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message 1: by Craig (new)

Craig Bolton | 8 comments Not meaning to limit our library, but I am interested in reactions: Is a dystopian society simply one where "things have gone wrong"? (And if so are there any societies that are not dystopian?) Or is about the ending of the story (e.g., whether the "good guys win" or "evil is defeated" or the opposite)?

message 2: by Michael (new)

Michael Robertson (michael2402) I've looked at definitions online, and I would agree with Free Online Dictionary that see it as - An imaginary place or state in which the condition of life is extremely bad, as from deprivation, oppression, or terror.

message 3: by Empress, Seeker of wonders (new)

Empress (the_empress) | 1215 comments Mod
I don't think it is limited to the ending. I'm not sure it is even about good guys-bad guys. FOR ME, it is a society where you don't have the freedom to achieve you potential, a society where you are limited or controlled in some way. But then I think my view of dystopian society covers every single one that ever existed on earth, so I might need to review my definition.

message 4: by Craig (last edited Aug 29, 2013 09:49PM) (new)

Craig Bolton | 8 comments That is exactly what I was worried about, Ellie. The boundary between Michael's suggestion that the society must be characterized by a "condition of life [that is] extremely bad" and where one finds oneself at any point in time and space seems to be context and perspective dependant. There are people in every society that think it is "extremely bad" and should be set right. Similarly, every society has "advantaged" people for whom everything is "just fine."

As an example, in This Perfect Day, the Mao figure and the programmers were convinced that they had created a near utopia. Those subject to the utopia ran the spectrum of those who would agree and those who wanted out (and then were less than thrilled when they got out). The ending was equivocal - much like the ending of the original Star Trek episode, Return of the Archons, but it was clear that things were going to change in some way. (This is, incidentally, the type of ending I like the best - well, we're not too sure what happens next, but that state of affairs is, in any case, finished.)

message 5: by Bob (new)

Bob Collopy (bobcollopy) | 14 comments I'm pretty sure a book should be dystopian throughout.

If the world the person lives in is suddenly made a dystopia at the very end then it is more of a twist than a genre.

To be truly dystopian the society should be well developed with systems and ideals. Making a dystopia should be a process. It should have more than the fact that the dystopia is "extremely bad" it should also explain why the dystopia is bad past face value.

That is what I think makes a real dystopia, but it's just my own personal requirements.

message 6: by Michele (new)

Michele | 399 comments Mod
FWIW, a very similar conversation is going on over here.

message 7: by Alberta (new)

Alberta Ross (authorshow4506833alberta_ross) | 2 comments I think it is a place where life is controlled completly - no freedom -no free thought - may be okay place in that you dont starve to death but there is no freedom to 'think' for oneself - I have always considered herland to a dystopian place because of this - although it was written to show how wonderful life could be if women ruled!

of course there most prob. is some kind of violence involves as to rule 'humans' completly you need to assert authority in some way - and as to most of the world being dystopian a good many places were/are in reality - dont have to go far to find them unfortunatly:)

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