Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My thoughts on dystopias

Well actually, I posted my thoughts over at Worlds Unimagined since we're doing a round robin topic discussion on dystopias. But here are the links to my oh-so-lovely posts.

Dystopias: Unhappily Ever After

Can dystopias be beat? 

And in case you were wondering… No, I’m not a fan of hopeful dystopias (sounds like an oxymoron). Gritty story with a sugar coated ending? C’mon! It undermines the whole point of dystopias, which was to get folks to be aware. And you can't be mindful of what's going on around you if you're comfortably numb in your own little world. Sometimes you have to realize how bad things are before you can fix them.

As an aside, there seems to be a lot of confusion about dystopias and post-apocalyptic stories. Somewhere down the line someone got them mixed up. They are, in fact, NOT the same. Dystopias are studies of authoritarian governments while post-apoc has a complete lack of government, otherwise known as anarchy.


  1. I would argue that not all dystopias are authoritarian, although creating an authoritarian government is certainly a good way to start building a dystopia. I would say that the defining element of a dystopia is that it is a culture or environment that deprives the human mind and spirit of some crucial outlet, freedom, or nourishment. An authoritarian government is not an essential feature.

  2. Ah, but what is the best means to deprive humans of their rights and freedoms? You're right, it doesn't always have to be an authoritarian government, it is usually the status quo that reinforces such restrictions. Problem is how do we picture a culture as an antagonist? It's little too abstract. But Big Brother isn't abstract. We can picture the posters, the propaganda that the government spews out, which gives us a better handle on the antagonist and from there we can see that it isn't so much the government, but the culture that helps to make this happen.