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Former featured article candidateDystopia is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.
November 8, 2004Featured article candidateNot promoted


Clarification on introduction[edit]

Can someone clarify this sentence please - "As in George Orwell's 1984 and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, a dystopia does not pretend to be good, while an anti-utopia appears to be utopian or was intended to be so, but a fatal flaw or other factor has destroyed or twisted the intended utopian world or concept." Are we saying that in 1984 and Brave New World a dystopia is presented which "doesn't pretend to be good"? If we are I think that's incorrect, the two books have different plots. In 1984, the society is created for the good of an elite few, whilst in Brave New World there is a genuine attempt to create a utopia which becomes intolerable to an outsider (the savage). The society depicted in 1984 under this definition would be described as a dystopia whilst Brave New World's would be an anti-utopia. Is this what the sentence is intending to say? If so I think it needs to be reworded as it's quite ambiguous, I can only guess at it's meaning because I'm acquainted with the plots of the two novels, if I hadn't read either I would be pretty clueless. blankfrackis 22:14, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

For openers, as written it seems to have the usual meanings of "dys" and "anti" bass-ackwards. The prefix "dys" normally implies diseased or faulty, i.e., functioning other than as intended, while "anti" implies the opposite of. Thus, the Dantean Hell, designed to punish the sinful, would be an anti-utopia, while Huxley's "Brave New World" depicts a dystopia, where people are by and large happy, but only because they are feather-brained and lacking in individuality. (Alcuin518 (talk) 23:05, 29 May 2010 (UTC))

older entries[edit]

has anyone really thought about how much of that discription matches the ethics and moral values of the united states governement?(note the lack of capital lettering)i just wondered if im alone in this

Note on "a common view of traditional life, particularly organized religion, as primitive and nonsensical":

I do have to wonder if the religion bit is correct -- some works of fiction may work out like that, but I would say that a real dystopian and/or decadent government would actually run their own religion. The national religion would reward hard work and effort on the part of the masses, while telling the people their reward is in "heaven." The "opiate of the masses", as Karl Marx would say.

Note on etymology:.

Although I have heard a few claim, as this article does, that 'Utopia' is derived from 'eu' and 'topos,' it is far more commonly and logically held that it comes from 'ou' and 'topos,' thus meaning 'no place' rather than 'good place.' Even the Wikipedia article on 'Utopia' acknowledges both derivations. 'No place' is better because of the problem, outlined on this page, of deciding what society is truly ideal. I have only ever read one Utopia which claims straightforwardly to be ideal (Morris's excellent 'News From Nowhere'): most of the older major players (Utopia, New Atlantis, The Coming Race, Erewhon, Looking Backward, lots of Wells) contain societies that are clearly flawed, and would certainly consider themseles 'no places' rather than 'good places.' I would edit it in, but I'd prefer to see if anybody would argue the other way.

AJ, who doesn't yet have an account.

--I know I'm a nobody, but I read wikipedia voraciously. I just have to agree with this person above me on the point about the description sounding a lot like the U.S. However, it's so close that I kind of wonder if the author had it in mind while writing out the description. If not, well... that's scary.
--And-- Actually, Marx argued that we'd have to do away with religion specifically because of that. "Opiate of the masses" meant that people didn't rise up because their religion told them that it was good to be oppressed; their rewards shouldn't be sought in this life because they would be received in heaven.
Ashley, who is still working up the gutts (and education) to contribute meaninfully.-- 09:40, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Which is worse: the mind-controlling totalitarianism of Nineteen Eighty-Four, or the brute-force authoritarianism of The Domination? -- GCarty

Are cyberpunk novels, specifically Neuromancer, truly set in dystopian societies? I think it's arguable that they are not truly dystopian, but rather simply decadent. Any thoughts? --Dante Alighieri

I wouldn't call most of cyberpunk dystopian, either. I also object to the inclusion of Candide, which may be picaresque, but not dystopian. Nor do I consider all of J. G. Ballard's works dystopian. They often describe the end of civilization, or even mankind, but not a repressive society.

Interesting - I came here to comment because I didn't consider Ballard's The Wind [That Came?] From Nowhere to be a dystopia at all, but a disaster story. A story within a story describes an attempt to set up a society that will survive the disaster, but I don't see that developed in any distopian way. Perhaps I'll delete that entry. Or there may be a better Ballardian example. Notinasnaid 12:07, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I think there should be a section for dystopian plays, music, operas etc. Would they go under "literature"? I came to the page to list OK Computer as an example of dystopian music. — David Remahl 02:21, 29 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Plays could go under literature. For something like an opera or a rock album, I would create a new section describing what makes an album dystopian because that may not be immediately evident to everyone and then list examples.

Rorschach567 02:21, 29 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Regarding J.G. Ballard, his short stories "Billenium" and "Chronopolis" could be considered dystopian. Walkiped 18:55, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)


The sections on traits of dystopias and dystopian fiction horrify me: they badly need to be re-formatted into something more readable. The other sections need expansion and citations. G. C. Hood 22:24, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Can we revise the sections into something a tad more organized? A massive amount of unsorted bullets is very confusing and intimidating to say the least.Monkus2k 05:58, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

I took a crack at it, feel free to fiddle with it or revert if it doesn't work.Robogun 04:29, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

I don't want to outright remove something that could be made relevant to the topic, but in the Social Groups section it states "But compare Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale." This fragment suggests nothing and leaves the reader to wonder what the author means. If anyone can elaborate upon or clarify this, please do so, otherwise that portion of the article ought to be deleted. 4:23, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Dystopia in art vs. social criticism[edit]

It seems like Wayland's recent edit to the first paragraph (inserting, "In Post-Modern social critism the same term is used to describe our current post-industrial civilization with its wide divide between rich and poor and serious environmental problems") is out of place in the Dystopia article, as the rest of the article focuses on dystopia in art (literature, film, music). It also smacks of POV. Does the sentence belong in the article? And if so, can it be improved upon? - Walkiped 18:55, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I added More's Utopia and Plato's Republic to this list, because both are in fact descriptions of totalitarian states with eugenics programs, and oppressed minorities and women. Another editor reverted my comments, saying 'they are not recognized as being dystopias.' That does not change the fact that they describe nightmare societies.Pookleblinky 14:38, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The problem is, it does not matter whether YOU find the societies nightmarish or attractive, it's what the WRITER intends them to demonstrate. Both Plato and More intended the societies in their respctive works to be Utopias, not Dystopias, so it is nonsensical to put them under a dystopia header, even if to modern eyes both societies are repulsive. --Martin Wisse 15:01, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Hrmmn. By Martin's reasoning, Mein Kampf would be a utopia, no? (I recognize by mentioning this I may be invoking Godwin's Law, but please see Quirk's Exception.) Cheers, Madmagic 16:31, Dec 16, 2004 (UTC)

By your standards, ancient Athens would be dystopic - the women hardly left the house. But at the time it probably seemed more utopic, being the first true democracy. What counts as a dystopia to us wouldn't have at the time. On the other hand, 1984, Fahrenheit 451 and Perdido Street Station would probably be dystopia to almost any civilisation. The 'enlightened' Athenians would have hated the thought of book burning or total authoritarianism. Perhaps thats the sign of a true dystopia - one that in most places and times would be abhorred. If you start putting in things which were not intended as dystopias, you could end up with a much bigger list. If you are going to add them, perhaps you could create a sublist with the qualifier that they weren't intended as dystopias 10:33, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

A work would be utopian if it describes a society that the author regards to be ideal. In this category would be Plato's "Republic". If it is the author's intent to show the flaws the are likely to arise in such a scheme, then the work and the society that it depicts would be dystopian. Thus, Huxley's "Brave New World" would be well-described as a dystopia. Dante's "Hell" would be an anti-utopia, while his "Heaven" would be an utopia. (Alcuin518 (talk) 23:27, 29 May 2010 (UTC))

Just a book suggestion[edit]

Erehwon from Samuel Butler is a dystopy too, i think. Greetings, Bram.

You're right, it's one of the first. I'm adding it. - Walkiped 03:47, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)
From Erewhon, "Yet for all the failings of Erewhon it is also clearly not a dystopia". Given that, it would be contradictory to leave it here, so I will remove it. If the Erewhon article is wrong, that should be corrected first; there's enough confusion already about what is a dystopia... Notinasnaid 13:06, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

No intends to creat a dystopia but paradise or a compromise for the greater good. Therefore they cannot be classed by writers attention. Otherwise the same logic would extend to the intentions of the character within the tale who created the society. The readers own views must come into play.

added by some idiot: Do you ever wake up in a world where something wrong, but everyone denies it, says you're crazy, it's not true it can't be!! when i was kid i read a book called 'the sentinel computer' about a secret agent who kept on getting promoted and getting up higer in the hierachy, then finding out that he was actually working for a shadow government (of nazi's)the US president knew nothing of...(but worked for too)He played dumb and as if he wasn't against it so got even higher until he got to the top where he could destroy the regulating bio-computer. I cant remeber the name of the writer, but perhaps the original title was 'the quiller memorandum' which is also about a secret agent who finds out he's actually working for nazi's. then there's another book i read at least 15-20 years ago, which also has the dystopian concept of a single person in society waking up (by stopping to take the drugs everyone gets(like in equilibrium)) and fleeing to a forbidden city, where he discovers a library, where a worldmap is displayed, but at closer inspection, he discovers some places are patched with blue paper, and there are islands underneath. So he escapes to an island, but when he gets there , it's not only where other escapees live, but also the rulers of the world. al the escapees can live in luxury there as if they won a prize for finding out. but the main character (named "Li(long number i forgot)") plays to get friends with the ruler of the world, and when he gets the chance -destroys his underground computercomplex, afterwhich al cities cease to operate and people slooooowly awake /with alot of panic&rioting. i thought it was writtten by aldous huxley, but i can't find it anywhere so i guess someone else wrote it...

Hopefully not an idiot here:

Dystopias seem (to me) to have been explored much more in earlier Sci-Fi than there are currently. Not that I make the money to buy "real" books anymore ...

In Larry Nivens "Known Space" books (not a title, but used to distingush from his other works) his pre-Ringworld ARM (and the layer behind /that/ ...) is ... sinisterly benevolent? lol @ me :) Robert Heinlein's "If This Goes On--" (I think it's called, Google help me! Part of his Future History) a theocracy/dictator ruled an American dystopia; The Prism by Emil Petaja (an old old Ace Double, 1968) was very relevant at the time as social standing was based on skin color; Black and Brown held the menial jobs that were left while Gold ruled . . . Green and Blue were in between. The Prism sticks out as the protagonist was from 'outside' the heirarchy - he was bread (sic) as entertainment for the masses back home. Frank Herbert's Dune where the Merchant's Guild controlled the Spice (and longevity ...) Gordon R. Dickson's Dorsai! while more a military sci-fi fantasy hints intriguingly ... even Zelazny's Amber series which is man-vs-himself is dystopian - the characters can walk (or ride ... or drive, hang glide, fly ...) through "Shadow" to any reality they can - or can not - imagine. The only thing they cann't control is personality. One story I read that I remember neither the title nor the author of dealt with humanity discovering a way to put people in their own dream-come-true/fantasy dimension. It dealt more with the depopoulating effect than anything else. When I reach wa-a-y back to the early-mid '70s there was a sci-fi pulp mag that I got where at puberty you had to choose between immortality ... or creativness ... you could be immortal ... or have youe piccolo playing immortilized .... (demonstates a pitfall in sci-fi - I'm not about to Google piccolo)

Sorry for free associating there for a bit :) Dystopiaa is a new a fascinating concept to me! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:42, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Why books are in and out[edit]

I think there is a clear problem here: people disagree on what is meant by "dystopia". At one extreme, a dystopia is only a novel describing life under an authoritatian regime, intended to highlight current social trends. At another extreme, a dystopia is anything set in or suggesting an unpleasant future. And Candide doesn't belong in any of them, but that's another story...I think I will remove Candide right now.

Since the problem is one of definition, I suggest that this article focus on improving and focussing its definition. Perhaps all examples should be removed while that is going on. Then, given the definition, a rigorous test can be used.

Also, I think people really should stop adding every dystopia they can think of. It isn't a "List of dystopias", but should be a list of particularly good examples. I don't know if there is a category "Dystopia"? If there is, that can be used to automatically list all the members of the category, and this article should link to the category.

If that doesn't work, how about a separate list in the article of "Distputed dystopias". Notinasnaid 21:14, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

No, dystopia isn't a type of novel. It's a type of society used in fiction or hypothetical settings. Thetrellan (talk) 23:11, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

I have removed Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon". I didn't remember it as being dystopian, and I've reread the lyrics [1] and see no evidence of this at all. It seems to be about the pressures of everyday life, mortality, madness and individuality. Is this an example of "it's bleak so it must be a dystopia"? I don't know the Wall, but is it really dystopian? Isn't the oppression it records that of contemporary life? I am also suspicious that the The Wall makes no use of the term. But I will leave The Wall for now. Comments? Notinasnaid 12:13, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)

To be considered dystopian fiction, I think a work must feature: A) A condition of life that the author portrays as bad or at least worthy of severe criticism B) A government that creates or sustains this condition of life C) A fictional society, thus One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich or The Jungle would not apply

I have not read, seen or listened to every example listed but these current or past examples are ones I consider suspect:

  • The Republic by Plato: Although most modern readers would consider this society as bad and it has many of the “common traits,” The author did not portray the society as bad, but explicitly as “just.”
  • The Terminator films: I would delete these for two reasons: 1) the robot army of the future portrayed in this movie is not really a government. It does not try to control humans but destroy them. 2) A majority of the screen time of any of these films portrays the contemporary U.S. and not any future.
  • The Wall: Although it portrays a bad condition of life, the extent to which a government sustains this quality of life is limited to a few songs about the British educational system and the prospect of nuclear war. Also, I don’t think is society portrayed in the film is fictional but a cartoon-ish portrayal of contemporary life.
  • Dark Side of the Moon and Unknown Pleasure, there is little about these two albums that either explicitly or implicitly concerns a government or a fictional society.

--Rorschach567 19:06, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)

In the absence of any comments, I will remove "The Wall by the British band Pink Floyd and its film adaptation are considered by many to be the epitome of dystopian music." See above Notinasnaid 17:54, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)

If you want an example of dystopian music by Pink Floyd, you'd do better to use "Wish You Were Here". The entire album. Welcome to Machine, folks. It's all right, we've told you what to dream. Thetrellan (talk) 23:16, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

A proposal: remove the lists of books and films[edit]

To me, the lists seem a problem. It seems that anyone who has read a dystopian novel or seen a dystopian film rushes to add it to the list in this article. Clearly it isn't sustainable to list every work, yet the criteria for inclusion are otherwise likely to be rather arbitrary. (I have tended to remove any item that has no entry of its own, for instance, as it doesn't sound very notable).

This also means that the question of whether a work really is dystopian can be reviewed by the people editing the article about that work, rather than the people who edit the dystopia category would might not have seen the work.

Given that Wikipedia seems slowly to be going from lists to categories, which are easier to maintain and work well with longer lists, I propose dropping these lists completely, instead only referring to the categories. Of course the most noteworthy examples would be mentioned in the article text anyway.

I propose as a first stage removing all entries which are already in a suitable category. After that, discussion can resume here about the remaining entries: whether they need a category, or whether they aren't really notable.

Perhaps games and music could also be turned into article sections.

Feedback? Notinasnaid 09:59, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

Move the lists out of the article, but create separate list articles to hold them. Categories are not a complete replacement for lists: consider, for example, that lists can hold more structured information than merely a link; and lists can also hold links to articles which do not yet exist. -- The Anome 10:06, May 17, 2005 (UTC)

Acceptable as long as a link to the more comprehensive list is put here for those doing research. Thetrellan (talk) 23:19, 29 September 2014 (UTC)


I provisionally deleted an addition to the alternative words for dystopia. The addition was "dino-topia". All I can find on the web is a series of books and movie called Dinotopia (cf If this is used as a real alternative for Dystopia, it seems obscure. Can anyone provide a reference? Notinasnaid 07:50, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)

new thought: has anyone really thought about how much of that discription matches the ethics and moral values of the united states governement?(note the lack of capital lettering)i just wondered if im alone in this

No, I agree with you wholeheartedly, it does remind me of the years of having a state-comdemned enemy, you know, the communists/terrorists/socialists/anarchists ~~paul

I recently edited an article on an apocalyptic novel titled 'Children of the Dust' that contained a quote referring to humanity as "dinosaurs in bunkers" i have no idea if this is applicable to your question, but it may be a reference ~~tom

The United States?[edit]

I would like to discuss why the US is in the "see also" section. It seems to me that this link is blatently politically motivated as it is not really supported directly by the article. Granted, I don't like my nation's government either, but it is hardly dystopian. Then again, to be fair, if someone has a valid reason for why the link is there (that I totally missed), or perhaps we could add a section about real dystopian nations (throughout history, NPOV) then I wouldn't have a problem at all. I just consider it a bit offensive and unfounded, but I wanted to ask before I changed anything.--Jt 14:23, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

I wouldn't hesitate to remove it. It is the only edit by an unregistered user, and they didn't justify it in their edit summary. Just a bit of "hit and run" mischief, is the impression one gets, though of course I may be proved wrong if the poster comes back with well reasoned justification here in the talk page. Well, with such a controversial edit, it has to be justification first, edit second... Notinasnaid 16:22, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

the word Dystopia when speaking of reality, instead of fiction, for the word to have a meaning we must have an example, so if we look at the present and history, we can find a number of system that people feel are not ideal. Today, with media, it is possible to broadcast the good of a country, fictional or not, hiding the rot such as a perfume. I feel it is fair to say that the U.S. government can be considered a Dystopia, or at least, in some aspects. And perhaps, it is heading in the direction of a conspicuous Dystopia.

The Dystopia article says:

"A dystopian society usually exhibits at least one of the following traits from the following non-exhaustive list."

I believe the U.S. follows too many of the traits mentioned.

Of course, this word is not one written in stone. An indefinite word such as this is bound to bring uncertainty, and Wikipedia is not about opinions but rather about fact. But since this word does not hold many facts, I think the article could give examples that link reality to the idea of Dystopia.

Sorry if I did not post as a direct reply, I'm unfamiliar with the system. --SkippyCheval 22:32, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

  • I have no opinion on the question, but a point on whether things belong in the article: Wikipedia doesn't exactly deal only with facts. If it did, there would be many articles that didn't belong at all. Wikipedia deals with verifiable sources.

What that means for this article is that if one wrote "I think that the US is..." that has to be deleted. And if what you write amounts to the same thing, then that has to be deleted too - i.e. if it is a speculation, or something you've noticed, or firmly believe, or even know to be a fact, it doesn't belong.

The article should be about what can be verified: in this case, not as a fact, but as something recognised by people who study or write in this area. If you could find a respected source you could certainly write "[name of source] writes in his book, [name of book], that the US is ...". To be fully accepted it would need to be a person writing acadmically about Dystopias rather than just writing about something else who pulled in this thought. It may take a while to find a suitable place in the article for this, but it would probably belong.

But please don't try too hard. I don't think it would add much to the article, and it would mean that that one sentence became a focus for debate, deletion, restoration etc; to the detriment of the rest of the article, which as an article about literature has much to commend it but much scope for improvement.

By the way, you might say that the rest of the article doesn't quote sources, and you would be right. Very few articles do follow Wikipedia guidelines. But for controversial points, the full letter of the law will get invoked. Notinasnaid 07:47, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

Odd that anyone would consider the US a dystopia, when our immigrant population is at a ninety year high ( It seems that the rest of the world is trying to get into the US, so they must not think we are a dystopia. 19:45, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Although I don't think too highly of the US atm, it is no where near a classic dystopia. The best real world example of a dystopia to my mind was Pol Pot's reign in Cambodia. North Korea is a more fitting current day example 10:01, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

I think it is safe to say that the United States of America is not a dystopian society. The issues that exist with the aforementioned terrorists are real, and aren't faked. It's absurd to think that a country would go to such extents to falsify something that was already a problem before the current (15/4/06 (DD/MM/YY)) administration. I definately don't like the current administration, either, but quite frankly, anyone who felt that the United States was a dystopian society has had to have been Kitten Huffing.

Word having meaning[edit]

If we are to use the word Dystopia when speaking of reality, instead of fiction, for the word to have a meaning we must have an example... Does the word Utopia have meaning? If not counting a non-evolutionary beginning to the human race in pre-historical times (not the subject here, though), it has never once existed. The word, though, has a definition. Or, if the word is still translated as "no-place," does that mean that Orwellian fiction describes a Utopia just as much as Thomas Mann's work? Food for thought. --Chr.K. 11:41, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

It means therefore that a utopia is an inherently fictional or hypothetical concept. By extension that would mean that so is a dystopia. Thetrellan (talk) 23:25, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

added by some idiot:

To find verfiable facts bittorrent for the 'openyour eyes dvd'-s 0-10 they contain alot of verifiable facts like that the bush empire funded hitler to start the nsdap; what the skull'nbones society at yale university demands of it's members (like bush clinton,kerry and alot of other former presidents)

also found on wikipedia: former cia agents & directors (bush ,cheney other whitehouse staff) 

the existence of the MKULTRA mindcontrol program is verifiable, on openyour eyes dvd 6'chemtrails' a researcher states that by law number*something* the army is allowed to experiment bio-warfare on unknowing citizens.and DOES. you can video-google for 'Tesla' and find out we dont need wires to our homes for energy. Tesla invented things edison marconi and rontgen recieve credit for, but he was to busy inventing bigga fastabetta more! like wireless transmission of power, until J.P.Morgan figured he couldn't charge money for energy from the sky, so funding stopped and the finished broadcasting-tower dismanteled. 'UNITED STATES' is legally different from 'United States',the declaration of independance publicly known is with only 2 capitals, and says'people by'-the United States, the original declaration in the hidden safe says'people of'-the UNITED STATES, which might imply all citizens to be the property of the cooperation UNITED STATES- referred to on the back of the dollar bill which has 'our cooperation is a succes' in Latin above the pyramid under the all capital 'UNITED STATES'.

a conspiracy is where there's NO EVIDENCE, but in the US people simply refuse to recognize and/or acknowledge any evidence. because of that, anything that doesn't reach the big news-networks, isn't concidered true. But MKultra controlls the big TV networks, as do bush's familymembers. so if some gullible person reading this start panicking, they don't break a sweat, nor will 'they' take the trouble of hunting me down.I knew too much when I was a kid.I think for myself, using deduction & (un?)reason-ability. there's lots more and if u see enough it all starts to make sence it all ties together:without the elite also playing a bad guy role, humanity would still be in the middle ages, mankind needs the fear as a motivation to do something against it, but the elite is a quantum leap ahead of both science, crime, and religion controlling all like puppets and leaving obvious mistakes for us to wonder/quarrel about, starting fires that'll statistically happen anyway leading crime that'll happen anyway,all to make us find a way way to wake our ignorant selves and neighbours, so the average humanity may one day (2012?) earn the ability to take charge of their own destiny like god's children maturing, like our shadowy governing bodies have been for thousands of years. really: the utmost evil is such a masochist it simply has to destoy itself, so dont worry. the only real enemies of mankind are ignorance and stupidity.

NPOV tag[edit]

A tag has been added to the article indicating an NPOV violation, and referring to the talk page. But nothing has been added to the talk page about it. So I suspect the tag should be simply removed, whether or not there is a problem with the article. Perhaps the original editor could add a note about what they see as the problem. I will look into whether the tag should be removed. Notinasnaid 18:25, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

i think the comment abt the communist and socialist economic impracticality is a violation of NPOV sidmohata

  • I'm not really happy with the section on "Criticism of the concept of dystopias" but the point is that it is writing about what writers, including a named one have said. So, to balance it, it's no good trying to change what those writers said; you'd have to find what other writers have said. Unless the writers are of no real significance; I see dystopia as a literary concept rather than a real one. If that is the only NPOV criticism I think the tag has to be removed. Notinasnaid 17:43, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Ok, no takers? I will remove the tag. Notinasnaid 09:14, 2 March 2006 (UTC)


I don't think that America in itself is a dystopia yet, though I think it is getting uncomfortably close, what with the USA PARIOT Act (WHAT IS WITH THIS TAG?!?) and repeated statements about a terrorist act in the works, all seem to be for making people afraid. I am currenly working on a novel that I consider a minor dystopia set in the year 2013 right after another terrorist attack, it is the first in a trilogy I plan on calling the Dystopian creation series which would end with rioting and then a 1984-esque USA. Also on this subject: a dystopia is what one believes it to be, right? So even if, say, you consider fahrenheit 451 dystopic others might consider it utopic (I did some analysis of that for an essay for my college class), I also consider any dictatorship dystopic just so you know my view of the issues. Acebrock (no account, still) -- 17:57, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

The definition for dystopia is complex and confusing. I believe all dystopias are simply utopias that missed the mark to some degree. No one in their right mind deliberatly creates a dystopia (except 1984). They fail because dystopias believe suffering a little loss to gain a utopia will work, but all it creates is a death spiral. Most utopias, in some form seek life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness (lock said property) for all its members. Most dystopias will try to screw up one of following three important freedoms: freedom to fairly chose, the freedom to fairly aquire, and the freedom to keep that which was fairly earned. This covers both ideas and items.
If the Religious Right is emboldened by the passage of a Constitutional Amendment, God save us all. People really ought to browse and checkout some of the "proposed" Constitutional Amendments being offered by the unabashed theocons in each body. Amongst other things, there a real doozy which abolishes the Supreme Court. Another would forbid protests against the government. Another which would allow the censorship of anything which is deemed inappropriate by the Congress. Another declares the US a Christian nation. Did I mention one which would allow execution of children as young as 8? There are some real wackos in Congress. Thank God for the people on Flight 93, I sometimes wonder what kind of goverment would have emerged had nearly every member of the congress been killed on 9-11. I'm telling you, is ripe with source material for the perfect dystopian USA. --Dragon695 05:09, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Well, that's all very well and scary, I'm sure, but Congress can't just wave a magic wand and pass and ammend the Constitution. It's an extremely difficult process, so whatever someone puts forth as a "proposed ammendment" makes no real difference at all.CharlesMartel (talk) 14:22, 28 June 2008 (UTC)CharlesMartel


This article badly needs some images. I've put in some book covers, but that's just an initial idea. There might be better ways to liven up the page. But something is needed. I think some rewriting is needed, too. No offence, but it's a bit too much of a long list of characteristics right now. I don't want to kind of go berserk, but I'd be tempted to hack this around a bit if I get some time. Metamagician3000 13:39, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

If you can find an image of what a dystopia looks like the nyou're way ahead of me. I'm still looking for on for my novel's cover.--Acebrock 21:00, 2 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes, well this article is mainly about a narrative form, including its formal characteristics, history, social significance and impact, main practitioners, etc. I can imagine that there would be many relevant illustrations as the article develops. Book covers of works by Huxley, Orwell, Zamiatin etc are the obvious illustrations. But we could use evocative scenes from dystopian movies, for example. Metamagician3000 23:41, 2 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes but how about something that is actually available rather than someone else's copyright... there is a problem in Wikipedia that many people assume that articles can and should be illustrated and that therefore there will be suitable images available on Wikipedia's terms. (Wikipedia's current views on Fair Use would not seem to support this kind of use, it seems to me). In fact, most articles will forver be unillustrated for this reason. I also disagree with the idea that dystopia needs vaguely related illustrations to make it a better article: we are not writing a coffee table book. I think illustrations only belong where there is a strong direct need for the picture. I accept I'm in a minority here, there seems to be a general desire to pretty up articles and I fully expect we will see custom wallpapers in each article one day. But to summarise my view: I strongly disagree that "this article badly needs some images", and vote for their removal. Notinasnaid 08:04, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

I don't see how what problem there could be with fair use of the covers of books that are actually discussed - or even of scenes from movies that are actually discussed, if the images chosen relate to the aspects under discussion. Please explain the legal difficulty. Your other point is more a matter of taste, on which reasonable people may differ. Metamagician3000 02:16, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

  • I take Template:Book_cover's statement: "It is believed that the use of low-resolution images of book covers to illustrate an article discussing the book in question" to mean an article specific to that book. Perhaps that is being unnecessarily restrictive, but I do think great care is needed here. Could I publish a commercial book reproducing book covers, without credit, on the strength of a paragraph about each book? I doubt it.
  • You are absolutely right that it is (at least partly) a matter of taste whether to include illustrations. That doesn't mean it isn't a valid subject for discussion, consensus reaching, etc. So far, we seem to have one strongly for, one strongly against, and one mildy against (perhaps my interpretation). Notinasnaid 10:08, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
  • I've looked at Wikipedia:Choosing_appropriate_illustrations and to my mind it supports my assertion that an illustration should illustrate something, rather than be decorative. By no stretch of the imagination (so I assert) do the book covers convey any more meaning about the literary concept of dystopia, nor can I imagine any illustration that does. Notinasnaid 10:17, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
Your interpretation is indeed unnecessarily restrictive, IMHO, since an article like this necessarily "discusses" books like Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World, etc. Each of these is a "book in question" (and this is not some extreme situation such as you describe). The statement you quoted actually envisages that book covers will be used to illustrate articles that discuss books. I don't see how it can be restricted to articles that discuss just one book.
But, look, I'll remove them, then, since you feel strongly about it. I have no wish to cause any upset here. I just want this article to be as good as it can be. The illustrations idea was one suggestion for making the article more appealing, but you're right that no one else involved with this particular article seems to be in favour of it ... so I won't press the point. It's not useful for me to try to do something that I'm not actually all that good at (choosing and deploying illustrations, etc.) and which no one else wants. :) Metamagician3000 14:42, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
And it did look visually better, too. But we differ on the desirability. Thank you for your graceful participation in the discussion; I really hope for some more people to add to the discussion. I mentioned it on the talk page of a possibly relevant image policy page, maybe we will hear more. Obviously, a lot of pages are possibly affected, and there may be many who feel like you do, or as I do. Notinasnaid 18:20, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

The Utopia page is currently using the Eden side of the Garden of Earthly Delights, perhaps the other side would work well here? (talk) 04:42, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

Spoiler warning[edit]

Would anyone object to adding the {{spoiler}} template to the Traits of dystopian fiction section? Some of the bullets give away the endings of novels suchs as Nineteen Eighty Four and Brave New World. --JerryOrr 14:16, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Since I received no objections, I added the spoiler warning. --JerryOrr 17:15, 14 April 2006 (UTC)


Democracy and privatization are not antonyms. The democracy section should not have been removed.Goldfritha 00:42, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

subjective in nature[edit]

One man's Dystopia is another man's Utopia and vice versa. 19:13, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Common Traits of Dystopian Societies[edit]

The Common Traits of Dystopian Societies list could use more sources, preferably at least one reference per trait. They are, after all, supposed to be examples from fiction. Shouldn't be too hard to tell where the example was used. -- 02:33, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

Also, there is a contradiction between the last trait listed, and the paragraph that follows.

"* An overall slow decay of all systems (political, economic, religion, infrastructure. . .), resulting from people being alienated from nature, the State, society, family, and themselves. Yesterday was better, tomorrow will be worse."
"In dystopian societies, the economic system centers on stability and is structured so that the government or the economic system is immune to change or disruption."

-- 02:33, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

Are you saying that stability is inherently a good thing? So an oppressive system that is nonetheless immune to change is a good thing? I don't think that sounds contradictory, but I could be wrong... -- 09:39, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Indefinite Types of Dystopian Enviorments[edit]

I think a corporate enviorment can be changed into a dystopian enviorment simply by having mean coworkers. That might not follow the rules of a dystopian catagory but it can easily fit into the discourteous characteristic that the modern dystopia is having.

I also think that a dystopian enviorment can be when someone or a group of people are being branded but in a bad way. Example: The Island. That's a movie when multiple people are being known by a code. They are being raised only to be killed. If you don't think that is a dystopian setting then I don't know what you think it is.

Do you have a source for these assertions? Notinasnaid 10:53, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

"arc" typo[edit]

The article contains this sentence: "This narrative arc to a sense of hopelessness in such classic dystopian works as Nineteen Eighty-Four."

The word "arc" in that sentence is obviously incorrect. Any ideas as to what it ought to be? Wideangle 23:22, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

The reason you don't know what it "ought to be" is because you didn't even bother to search for "narrative arc" - it's a common phrase used to describe elements of a story. What's actually wrong with the sentence is that it is actually a sentence fragment lacking a verb. A possible emendation is as follows:

"This narrative arc to a sense of hopelessness can be found in such classic dystopian works as Nineteen Eighty-Four." You could probably do better than my example, which is why I haven't put it into the article. dreddnott 02:55, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

I added the verb to the sentence. But -- does it mean the same thing as "character arc"? or not? If so, we should change, and link, it; if not, we could use an article on "narrative arc". Goldfritha 03:34, 5 November 2006 (UTC)


An editor deleted an item on the list of "Common traits of a dystopian society" because it had no examples of the case. Several of the existing items had no examples until I provided them. I do not think this is a valid reason for deletion unless some effort has been made to find an example. Goldfritha 03:29, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Also, there were other items without examples that went undeleted. If there is any reason why that one is so urgent, it should have been put on the discussion page. Goldfritha 03:36, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

1984/Ninteen Eighty-Four[edit]

The title of the book is written out in both forms; I don't know which is considerd correct, having never read the book (although now I'm intrested in taking a look), but shouldn't it be consistant through the article? Alanahikarichan 16:54, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

    • The original first edition has Nineteen-Eighty-Four superimposed in white over a paleish green 1984. My signet classic centennial

edition, along with most contemporary printings that I've seen, has the title as 1984 --Rtkwe 01:59, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

criticisms and validity: A catagorical inquiry[edit]

I am wondering if it is really appropriate to give criticisms of dystopias as real possibilities after dystopian literature, especially since there are those who have proposed political policies that many would consider dystopian B.F. Skinner's Beyond Freedom and Dignity, comes emmediately to mind. Criticisms of real dystopias and dystopian proposals perhaps belong with real dystopian proposals, since they do not comment on the merrit of the writings. Comments very appreciated —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Thaddeus Slamp (talkcontribs) 04:33, 28 February 2007 (UTC).Thaddeus Slamp 04:40, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Removed POV additions[edit]

I have removed a couple of recent additions which contain a strong POV. Samples: "However, dystopic regimes such as the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China and North Korea have survived" [2]; "On the other hand, the dystopian Soviet Union lasted for more than 70 years, the People's Republic of China with many distopian characteristic remains powerful and the certainly dystopian North Korean Government remains in power despite worldwide opprobrium." [3]. It seems to be that this article cannot possibly present as fact that any particular state is dystopian, because there would not be universal agreement on this, any more than on the idea that the modern USA is a dystopia (see #U.S.A.=Dystopia? above). What the article can of course present is a reliable source saying this in a relevant context. However recent edits, not only did not add a source, they changed a single named source (not properly cited, but named), by adding "and others", for which see Wikipedia:Weasel words.

Overall it might be time to start removing the bits of this article without citations altogether. Notinasnaid 12:10, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Following recent edits I see I reverted "and others" into, rather than out of, the article. Apologies. Notinasnaid 20:27, 12 March 2007 (UTC)


The section "Common traits of the dystopian society" is ridiculous. Starting with the assertion that "Many dystopias exhibit, in some form, a societal, political, economical or religious trait that can be held as “common” in relation to other texts of dystopian fiction to provide a reader a basis for comparison." which does not make sense, and continuing with "The dystopian society, found in fictional and artistic works, can be described as a utopian society with at least one fatal flaw." when there are many, many, many dystopias that can not be described as utopias with flaws. 1984, for instance, or Anthem.

The chief problem is that it treats the traits as if they were common to the works, as opposed to traits that are commonly found in dystopias.

I am starting to revise. Goldfritha 00:40, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Also, many common traits of dystopias got dumped when the article was revised. I am restoring. Goldfritha 01:00, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Children of Men?[edit]

Would Children of Men be an example of a dystopia? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by TheGamerDude (talkcontribs) 22:39, 5 May 2007 (UTC).

I think of Children of Men to be all too soon & sudden of an occurrence, not a human development into a malarchic society so much. I suppose some of the counter measures used by the government in the movie could be considered dystopian, it seems para-apocalyptic if that makes any sense (not necessarily post-, but in the "process of" while the events starting said "apocalypse" have already transpired). 22:44, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Opinions don't matter: references do. Is there a reliable source (e.g. academic journal) saying it is dystopian? If so, we should report it. If not, we should remove it. Editors should not be trying to make these decisions by analysis and discussion, interesting as it is. Notinasnaid 09:36, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

A Clockwork Orange[edit]

Pretty surprised that this isn't in the article (even though Burgess is quoted towards the end). This and 1984 are pretty much the two examples that come to mind in literature / film. - 14:50, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

What do you mean? The influence of an government? Mallerd 15:06, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

Anti-Utopia vs Dystopia[edit]

Oceania in Nineteen Eighty-Four and the OneState in We didn't project a facade of being "good"? Really? In whose interpretation? ~ Switch () 09:44, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

origin of word[edit]

The first known use of the term dystopia appeared in a speech before the British Parliament by Greg Webber and John Stuart Mill[3] in 1868. In that speech, Mill said, "It is, perhaps, too complimentary to call them Utopians, they ought rather to be called dys-topians, or caco-topians. What is commonly called Utopian is something too good to be practicable; but what they appear to favour is too bad to be practicable."[4] His knowledge of Greek suggests that he was referring to a bad place, rather than simply the opposite of Utopia. The Greek prefix "dys" ("δυσ-") signifies "ill", "bad" or "abnormal"; Greek "topos" ("τόπος") meaning "place"; and Greek "ou-" ("ου") meaning "not". Thus, Utopia means "nowhere", and is a pun on "Eutopia" meaning "happy place" - the prefix "eu" means "well," or "good."

Man, those last 2 sentences, someone with enough knowledge about English clarify this please? I understood it after reading 2 times, the structure of the sentences is not really logical. Mallerd 15:05, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

Let me try:Puckslider (talk) 04:18, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

Dystopia was reportedly first used by Greg Webber and John Stuart Mill[3] before the British Parliament in 1868, where they said: "It is, perhaps, too complimentary to call them Utopians, they ought rather to be called dys-topians, or caco-topians. What is commonly called Utopian is something too good to be practicable; but what they appear to favour is too bad to be practicable."[4] Mill's extensive knowledge of Greek suggests to us that he was referring to a bad place, rather than the inverse of Utopia. The Greek prefix "dys" ("δυσ-") signifies "ill", "bad" or "abnormal"; Greek "topos" ("τόπος") meaning "place"; and Greek "ou-" ("ου") meaning "not". Thus, Utopia means "nowhere", and is a pun on "Eutopia" meaning "happy place" - the prefix "eu" meaning "well," or "good."

I find the entire paragraph (first version) to be erudite, easily understandable, and totally logical. I took a whack at editing it - and I see no material improvement from my efforts. The event wherein Mill coins this new word (it's only 143 years old) is obviously significant: as is the observation that the word Utopia itself is a word play - a pun. As both Utopia and Dystopia are words, I think that we may need more of an OED approach to this article. Usage will ultimately determine the meaning.

But . . . : we are trapped in a thicket here. And we need a really good senior editor to help us work out of this situation. I wish I were the guy! But I am bothered by Mr. Wales' flagging elements of the article as "original research". I really don't think that's the way to mark up this article on Dystopia. Taken as a whole, the article is an excellent first stab at what will take several years to get right. But Mr. Wales likes to suspend people who want to work too hard on getting articles factually correct. In that sense, Mr. Wales reminds us of the sort of "leaders" one finds in Dystopic literature: a little bit of a tyrant. I am happy to discuss this with Mr. Wales whenever he'd like. He has my e-mail.Puckslider (talk) 04:16, 9 October 2011 (UTC)


I've done a little research into dystopias and, while a number of dystopias do include "oppressive social control," I've yet to run into anything that suggests they have to. For example, Lyman Tower Sargent, in his essay "The Three Faces of Utopianism Revisited," defines a dystopia as "a non-existent society described in considerable detail and normally located in space and time that the author intended a contemporaneous reader to view as considerably worse than the society in which the reader lived" (9). So, for example, Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler is about a lack of social control (crime and capitalism run amok while the government is ineffective) but it is a dystopia nonetheless.

Also, an anti-utopia is typically described as a work of fiction intended to demonstrate utopia is impossible or otherwise criticizes utopianism. So, while We by Yevgeny Zamyatin is a dystopia that purports to be a utopia, there is still hope for a better society outside the walls of the city and in the resistence, so it isn't necessarily an anti-utopia. 02:59, 24 October 2007 (UTC)


isn't it supposed to be "eutopia"?

No. Utopia refers to any visionary system of political or social perfection. It mostly talks about the idea of it. Eutopia refers to it actually being perfect. The two words are not synonymous. Dystopia is the opposite or eutopia, but a result/type of utopia.

So ins't this article incorrect when it states numerously in the introduction that dystopia is the opposite of utopia? Dystopia is the opposite of Eutopia, meaning a perfect land, whilst both of which can be Utopias, meaning a non-existent land. I think the introduction of the article is misleading in this sense. ArdClose (talk) 15:00, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
In common usage the term "eutopia" is virtually unknown. For all practical purposes, utopia is synonymous with the definition given above for eutopia. olderwiser 15:16, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Whilst that's true, it's not as clear in this article as it is in the Utopia article. But I guess it'll do ArdClose (talk) 15:25, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
But what about the difference between 'dystopia' and 'anti-utopia'? The statement in the introduction seems . . . backward. (talk) 10:45, 22 May 2009 (UTC)


The word anarchy used in first sentences suggests that this concept (anarchy) was somehow defined as "nightmare thing", by the person who released the original concept of "dystopia". However this statement about anarchy from first sentences is subsubjective. The article needs a history showing: who used term - "dystopia" in widely known texts or descriptions, as this word can by formed by different people independently, to describe different situations. Previous part of this discussion has some origins of such history. Anarchy for anarchists can mean "utopia".

Feature Time Again?[edit]

Personally I believe its a well-written article, with numerous good references to numerous forms of media which depict said dystopian societies. I'm unsure about having 'Fable' as a related link, as not all of these stories have a moral sort of aim. However, all in all, most of the disputes over the content of this come from people who, it appears, have failed to either pick up on the definition of 'dystopia', are thinking too far outside the box ('dystopias in today's world'? Please!) and fail to realise its importance as a literary technique, or have simply ignored anything actually in the article. This is not a nomination, just a suggestion. Melaisis (talk) 18:29, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Does it have to be a failed utopia?[edit]

It says, a dystopia does not pretend to be utopian, while an anti-utopia appears to be utopian or was intended to be so, but a fatal flaw or other factor has destroyed or twisted the intended utopian world or concept. What if it doesn't strive to be utopian in the classic sense and doesn't appear to be utopian, but claims to be utopian? In otherwords, a hellwhole that declares itself to be the ideal despite prevelant miserey? - (talk) 13:07, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

I wonder if the words "dystopia" and "anti-utopia" may have been interchanged above. The prefix "dys" denotes diseased or faulty, while the prefix "anti" denotes against or the opposite of. Thus, it would be natural to regard an anti-utopia as being a situation designed to be the opposite what a utopia is, an example perhaps being Hell (whether whole or partial), while the word dystopia would seem to be a compact way to denote a dysfunctional utopia, i.e., a utopia with one or more fatal flaws that prevents it from achieving its intended goodness. (Alcuin518 (talk) 22:45, 29 May 2010 (UTC))

I'm inclined to agree. If a dystopia is a particularly bad environment ('as bad as it can possibly be' to quote a dictionary I referenced) then much of what is presented as dystopic in art and literature doesn't fit that mould. So what is the correct word for a society which, without being unremittingly horrible, hasn't turned out as well as its movers and shakers hoped?
More to the point, I believe the word is used much more broadly than the dictionary (or WP's) definition implies. Brave New World depicts a society the idea of which Huxley found revolting, but in which the majority are happy. It certainly isn't 'as bad as it could possibly be', though it's culturally-shallow, and might not be sustainable.
I'd suggest, therefore that the article should make the point that the term is in practice not used only for ghastly, evil, societies, in spite of its dictionary definition. This is what encyclopedias, as opposed to dictionaries, do.
I won't get into anti-utopias, other than to say that it's not a phrase I've ever heard or seen used, outside WP. Chrismorey (talk) 06:01, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

A list of dystopias[edit]

I just removed the following passage from Lower Slobbovia, where it was irrelevant cruft:

Capp's fictional creations, Dogpatch and Lower Slobbovia, are examples of contemporary dystopias in popular culture. Other imaginary nations of dystopian satire include:
Paradiso in Why Worry? (1923), Klopstokia in Million Dollar Legs (1932), Freedonia in Duck Soup (1933), Tomainia and Bacteria in The Great Dictator (1940), Moronica in You Nazty Spy and I'll Never Heil Again (1940 and 1941), Vulgaria in Don’t Drink The Water (1969), San Marcos in Bananas (1971), Ignoramia in the Lair Of The Lummox episode from The Ren & Stimpy Show (1994), and Kazakhstan in Borat (2006). (Although Kazakhstan actually exists, the burlesque version created by comic Sacha Baron Cohen is wholly imaginary.)

But I thought that some of it might have some value elsewhere, so I'm posting it here. There does not seem to be a List of dystopias article. -- Dominus (talk) 16:19, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Excessive Capitalism?[edit]

In the section on the politics of a Dystopia it refers to a capitalistic dystopia as using excessive capitalism, while it only uses the term socialism to discribe a socialistic dystopia. Do not all dystopias come from the abuse, or excess of a political (or economic) system, so should not socialism be changed to excessive socialism, or excessive capitalism be changed to just capitalism? --Reflections of Memory (talk) 01:23, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

I reacted to the same thing. I also wonder why liberalism isn't mentioned. If "excessive" capitalism can be considered a dystopia (which I think it can), then (neo)liberalism, which might very well be the ideological basis for the "excessive" capitalistic society should also be a candidate for dystopian settings. Alltogether, this stinks of POW.

Since it would be kind of ridiculous to talk about "excessive fascism" I would like to sugest that the excessive in front of capitalism simply be dropped and that liberalism be added as a political system (or rather ideology) which can be portrayed as being dystopian. Fredriktomte (talk) 03:54, 14 February 2009 (UTC)


Houston is "Energy" (Enron) - I can't think of a more appropriate way to capture the dystopian flirtation with hypercapitalism from the 1980s, but it's not mention as one of the dystopian genres (corporate society, where the government does nothing and allows the corporations to call the shots... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 06:45, 22 May 2009

I strongly feel that Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" should also be included in the examples for Dystopian novels. It rightly deserves a mention. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:54, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

No original research, missing citations[edit]

This article suffers from lack of citations and use of verifiable references throughout; the templates indicate that. The warning against "original research" was placed on this article by (an)other editor(s) some time ago, and it still pertains. There may be plagiarism in this article. Given its current form, it is hard to tell which statements come from which particular sources (cited elsewhere in the article) and which statements are the undocumented opinions of previous editors. The article does not meet the basic requirements of Wikipedia editing policies: please see them as referenced in templates throughout the article and talk page. Editors who contributed material without documenting it need to return to provide their sources in citations. Thank you. --NYScholar (talk) 18:51, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Throughout: In many cases where examples from fictional works are given (by editors of this article), these editors need to provide page references to particular editions of the works and/or to secondary sources giving the examples. --NYScholar (talk) 22:18, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

Citation needed?[edit]

The statement "Dystopias share the negative characteristic of being undesirable societies" does not seem to me to need a citation because it is axiomatic by the definition of dystopia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:05, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Distinctions between utopia, dystopia, and anti-utopia[edit]

This section cites Mary Snodgrass as it's authority to draw these distinctions. I have heard many of what would be called anti-utopias by this description called dystopian. Clicking on Mary Snodgrass wikipedia link, it says just that she is a [prolific] author and lists her books. Being a prolific author doesn't make you a global authority on defining words and I question this distinction and her authority to make it. If this was really true the citation would be citing dictionaries not some favorite author of theirs and I think it should be removed (or cite proper authorities on word definitions) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:22, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

I don't find her to be authoritative at all, and for antiutopia links directly to dystopia. I've kept the section in, but edited the heading to make it a comparison between utopia and dystopia and removed the second paragraph with Mary Snodgrass's unauthoritative redefinition.-- (talk) 05:40, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Having now read the concerns here I am on the fence about deleting the Snodgrass, but perhaps the wording just requires tweaking. I do not see how we can use delete the reference unless we know the book referenced does not actually say what it claimed. The distinction does seem valid on its face, even if in everyday speech we do not draw the distinction, right? noncompliant_one (talk) 06:29, 16 November 2009 (UTC)


That paragraph suspiciously starts prattling on about Utopia's in an article about Dystopia's. Without a copy of the book to check in I cannot say if it was a mistake, but it looks like "utopia", right before the dubious tag there should be "dystopia". Either the paragraph doesn't belong there and should be removed or "utopia" should be corrected to "dystopia". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:38, 6 September 2009 (UTC)


The pairing has to be "outopia/topia", since there is no Greek particle to indicate the opposite of the negative. One could perhaps use the symbols from arithmetic: "-topia/+topia". "Dystopia" would be the antithesis of "eutopia" Pamour (talk) 11:29, 14 September 2009 (UTC)


One section says dystopia does not pretend to be utopian, the other does say the opposite.--MathFacts (talk) 12:38, 18 December 2009 (UTC)


Hey, this is my first time talking; so shocked am I at the following exclusion, I have been moved to comment...

What about the role of technology in dystopian fiction?! Every single instance provided in the entry hints at the medical/genetic/reproductive, industrial, electronic, psychological, and (usually failing) bureaucratic technologies that are the "fatal flaw" of dystopian societies. These fictional societies cannot outrun their own rampant technological development, and therefore end up cannibalizing their "civilization" in order to keep up with the unnaturally rapid advance of personal freedom, caused by incessant innovation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Memory palace (talkcontribs) 05:30, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

Real world Dystopian societies[edit]

This article does not seem to discuss those societies that really exist (or existed) and may be dystopian. The example that comes to mind is the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia where the populous was culled of all intellectuals, even teachers. The people became farming slaves. One could also argue that the Taliban also wish for a Dystopian society. Should these (and similar) not be discussed under this topic? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:47, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Yes and the modern Capitalist global order has long been cast as one. The society of Nineteen Eighty Four was supposed portray the future of socialism and the World State of Brave New World was supposed to portray the future of capitalism. This could be done well in a § on the relation of utopia, dystopia, visions of society to realpolitik but it would have to run the OR gauntlet. (talk) 13:21, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Pretty messed up.[edit]

To use the imagery of the World State, I must think this article produced, in sections at least by Δs. A second look indicates this could be addressed by excision or redaction of the tagged §§ and removal or rewrite of the etymological/alternative usage stuff. (talk) 12:44, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

And as usual in cases like this a Lede rewrite. (talk) 13:24, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Odd argument in the 'Social Groups' section[edit]

The section ends on the following note:

'In some novels, the State is hostile to motherhood: for example, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, children are organized to spy on their parents; and in We, the escape of a pregnant woman from OneState is a revolt.'

Now there is some problems with the reasoning here. That children are encouraged to spy on their parents in 1984 is not the same as the state being hostile to motherhood; however, it could be construed as a hostility towards family ties or 'the family' in general. The same might also be the case for 'We', I haven't read it so I'm less certain here; that pregnant women escaping is considered a revolt does not necessarily equal hostility to motherhood.

What would be hostility to motherhood (and fatherhood and family life for that matter) would be, for instance, compulsory removal of infants or very young children from their mother/parents, or discouragement of intimacy between mother and child. As it stands the argument is simply not validated by the chosen examples.

Mojowiha (talk) 23:36, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

It seems like not many people know what a "Dystopia" is[edit]

Just so everyone knows, the current introduction ("A dystopia is the idea of a society, generally of a speculative future, characterized by negative, anti-utopian elements, varying from environmental to political and social issues...") was written by me. I would rewrite the whole article, but I don't have the time. I am writing this in criticism of whoever wrote the previous article. It seems that the entire article is leading readers towards a false definition of what a "Dystopia" is.

The reason I rewrote the definition, is because the original article portends that a dystopia is a future where, the government has supreme, absolute control. I'll remind you that that is not the definition, and the current collective conscience's definition is spurred by an ever growing, irrational fear of governmental control.

People need to understand, that there is more to fear about the future than just the government. We must also be conscious of the media, the environment, and society in general, among other things. We are heading towards an extremely anti-social, materialistic, alienated state of mind, yet we still fear nothing but authority. It seems like, instead of "respect authority", we're aimed at a "never ever EVER listen to authority" state of mind.

It is ironic that the definition of "Dystopia" has been truncated down to "A future where people are alienated and individualism is restricted by the government.", just as definitions and words themselves are truncated by Newspeak in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

I think this truncating is caused by the fact that many of us oppose tyranny from anyone and anywhere: -"Don't judge me! -"Fuck the Police! -"Fuck religion!" ~Just to name a few common sayings of today that back up my point. Many of us choose to believe that it is the only problem that we must face in the years to come. This is irresponsible of us as human beings. We would all like to believe that we are being oppressed... perhaps so we can justify our immoral and rebellious behavior:

"I don't want virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone corrupt." - Winston Smith, from 1984.

Wake up, people. We live in the 21st century. The government has little control over us anymore. Our freedom is greater than it ever was. In my opinion, the most true, and relevant dystopias are those that portray futures without control, ie, Mad Max, or A Clockwork Orange, two stories that address modern day issues - social breakdown and gang violence.

Although totalitarianism is a famous theme among dystopias, it is not the only theme. As soon as we realize this, we can move away from the more irrelevant dystopias such as "The Hunger Games" and address issues that are relevant to today's society. 1984 had its significance from the 40's when it was written, and major significance in the 50's, especially in America and Russia, but not so much anymore, although some things in Orwell's novel have significance today, but not in the 40's or 50's, such as Newspeak: It does not take a genius to observe that language is much less elaborate in 2012 than it was in 1948. (oi bro, up 4 a blaze, u down g, chip in) However, this natural truncation of language was not, unlike in 1984, the government's doing.

If I didn't know any better, it seems like this "new" definition of Dystopia was employed so that we may become frightened at every single action the government takes which can be translated as a slight movement towards authoritarian or totalitarian politics.

Look at yourself. Look at the media, look at the food you're eating, look at the melting of the ice caps, look at the materialism, the cynicism, the alienation and the superficiality of today's dystopia that we live in. There is more than just the government here at work.

- Douglas Dean Wingate

Hate to point this out, but your authorship and personal opinions are completely irrelevant to this article. (talk) 22:24, 7 December 2015 (UTC)

North Korea[edit]

I just thought North Korea might be a real life example of Dystopian society. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Playerstroke (talkcontribs) 17:21, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Logan's Run[edit]

This story starts out describing what appears to be a utopian society, but we are gradually introduced to the dysfunctional aspects of the society. Ultimately, the society is revealed as dystopian. Should this be added to the list of books and movies? -- Mgg4 (talk) 22:30, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

XBox One[edit]

I was just reading the article and there is a huge section about the XBOX One. This part doesn't really add to the article and frankly labs towards more of a totalitarian dystopia. Please consider removing that section. Thank you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:09, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Dystopia as impending course of things[edit]

Though there is a source there, I'm not sure what use it serves in the overall article. It seems like a jargon intensive way to say, "organisms trade freedom for the lower classes for awesomeness for everyone" which I don't know what that has to do with the topic. Cassius235 (talk) 17:24, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

Since I haven't heard anything for why this section should be here I'm going to pull it. If anyone objects and reverts it please say why and I won't make a stink. Cassius235 (talk) 19:27, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

Notable examples section[edit]

After someone added a link to Proxy -- and after failing to find a WP page for the novel -- I did some cutting in the Notable examples section.

After starting to remove items that didn't make sense to have on here as "particularly notable" (?) I decided to be bold and remove the examples altogether, replacing them with more specific links.

If stand-alone articles exist and are linked to, what purpose does copying and pasting a select few from that list have? What specific criteria would be used to justify the few? (e.g. what made all of those 21st century titles I removed the best examples?) If they're so notable, they should just be discussed in the article text.

Otherwise, if you are intent to recreate this section, please specify what inclusion criteria you will use to select which from that rather large lists are representative of the concept of dystopia. --— Rhododendrites talk |  21:43, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

Use of Blade Runner and Famous Depictions[edit]

Instead of Blade Runner use the book it was based off "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep" by Phillip K. Dick. This more consistent with the works already listed, and the fact in was a book first then a movie is another reason it should be listed instead of Blade Runner. (talk) 13:39, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

While I agree that the book is superior (not just as an example), the connection between them is pretty loose and I think whoever picked those examples in the lead probably wanted to give a blend of media rather than just books. Blade Runner is, after all, better known than DADES and its visual aesthetic is the example many people point to when they think of dystopia. The book is listed, however, at List of dystopian literature. --— Rhododendrites talk |  13:48, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

Atlas Shrugged may be included[edit]

The universe depicted by Ayn Rand is upside down Solarix (talk) 20:29, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

Definition doesn't sit well with me[edit]

If you want to describe the opposite of a utopia, you wouldn't call it a dystopia. The word Utopia means a perfect society. Therefore a Dystopia would be a perfect society that is somehow sick. Or rather, things would appear perfect on the surface, but something is very, very wrong. As in Logan's Run, the populace at large may not be aware of any problem, choosing only to see perfection, while the individuals smart enough to question would be the ones living in fear. But that veneer of perfection would be an essential part of the definition of dystopia.

1984 therefore wouldn't describe a dystopian society but a totalitarian one which used language itself- as well as history- as a means of control. What's scary is that it's not that far off from how things really function. Think about how much of language evolves through television and the internet, and how much these tools could accomplish, but don't. Instead they are used primarily to keep us pacified and to sell us things. They only need us smart enough to be convinced, and truly the average person does not live for higher learning. We should enjoy learning new things, but too many people lack the desire and motivation, and actually reject being taught anything they don't already know. If 1984 describes a dystopia, then we're living in one right now.

The trouble in defining this word lies in the fact that it is only used in a fictional sense, and nearly always in a fictional future. Much of language evolves through misuse, and that is the case here, where so many have the word dystopia to describe totalitarian future states. Better instead to think of dystopia as meaning dysfunctional utopia.Thetrellan (talk) 21:06, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Definition should be referenced. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 05:34, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

I think that the reason you don't like the definition is that everyone's is different, thus, yours is probably not the same as mine. Fisch1234 (talk) 19:54, 20 September 2015 (UTC)

Antiutopia redirect here: should it be a stand-alone separate topic?[edit]

Pl wikipedia has a separate article on antiutopia (pl:Antyutopia), stating that while the term is often confused with dystopia, "while dystopia takes its visions from trends visibile in the author's contemporary reality, antiutopia takes them from utopian motives, and is a polemic with utopia's visions of ideal world." It is also referenced; so at the very least we probably should have a section on the term if not a new article. Thoughts? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 05:33, 16 October 2014 (UTC)


This article, along with all words with the prefix 'dys' need a phonetic pronunciation key to prevent their mangling and use as a programming key by Monarch Mind Control Practitioner and Wiki editor Cynthia Ultra-McKenzie. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:25, 10 December 2016 (UTC)

Rm Hatnote[edit]

I have removed it with the comment " out of time and no one has discussed it on the talk page ever- pls restore if I am wrong but explain first on the talk page what needs doing". So please can we have discussion.--ClemRutter (talk) 10:59, 29 January 2017 (UTC)

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More intended the first part as 'ou' (not) and not 'eu' (well). Mill was clearly being playful when he deliberately misunderstood More's original intended meaning. I wonder is it's too late to coin the word 'topia' to signify the concept of 'placeness' (the world), with all its concomitant blessings and evils Pamour (talk) 18:02, 19 July 2017 (UTC).

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