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Dystopia Facts

The Rise of Dystopia: Exploring the Facts Behind This Genre of Fiction


Dystopia is a term that has been flying around quite often, but what exactly does it mean? Dystopian fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction, taking readers into a world that is controlled or corrupt, where people suffer and lead miserable lives. Dystopian stories are a warning of what could happen if society, government or technology goes to the extreme – often depicting a world that is bleak, harsh or oppressive.

While dystopian literature has been a popular genre of fiction for some time, it has had a resurgence of late. This is partly due to the current global political climate, as we see leaders enacting policies that come from a dystopian novel. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some facts behind dystopia and understand its relevance, history and future.

History of Dystopian Fiction

Dystopian fiction is not a new concept. While the term may have been coined in the 19th century, these stories have been told since the beginning of civilizations. Ancient Greek mythology had “The Titanomachy,” a story of how the Titans were overthrown by the Olympians. This was followed by the Judeo-Christian narrative of Cain and Abel, where evil triumphs over goodness.

The modern dystopian fiction, however, began with the Industrial Revolution. The first known dystopian novel is Samuel Butler’s 1872 book called “Erewhon.” In 1921, a Russian novelist, Yevgeny Zamyatin, penned the book “We”, which depicts a future heavily influenced by the Communist society that was emerging in Russia. George Orwell then wrote “1984” in 1949, a book that has gone on to become a classic and one of the most widely-read dystopian novels of all time. Soon, other books such as Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451,” and Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” emerged.

The Relevance of Dystopia Today

While dystopian fiction is not reality, it is a warning of what could happen if we don’t change course. From political ideology to technological evolution, dystopian plots often depict a society that is governed by fear or ignorance. Recent events such as Brexit in the UK and the election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States have shown that dystopia isn’t so far-fetched.

In today’s world, we are seeing technology becoming more integrated into our daily lives. We are surrounded by surveillance cameras, fingerprint scanners and facial recognition software – all of which can be used to control or monitor individuals. Whether intentional or not, these are cues taken directly from dystopian fiction.

The Role of Dystopian Fiction in Society

What is it about dystopian fiction that draws us in? Is it the irony of reading a book that depicts a world we wouldn’t want to live in? Or is it maybe our fear of the future?

Dystopian fiction draws attention to social, political or cultural issues that we might not necessarily be able to put into words. It takes abstract concepts and turns them into a tangible story that we can understand. Dystopian fiction helps us to reflect on our lives and the society we live in. It makes us question the impact of our actions on others and the environment, and challenges us to think about how we can change the world for the better.

The Future of Dystopian Fiction

As long as there is fear, uncertainty or social unrest, dystopian fiction will continue to be popular. However, the genre is not just limited to books anymore. It is also making its mark on films, video games, and TV shows.

For instance, the “The Hunger Games” franchise was one of the most successful of its time – earning over $2.9 billion in box office sales worldwide. A single-episode of the “Black Mirror” TV series, “Bandersnatch,” also allowed the viewer to select how the story plays out, in a choose-your-own-adventure format.

With the increasing use of virtual reality and AI, the possibilities for more immersive and interactive dystopian narratives are endless. However, we are still just scratching the surface of what is possible.


Dystopian fiction may be labeled as just “fiction,” but it has the power to mirror the current state of our world and to predict the outcome of our actions. It is an integral part of reflecting on our society and helping us to change it for the better. As long as we remain cognizant of the dangers of oppression and paranoia, we can avoid living in a dystopian world.

As the writer and visionary Margaret Atwood said, ““Every dystopia is someone’s utopia, especially when they profit by it.” Let us learn from our past and create a brighter future.

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