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Why We Like Reading Dystopian Texts

Welcome to Trump’s America: an illustrated dystopia

A surprising number of people, Trump supporters and non-Trump supporters alike, have scoffed at the idea that if elected, Trump might establish internment camps, punish women, and crack down on free speech. But this isn’t necessarily the stuff of dystopian paranoia. This is simply the worst-case scenario based on Trump’s own promises and proclamations. The following imagines America’s potential future—based on the specific actions Donald Trump has threatened to take against American values and democracy.


Life in North Korea: executions, starvation and fear.

The horrific brutality in North Korea is laid bare in a UN report, which describes how the state maintains a climate of fear through executions, enforced disappearances and starvation. 

Forget Dystopian Fiction. Sochi is pure Dystopian reality. 

IF YOU’RE EXHAUSTED by the glut of dystopian literature that has dominated the entertainment world over the last few years, take heart: We’re almost free of its chokehold, but it’s not just because the stories are all starting to look the same.

Dystopia Timeline/History

How to recognize Dystopia

Typical Features of Dystopian Fiction

  • A background story of war, revolution, uprising, overpopulation, natural disaster or some other climactic event which resulted in dramatic changes to society.


  • A standard of living among the lower and middle class that is generally poorer than in contemporary society. This is not always the case, however, in Brave New World people enjoy much higher material living standards in exchange for the loss of other qualities in their lives, such as independent thought and emotional depth.


  • A protagonist who questions society, often feeling intuitively that something is terribly wrong.


  • As dystopian literature typically depicts events that take place in the future, it often features technology more advanced than that of contemporary society. Usually, this advanced technology is controlled exclusively by the group in power, while the oppressed population is limited to a rather primitive technology.


  • Dystopian fiction typically extrapolates current trends and developments into the future. It is not enough to show people living in an unpleasant society. The society must have similarities to today, of the reader's own experience. If the reader can identify the patterns or trends that would lead to the dystopia, it becomes a more involving and effective experience.


  • There is usually a group of people who are not under the complete control of the state, and in whom the hero of the novel usually puts his or her hope, although he or she still fails to change anything. In 1984 by George Orwell they are the "proles" (short for "proletariat"), in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley they are the people on the reservation, and in Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, they are the "book people" past the river and outside the city.


  • If destruction is not possible, escape may be, if the dystopia does not control the world. In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, the main character succeeds in fleeing and finding people who have dedicated themselves to memorizing books to preserve them.

Orwell v Huxley


Citemaker - Online Referencing Tool

Citemaker is an online referencing tool which will help you create correctly formatted references for your assignments. It offers help with print and online resources as well as many others. If you sign up for an account, you can save lists of references. Otherwise just use it as and when you need it and copy and paste the references you make. jAPA is a slightly less complicated version of the Citemaker to help younger students.

How science fiction can help predict the future

Children of Men

Black Mirror

When the Real World Is a Dystopia, Black Mirror Is a Relief

Orphan Black

The 100

Dystopian vs. Apocalyptic Fiction: What’s the difference?

Video Games

The End is Nigh: The Ten Best Post-Apocalyptic Video Games

Many video games have tackled dystopian concepts through the years. Here are the 20 best games about dystopias...