Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Worlds I’d Never Want to Live In

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

There are many bookish worlds out there that are quite entertaining to read about but wouldn’t actually be very nice places to live in for all sorts of different reasons. Since I love post-apocalyptic fiction and other dark genres so much, I could have made this list twice as long if I weren’t restricted to only picking ten examples.

1.  England from P.D. James’ The Children of Men

While a world without children would be a terrible place to live in general, what made this futuristic version of England truly horrifying was how hopeless it had become. Suicide had become so commonplace and accepted that painless ways of doing it were routinely advertised on television in the film version of this tale. I found that quite disturbing.

2. Panem from Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.

As if the widespread malnutrition and violence in many of the districts wasn’t dangerous enough, there was also the risk of being sent to your almost-certain death in The Hunger Games every year for the teenage members of this society. There’s no way I’d ever want to live in any of these districts, especially the poorest ones.

3. The entire planet of Earth from Douglas Adam’s The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Earth is generally a pretty nice place to live in our universe, but in this book it’s demolished to make room for a galactic freeway very early on in the plot. I was pretty surprised by that twist, and I was only more surprised by what happened afterwards.

4. Winterfell from George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones

Based on what I’ve read about this series, people regularly died violently in this kingdom. I’m not at all good at sword fighting, so I think my chances of being one of the folks who didn’t survive would be even higher than normal for this world.

5. Oceania from George Orwell’s 1984.

As if living in a brutal and totalitarian society wouldn’t be frightening enough, the dark ending of this book would make me even more scared to go anywhere near Oceania. Let’s just say that their government was so powerful that there was nothing it couldn’t accomplish.

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6. America from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

While it’s never a good idea to live in a country that oppresses human rights, the fact that this futuristic version of the United States banned reading books made me hate it even more than I would have otherwise. I can’t imagine going an entire lifetime without being allowed to read stories.

7. China (and then the entire world!) from Max Brooks’ World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War.

Granted, zombie apocalypses are never great places to live in general, but what makes this book even more disturbing than the typical example of this genre was how long it took China and the rest of the world to even admit that there was a problem in the first place.

If they’d fought back and freely shared everything they knew about how this infection spread as soon as the dead began to rise, the outbreak probably could have been contained fairly easily.

8. The Greater German Reich from Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle.

In this alternate history novel, The Nazis won World War II and took possession of a massive portion of the United States. Needless to say, life under their regime wasn’t a happy experience for anyone. The Nazis continued to murder people who were Jewish, disabled, part of the LGBT community, and anyone else they decided wasn’t worth keeping alive.

9. Post-apocalyptic Chicago from Veronica Roth’s Divergent

Everyone in this world was divided into one of the five different factions of their society depending on that person’s personality and interests.

To be honest with you, none of the factions sounded like good places to live. Some members of their society were deprived of the opportunity to make the simplest choices for themselves like what to wear. Others risked violent deaths ever day for no reason at all. I wouldn’t have wanted to choose any of the five options available to the characters.

10. The army base from M.R. Carey’s The Girl with All the Gifts

As much as I love the idea of a child character who is far more special and dangerous than she first appears to be, the world she lived in was incredibly chaotic. There is no way I would have ever been safe there because there were no safe places left anywhere at all.

What bookish worlds would you never want to live in?


  1. Great list! 1984 would be terrible! And I’m with you on game of thrones – I definitely would not survive either! ?

  2. Great list! Game of Thrones, 1984 and The Hunger Games all made my list this week, too, although really any dystopian or post-apocalyptic society would be my idea of a complete nightmare.

  3. Mariela Silva says

    I love the Man in the High castle !
    I can’t wait for Season 3!

    My TTT.

  4. This is a great list and I totally agree with all of them!! The Hunger Games would be just terrible and I would die IMMEDIATELY. Plus, I have a fear of heights so Divergent would be awful too. I better just stay away from any science fiction ?

    • My thoughts exactly! Science fiction is a really fun genre to read, but there are also many dangerous worlds in it.

  5. I wouldn’t survive with the hunger games or Divergent lol!

  6. You’re so right, I wouldn’t want to live in any of these! Especially Children of Men…*shudder*
    Dani @ The Restricted Section

    • Have you read the book or seen the movie for that one? They were both very dark takes on the future of humanity.

  7. Yeah I don’t think anyone would really want to live in Panem!
    My TTT:

  8. The Divergent world would be terrifying to live in. Great list!

  9. I almost used Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in my list of places I would want to live (I would have said something like “anywhere but Earth in THGttG”). For the worlds you’ve included that I’m familiar with, I absolutely agree I would not want to live in them.

    Have a great week.

  10. Awesome list! Panem would be such a horrible place to live. The Hunger Games was a great book, but no way would I want to even visit the place.

    • Thanks. Yes, exactly. It was fun to read about, but experiencing that society for real would be horrifying.

  11. Oooh Fahrenheit 451 is one I totally should have remembered! That’s a great one! Same with Divergent. I still need to read Hitchhiker’s Guide, I hear amazing things and it’s on my shelf. Awesome list! Thanks for reading my post 🙂

  12. Children of Men was such a good pick! I have a few similar ones to you because dystopias are terrifying, haha.

  13. Astilbe, I have to wholeheartedly agree with your choices of Panem, Winterfell (or generally anywhere in Westeros), America from Fahrenheit 451 and Post-apocalyptic Chicago from Divergent – I don’t think I’d survive any of them!

  14. I didn’t even think of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, but those picks are perfect! Would love to avoid both worlds at all costs.

  15. Anywhere in Westeros, and Panem as well *nods*. Those places are bad news. 🙂 And yes Earth from Hitchhiker’s Guide! Chicago from Divergent too and Englad from Children of Men sounds pretty bad!

  16. Nice list!

    I don’t know if you’ve ever read the book, but I remember reading the The Forest of Hands and Teeth when I was younger and that world freaked me out. Disease-infecting zombies *shudders*. That’s like the #1 bookish world I would not want to live in.

    • No, I’ve never read that one. It sounds good, though, albeit not a place anyone would ever want to really live.

  17. I was thinking about possibly putting Game of Thrones on my want to visit list until I thought of the exact thing you mentioned – the brutality. Though the medieval times and kingdom politics and dynamics fascinate me, I would much rather read about them than see them first-hand!

    Thank you for stopping by Owl Always Be Reading!

  18. Without ever having read any of those books except for 1984, I can pretty surely say I would not want to live in any of those worlds either!

  19. I loooove this selection as much as I agree I would hate to live in any of these worlds!

  20. Completely agree with Divergent, The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones! I wouldn’t want to be in any of those worlds – EVER!

  21. I have to read a dystopian with a world I would like to live in. They are all so dismal.

  22. I just recently read The Girl with All the Gifts and I loved it – totally wouldn’t want to live there though!

    • Yay! It’s so great to meet another fan of that book. Have you seen the movie based on it? I thought it was quite well done.

  23. I too haven’t read Game of Thrones, but it sounds like death is incredibly common! Panem was on my list too, would never want to go there ??
    Amy x

  24. *shudder* No thank you to “The Hunger Games.” That world is WAY too scary. Also, from what I’ve read about “Game of Thrones” that’d be a BIG NO THANKS too. Way too much death going on in that land.

    Thanks so much for visiting Finding Wonderland this week.

  25. The earth from Hitchhiker’s Guide is a good one!


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