell

Stanuel helps a mercenary gain access to a restricted building. They try to avoid detection by Pan, the leader, who has extensive monitoring systems in place. They’re headed for the tower with weapons and explosives.

Read Resistance

Evidence of Love in a Case of Abandonment | M. Rickert

Certain women are executed every night on television for a crime that isn’t immediately clear. The woman’s name is given and her face is shown, but there are many women who seem to vanish without ever appearing on the show.

The Cull | Robert Reed

The doctor on a Mars station hears that a young boy, Orlando, has caused trouble again, hitting his sister. Everyone on the station is happy except for Orlando. His parents are worried and in denial about his behavior. They fear Orlando will be culled.

Read The Cull

The Perfect Match | Ken Liu

Sai lives in a society where companies monitor people’s preferences and a voice on their phones, Tilly, tells them about things they like, even coaching them on dates. Sai’s neighbor, Jenny, rejects the invasion of privacy and complains about the recording devices outside Sai’s door. She claims that Tilly tells people what to like and what to do, which gets Sai thinking.

Read The Perfect Match

Harrison Bergeron | Kurt Vonnegut

All Americans are equal – no one is allowed to be better than anyone else in any way. An exceptional fourteen-year-old, Harrison, is taken away from his parents by the government.

Read Harrison Bergeron

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas | Ursula Le Guin

The citizens of Omelas are happy and celebrating the summer festival. They have an arrangement that guarantees their happiness.

Read Omelas

The Lottery | Shirley Jackson

The inhabitants of a village prepare for the lottery, an annual harvest time tradition. Everyone gathers to draw slips of paper from an old black box.

Read The Lottery

Frost and Fire | Ray Bradbury

Sim is born on a planet close to the sun where people live only eight days. There is a ship, intact, on a mountain, but it’s too far away to reach in time.

Read Frost and Fire

We Ate the Children Last | Yann Martel

Patient D, who has a terminal case of colon cancer, receives a digestive system transplant from a pig. He recovers quickly and his appetite becomes voracious and unusual.

Read We Ate the Children Last

The New Utopia | Jerome K. Jerome

The narrator dines with his friends at the National Socialist Club where they discuss their goal of equality for all. He goes home thinking about how delightful a completely fair society would be. After going to sleep, he wakes up a thousand years later in this ideal socialist state.

Read New Utopia

Sacre du Printemps | Ludwig Bemelmans

Emil kratzig lives in a society that's heavily controlled by the government, which includes many class distinctions for the citizens.

2 B R 0 2 B | Kurt Vonnegut

All of society's ills have been cured: wars, famine, disease, and death from aging. The population is maintained at 40 million. When there is a birth, someone has to volunteer to die. Edward Wehling finds out that his wife is going to give birth to triplets.

Read 2 B R 0 2 B

Hope you enjoy some of these dystopian stories. If I come across more, i'll add them to this page.

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