Novels About Utopian Societies

These novels present societies that the author thinks would be ideal.

They can be contrasted with Dystopias

Utopic Novels

Looking Backward: 2000 – 1887 | Edward Bellamy

After being treated for insomnia, Julian West awakens 113 years later, in the year 2000. He gradually learns of all the changes that have occurred, covering commerce, human rights, labor, gender roles, and class distinctions.

Read “Looking Backward”

Utopia | Sir Thomas More

More records an account of the people of the island of Utopia – their history, laws, religion, and general customs. The Utopians hold all property in common, provide equal education for their citizens, and have a definite daily routine. More hopes that his acquaintance, Hythloday, an expert on the Utopians, will become an advisor to a king so others can benefit from their system.

Read “Utopia”

City of the Sun | Tommaso Campanella

The narrative is a dialogue about a theocratic society surrounded by seven circles of walls. The citizens try all kinds of work and do what they are best at, working only four hours a day. Everything is held in common – homes, food, material goods, women, and children. Procreation is a social responsibility.

Read “City of the Sun”

Herland | Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Three men go looking for a rumoured all-female society. They are surrounded and held captive but treated well. The women are strong, intelligent, and understanding, and they exchange information about their societies. The inhabitants of Herland are capable of asexual reproduction. Their community is free of crime and highly ordered with communal ownership of property.

Read “Herland”

New Atlantis | Francis Bacon

Bensalem is an island that is home to Salomon’s House, a place of scientific experimentation, the knowledge from which is used to benefit their society. The people are Christian, honest, and hold themselves to a high moral standard.

Read “New Atlantis”

News from Nowhere | William Morris

The narrator finds himself transported to England of the future. It is an agrarian society where children aren’t formally educated, there is no money, no crime, and no class distinctions.

Read “News from Nowhere”

Lost Horizon | James Hilton

Hugh Conway tells the story of Shangri-La, a Tibetan monastery in the mountains where the residents age slowly and live a very long time. It is a place of study and peace, untouched by the hostilities in the world.

Read “Lost Horizon”

Erewhon | Samuel Butler

Higgs, a young man, travels into the mountains and, after a long journey, comes into open plains where some people take him into town. Machines are considered dangerous and are not allowed. Criminals are considered sick and given treatment, while sick people are punished with jail time.

This is a utopian satire that presents a society with some obvious flaws.

Read “Erewhon”

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