General info: Dystopia is the subgenre of the Science Fiction genre. When utopian genres examine a society living in harmony with itself, Dystopia depicts a world in which everything that could go wrong has gone wrong, and at catastrophic proportions. The direct antonym to utopia, Dystopia, as a rule, depicts a society that has entered a socio-moral, economic, political or technological dead. Often ruled by totalitarian overlords, societies are steeped in fear and distrust. The origins of dystopia, like utopia, lie in antiquity — in some works of Aristotle and Marcus Aurelius. The term was first used by the British philosopher John Stuart Mill in his 1868 parliamentary speech. However, elements of a literary dystopia appeared much earlier. For example, the third book Gulliver’s Travels (1727) by Jonathan Swift described the flying island of Laputa, a kind of technocratic dystopia.
Cultural overview: Yevgeny Zamyatin, Ayn Rand, Milo Milton Hastings, Aldous Huxley, Karin Maria Boye, George Orwell, Philip K. Dick, Scott David Westerfeld, Max Barry.
The emergence of dystopia as a genre is associated with the disillusionment of humanity with utopian ideals and the belief that a true utopia is impossible.
Meaning: The dystopian genre started to flourish after World War 1, when, in the wake of several bloody revolutions, some countries tried to translate utopian ideals into reality. Many writers of early dystopian novels took note of Bolshevik Russia and its transformation into the Soviet Union. Yevgeny Zamyatin’s novel We (1924) describes an exorbitantly mechanized society, where an individual becomes a helpless cog-number. Orwell, in his 1948 book 1984, helped cement the genre’s identity even further thanks to his own anger over how the Russian Revolution transformed into the totalitarian state.
Most used keywords: #militarizm #depersonalization #overpopulation #no human rights #slavery #drugs #totalitarizm #big brother #thoughtcrime #public execution
Distinctive traits of symbols: The foundations of the totalitarian system were first invented by Evgeny Zemyatin, which included the violent lobotomy of dissidents, mass media zombifying the people, ubiquitous microphones and cameras, synthetic food, and weaning people from displaying emotions. Another widespread aspect of Dystopias is anti-fascist, directed primarily against Nazi Germany. Many alternate-history books set in a world where the Nazis won WWII could be considered Dystopian novels. Other novels depict a capitalist environment-turned Dystopia, as Aldous Huxley did in his book Brave New World (1932). Huxley’s book depicts a technocratic “ideal” caste state based on the achievements of genetic engineering. For the sake of suppressing social discontent, people are processed in special entertainment centers or with the active use of the drug “soma.”