The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

In this classic novel of dystopian fiction, a religious cult has taken control of America and turned women into slaves, many of whom are forced to bear children for powerful men. As in “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” cruelty and abuse is not only justified but also presented as the righteous and necessary foundation upon which society is built.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess 

Anthony Burgess’s strange and horrific opus also focuses on the consequences of a complacent and morally bankrupt society. The central character, Alex, goes through a transformation from brutal rapist to “reformed” criminal. The manner in which Alex is reformed is itself abominable and cruel, but it is justified as necessary for the betterment of society.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

In Suzanne Collins’s version of a dystopian future, a select few are forced to fight against one another to the death in the name of entertaining, and thereby pacifying, the masses. The morally corrupted ruling class ignores the barbarity of its society, trading the good life for the suffering of others.