Talk:Utopian and dystopian fiction

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Should a reference to Alphaville be included here?

Sure, be bold! Go ahead and add it! -Seth Mahoney 00:36, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

More's "Utopia"[edit]

The society outlined in More's book is not meant to be his "perfect society." He specifically says in the last lines of the work that he does not agree with everything that goes on in Utopia. In addition, his attached letter to Peter Giles as much as says that he is merely using the piece to "drop pointed hints" about Europena society at the time. More's presentation of his "Utopia" is meant only as a platform from which to discuss social issues. I feel that, as is, this wikipedia article is incorrect and misleading in this regard. Would anyone be opposed to me changing the part about More presenting his "vision of an ideal society?"

Social science fiction[edit]

I wonder what is this genre relation to social science fiction? Can utopian and dystopian diction be classified as a part of Category:Science fiction genres?--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 03:25, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

I'd put them both under Political fiction -- TimNelson (talk) 12:00, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

"Erewhon" is "nowhere" spelled backwards.[edit]

No it isn't. Erehwon is nowhere spelled backwards. Ade90212 09:24, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

List Page for Dystopian Fiction[edit]

After looking through many pages of movies/novels/short stories/poems that are dystopian works, but not in the short paragraph here, I think a List page should be created listing links to any fiction that has dystopian themes. Any thoughts as to this being a good idea? Gronkmeister 17:10, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Found a group of lists here, I guess i'll just add these instead. Gronkmeister 17:14, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Star Trek and Utopia[edit]

I'm wondering whether Star Trek should be considered a utopian fiction, any thoughts? --Aled D 12:28, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Does 1984 not belong on the list? It is a dystopian story.



The Giver?[edit]

Isn't "The Giver" by Lois Lowry an example of Dystopian fiction?

At first, we are led to believe that the society is a utopia. But we soon learn that it is not. From what I remember, after a certain age, the old are euthenized. Also, newborn twins are murdered. There are other examples as well. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:22, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

The Giver is a popular and frequently studied book in the broader genre, and I suspect most people would class it as a dystopia (that seems to be the perspective of the author, the protagonist, and the illustrators of the major editions). Probably it should get moved from "Utopia" section to "Dystopia" section. --lquilter 21:27, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

No. The Giver is a clear balance between Utopian and Dystopian. It should be left in between,

-G —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:57, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

At first, "The Giver" is set in a supposed perfect Utopian society but later we find out it really is not what it seems. They use lethal injection to murder imperfect babies, criminals, and people too old to be productive. They only do this so that the community is smooth and profitable. However, it cages the people living there from feeling real pain, happiness, and love, which stops their freedom. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:08, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

relation to utopia article[edit]

I'm working on the utopia article, and noting that this article needs significant work. In particular, there is nothing in this article that discusses the very distinct utopian genre -- its hallmarks being a traveler's commentary on a foreign society, significant amounts of exposition and didactic writing, and accordingly less emphasis on characterization and plot. Doing this would let us then explain how later developments have played with the conventions of the genre (e.g., The Dispossessed in which the reader explores the "utopian" society and sees it as not utopian, then the protagonist voyages to the dystopian society for comparison, and returns home; Katharine Burdekin's Proud Man, Louky Bersianik's Euguelion, and Marge Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time in which a visitor comes to our society to comment negatively) and of course the dystopian novel.

So, in the meantime, I've plugged in some links and will start working on this article more. --lquilter 18:44, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

-Hi lquilter...did you see my post above about Louis Lowry's "The Giver" Do you think we should delete it from the list? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:28, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Published year[edit]

For the examples under Utopian fiction, I think the year they were published should either be listed for all the examples or none; Starting halfway through makes little sense. —Managore (talk) 19:42, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

Lost Horizon?[edit]

Why isn't this novel mentioned at all? Isn't it one of the most well-known works of utopian fiction, at least in the English speaking world? (talk) 19:44, 14 November 2008 (UTC)Shangri-La

Feminist Utopias[edit]

Can we add a few examples of feminist utopias here that don't involve the removal of men? Because those aren't exactly feminist, they're just science fiction. Feminism does not advocate the removal of suppression of men, it advocates the removal of societal restrictions and biases based on sex or gender. See Feminist science fiction for more info; the examples there describe genderless societies. Regardless, the section is inaccurate and needs revision. --Grenadier (talk) 04:14, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

I added a lot more, including feminist utopias with men (and distopias). All cited of course (which unfortunaely makes this article seem better referenced than it is).YobMod 16:11, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

This shouldn't really have it's own section as there is already a page on feminist science fiction, and most of the books mentioned just have different societal norms/systems which is true of all science fiction books. Regardless, as a stop gap I've shortened this part as it was needlessly long (especially compared to the length of the other, broader, sections) and read like a book review/a long list of book plots with a subjective slant. I also took out a few subjective phrases and words. If this can't be deleted/moved to Feminist science fiction, it still needs to be cut down further. -- (talk) 01:08, 3 March 2013 (UTC)

List structure[edit]

The lists of utopian and dystopian literature would be more informative to the reader if given in chronological rather than alphabetical order. What do you all think? --Gimme danger (talk) 16:20, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Well, a week or so ago i changed the 'utopian' list to alphabetical, mainly for consistency with the list below, which was in roughly alphabetical order. I'm personally not sure which is preferable - provided dates are given for every item on the list and mention is made in the preceding paragraph of the earliest works in a particular genre (this is on the 'utopian' list but not the 'dystopian' one), I think alphabetical is acceptable. All WP:L has to say is if items have specific dates a chronological format is sometimes preferable, so there's no policy to go on. Basically, if the consensus is that chronological is better, i'm happy to go with that. Hysteria18 (talk) 17:20, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

WorldCat Genres[edit]

Hello, I'm working with OCLC, and we are algorithmically generating data about different Genres, like notable Authors, Book, Movies, Subjects, Characters and Places. We have determined that this Wikipedia page has a close affintity to our detected Genere of dystopias. It might be useful to look at [1] for more information. Thanks. Maximilianklein (talk) 23:09, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Gulliver’s Travels[edit]

Surely the Land of the Houyhnhnms is no utopia? Since the human inhabitants are reduced to an almost ape-like state and treated with vicious discrimination, it sounds more like a dystopia to me.

Hors-la-loi 16:35, 17 February 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hors-la-loi (talkcontribs)

apocalyptic vs dystopian lit[edit]

"apocalyptic" and dystopian are not synonyms. often, of course, dystopias apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic, but Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union and Mao's China were dystopias without have any relationship to an apocalypse. Likewise Zamyatin's We, Huxley's Brave New World, and Orwell's 1984.

Blood Red Road is post-apocalytic without being dystopian. The social order is bad, of course, but that's not the focus of the book, nor is the social order pervasive enough to raise to the level of dystopian stories. It's just that bad, foolish people control a distant government that happens to seize the protagonist's brother.

Anyone who confuses and conflates apocalyptic and dystopian is simply confused, and Wikipedia shouldn't validate their confusion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:46, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

"according to Rachel Wilkinson, a high school English teacher"[edit]

I just stumbled over this paragraph, and to me it sounds a bit strange:

"Dystopian literature is a modern fad because there are four aspects of dystopian literature that apply to us as a consumer-oriented society, according to Rachel Wilkinson, a high school English teacher. These four aspects that are applicable to our society are advertising and industry, instant gratification, reliance on technology, and decline of language. She has decided that it's important teenagers especially come into contact with these four aspects, because they are a warnings against such traits from novelists such as Huxley and M. T. Anderson in his novel Feed.[4]"

Is it okay to quote the ideas of "a high school English teacher" without real peer review? The points here are not uninteresting, but since the rest of the article is quite matter-of-fact without much comment and deeper interpretation, I feel that the tone of this paragraph makes it look far more relevant than it actually is. Besides the last sentence is not very good English, is it?

Any opinions about change or deletion? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:48, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

General Poor Writing[edit]

I just have to say that parts of this article are very badly written, such as the entire section discussing 1984 and Brave New World. There's a very long run-on sentence and quite a few other issues as well, such as referring to a "beverage that to put it mildly is unpleasant". This needs fixing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:14, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

Dystopia and satire[edit]

An editor is linking [[Satire|political warnings]] to "Dystopia" section. I see no evidence that "political warnings" are ever considered satire, although satire can contain political warnings. Pseudo-utopias often contain satire, but that's not the same thing. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:49, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

Utopian and dystopian fiction can contain elements of satire. The satire|political warnings tag is like lumping cabbages and sealing wax. Satire can be a political commentary, and that should be developed in the text of the article. Nonsense drive-by tagging is disruptive. - Neonorange (talk) 03:22, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Satire is not always political warnings, and political warnings are not always satire. Linking the phrase "political warnings" to satire violates the principle of least astonishment. So, I would argue NO to this particular link.

    But I wonder if there's some substantive point that the user (User:Mr. Guye) is trying to make that has merit. The user says in its edit summaries: "This describes a form of satire." (diff) and "Arbitrary revert. Satire is typically the point of dystopian fiction." (diff) So here I disagree with the statement. The sentence in the article, with the proposed link, is: "Dystopias usually extrapolate elements of contemporary society and are read by many as political warnings." The political warnings in dystopias are not always (or even often) satirical; they're most often "if this goes on" extrapolations. It's perhaps not the best phrasing, but there's no way that satire makes the point here. If there's a really good reason to link to satire, I would do it in a separate sentence or point -- something like, "Satire is another common literary form for political warnings." Does it make sense to do this? That's the question I would focus on.

    The whole "political warnings" language is honestly a little rough and could use some work .... but that's another topic. --Lquilter (talk) 11:06, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Satire can be used as veiled, as well as open, political comment. The political climate may make open comment dangerous (within the fictional world, and without). However, setting a fictional work in, for example, "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away", or in the world of The Hunger Games, does not make it a satire (or political comment). On the other hand, Nineteen Eighty-four is a satire and a political warning and a dystopia. Stand on Zanzibar, perhaps, occupies a middle ground. Exaggerating (or extrapolating) trends to project another society, the main genesis for dystopian and utopian fiction, is not sufficient for satire; and certainly satire is not "typically the point of dystopian fiction". The drive-by tag satire|political warnings isn't helpful because it's argumentative rather than illuminative, and not a contribution to content. - Neonorange (talk) 16:08, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
  • To sum up: Everyone here is in agreement that it's not appropriate to have "political warnings" link to the article on "satire". And no clear case is emerging for linking to the satire article in another context. Hopefully User:Mr. Guye will weigh in to explain and help us understand his/her point. --Lquilter (talk) 18:28, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
  • To be more clear, I like your sentence "Satire is another common literary form for political warnings.", but I would change the last word from warnings to commentary. "Warnings" describes flat-out statements; Tornado Warning, Yield Sign, the current back-and-forth statements from the US and Russia. Satire, well, that's a literary, verbal, physical, and/or visual form. One may read a political warning into such material (and that may be the conscious aim of the author), but satire is NOT directly a political warning; otherwise the work is not satire. - Neonorange (talk) 18:48, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Good point. Personally I don't like the phrase "political warnings", period. It's awkward. "Political commentary" is much better. --Lquilter (talk) 10:34, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
  • I support this term of "political commentary". Mr. Guye (talk) 21:58, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

I mean dystopian literature is written with the main intention of criticising a society through exaggeration of the idea that is being disapproved by the author. Example: Anthem (novella). Mr. Guye (talk) 08:11, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

Anthem depicts a dystopia. It is a polemic. It is a political warning. But it too flat-footed and humorless to be a satire. Don't try to fit dystopian literature and its authors into a Procustean bed. Sometimes the aim may be just to put characters under pressure and see what happens; speculative literature, in other words. Over and over you may read statements from authors of speculative fiction to that effect. - Neonorange (talk) 15:57, 1 May 2014 (UTC)