American Dictatorships -- A Bibliography

The light has gone out on the City on the Hill. This particular subset of dystopian fiction focuses on worlds in which the United States has taken a wrong turn and instead of being a bastion of freedom and a beacon of hope for the rest of the world, it has become an oppressor within and often a bully without.

Byrne, Eugene and Kim Newman.Back in the USSA

An alternate history in which the roles of Russia and the United States are reversed

Cadigan, Pat. "Dispatches from the Revolution" in Alternate Presidents

When Lyndon Johnson decides to run for another term as President amidst the upheavals of 1968, he is assassinated at the Democratic National Convention. The military subsequently restores order with an iron fist.

Dick, Philip K. Radio Free Albemuth

In an alternate world, Lyndon Johnson's presidency was followed by that of a corrupt and paranoid man who led the country's slip-slide into fascism, and began imprisoning and even killing dissidents and writers.

Eklund, George. "Examination Day" in The Other Side of Tomorrow

After a series of disasters leads to a strongman taking over the US, all education is by direct brain induction. A young man being trained as a concentration camp commandant discovers that failing his final examination proves easier said than done.

Heinlein, Robert A. "If This Goes On" in Revolt in 2100 & Methuselah's Children

The US has become a straight-up theocratic dictatorship, courtesy of Nehemiah Scudder, a fundamentalist preacher who got himself elected President. A century later, the corruption of the regime he founded has reached the breaking point.

Jones, Raymond F. "A Bowlful of Biskies Makes a Growing Boy" in The Other Side of Tomorrow

Although there are few overt signs of tyranny and oppression in this imagined future US, when the protagonist discovers the hidden system of manipulation that runs his world, the authorities send him to a special school that is designed to destroy his mind.

Kimmel, Leigh. "Bringing Home Major Tom" in Forging Freedom: Dimensions

The protagonist meets a man from a world where human cloning was a secret project of the Cold War, and after it is won, the stigmatization of the clone population has led to rebellion and a harsh crackdown by the Federal government.

Kratman, Tom. Caliphate, Baen books.

In a nightmare future a nuclear terrorist attack on three US cities led to the US becoming an Empire with severely restricted civil rights, in a state of perpetual war against Islam in all its forms.

Read a review of Caliphate

Lewis, Sinclair. It Can't Happen Here

The granddaddy of them all, it tells the story of a Fascist takeover of the US and its horrific consequences for a small-town family. Written in the 1930's, when such events were a very real possibility.

Marusek, David. Counting Heads

As terrorist attacks become more sophisticated, Homeland Security uses ever more intrusive methods to combat it in this biotech-intensive future.

Read a review of Counting Heads

________. Mind Over Ship

Although the hated slugs from Counting Heads have been abolished, the anti-terrorism police of this future America still have extensive powers and very little oversight or accountability.

Read a review of Mind over Ship

Neufield, John. Sleep Two, Three, Four

In a world where the 1970's went very differently, random criminal gang breakins are in fact false-flag operations to maintain popular support for the police state's tough stance on crime.

Niven, Larry, Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn. Fallen Angels

Radical environmentalists have taken over the US and suppressed technology, forcing science fiction fandom to go underground.

Read a review of Fallen Angels

Oltion, Jerry. Anywhere But Here

When a mad scientist develops a faster-than-light drive so cheap and easy that ordinary people can build it, the US government cracks down on the grounds that it enables people to run out on their debts.

Read a review of Anywhere but Here

Turtledove, Harry. "Must and Shall" in Roads Not Taken: Tales of Alternate History

President Abraham Lincoln is killed by a stray bullet while on a visit to the front, and a vengeful Union crushes the Confederacy, leading to a decades-long insurgency that shows no sign of abating.

Know of a book that ought to be included in this list? Let me know.

Last updated January 11, 2014.