People are usually surprised to find out that one of my very favorite genres of fiction to read is dystopian fiction, which Wikipedia defines broadly:
The utopia and its offshoot, the dystopia, are genres of literature that explore social and political structures. Utopian fiction is the creation of an ideal world, or utopia, as the setting for a novel. Dystopian fiction is the opposite: creation of a nightmare world, or dystopia. Many novels combine both, often as a metaphor for the different directions humanity can take in its choices, ending up with one of two possible futures. Both utopias and dystopias are commonly found in science fiction and other speculative fiction genres, and arguably are by definition a type of speculative fiction.Dystopias usually extrapolate elements of contemporary society and function as a warning against some modern trend, often the threat of oppressive regimes in one form or another. When looked at closely many utopias can be seen as dytopias in regard to their treatment of the issues of justice, freedom and happiness. Samuel Butler's Erewhon can be seen as a dystopia because of the way ill people are treated as criminals, but as far as the people 'living' in his novel they are in an utopia. The main point of a dystopia is to make people think about the world in which they live and to see how the idea of happiness can be perverted providing the society know little else.
I've heard a variety of opinions on this type of tale, usually summed up with one word. Depressing. I don't find that to be the case at all. If you'd like to know more about this fascinating genre, join the Genre Reading Group on Tuesday June 30th at 6:30pm where our members will share with everyone the books they read, why they chose them, and what they liked (or didn't like) about these stories.
New members always welcome! Light refreshments served. For more information, contact Holley at 205/445-1117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.