dystopia

A dystopia (from the Greek δυσ- and τόπος, alternatively, cacotopia, kakotopia, or simply anti-utopia) is a community or society that is undesirable or frightening. It is translated as "not-good place", an antonym of utopia, a term that was coined by Sir Thomas More and figures as the title of his most well-known work, Utopia (the blueprint for an ideal society with minimal crime, violence and poverty). Dystopian societies appear in many artistic works, particularly in stories set in the future. Some of the most famous examples are George Orwell's 1984 and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization, totalitarian governments, environmental disaster, or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society. Dystopian societies appear in many subgenres of fiction and are often used to draw attention to real-world issues regarding society, environment, politics, economics, religion, psychology, ethics, science, and/or technology. Some authors however also use the term to refer to actually-existing societies, many of which are or have been totalitarian polities, or societies in an advanced state of collapse and disintegration. An attempt to draw together and compare both the fictional and real dystopias has been made in Gregory Claeys's Dystopia: A Natural History (Oxford University Press, 2016).

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