See also: Utopia | Future | Cyberpunk

Any society that seems to be a utopia, but for whatever reason is not a desirable place for everyone to live. Many times the rules set into place benefit all but a select few. Dystopia is the opposite of a utopian society, where all is right and everyone is free and happy. Usually the blind masses follow doctrines that are for ‘the greater good,’ overlooking the high cost to others.

In a dystopian novel, the reality of life is forced to seem so picture perfect that it generally ends up negating the happiness and lifestyle of one particular group in order to benefit society as a unit.

Sometimes dystopic works are meant to lean us away from a future to which we are currently headed, for example by over population or nuclear conflagration. They are often authored with the subtext of “here’s what we should collectively avoid.” Again, utopic societies conversely present an ideal, where things are as they should be and have a subtext of “here is where we should go.”

There is a whole genre of dystopian literature. A list of these includes, but is not limited to, the following novels and movies.

Title / Synopsis

  • Atwood, Margaret A Handmaid’s Tale – feminist book about women being oppressed
  • Bradbury, Ray Farenheit 451books are banned and commercialism fills in the blank
  • Burgess, Anthony Clockwork Orange – doctors force a violent man to become harmless
  • Dick, Philip K Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? – the novel ‘Bladerunner’ was based on
  • Gibson, William Neuromancer
  • Huxley, Aldous A Brave New World – the population lives a forced utopia under the influence of government-distributed drugs
  • King, Stephen The Running Man – gladiator like games, to appease the masses
  • Lowry, Lois The Giver
  • Orwell, George 1984 – the world is manipulated by rulers that condition the population into submission
  • 12 Monkeys – the world post-apocolyptic (plague)
  • Bladerunner – humans create near-perfect androids but do not treat them humanly
  • Brazil (a Webfork personal favorite) – the world swallowed in bureaucracy
  • Dark City – a place of perpetual night where people are made to exchange memories
  • Gattaca – where everyone’s fate is determined by their genes
  • Freejack – world overpopulated and owned by corporations
  • Logan’s Run – Earth when there is compulsory murder of aged people
  • Mad Max – post apocolypse power-grab
  • Soylent Green – a world food shortage causes people to make a grim choice
  • Until the End of the World
  • West World (a Kittensauce personal favorite)

Check the Movie/Recommendations for more.

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