According to Merriam-Webster, a dystopian society includes elements of misery, disease, depression and overcrowding. In looking at Thomas More’s definition of utopia and anti-utopia in his own Utopia, it’s definition also includes that it is an unreachable or even non-existent place. Although dystopias are usually futuristic, they are imaginable. Often the government is totalitarian and oppressive. This social control, though it is evident to the reader is often faded by the illusion of a flawless society. The science fiction genre is similar in multiple respects. It is also defined as an imaginable and futuristic world, according to Merriam-Webster. But, the focus of these novels and pieces stays on major technological, social, or environmental changes on a society. While these two genres are often mismatched, it is important to recognize that dystopian fiction is often recognized as a sub-category of science fiction. Therefore, dystopian novels can be labeled as science fiction while not all science fiction novels are necessarily dystopias. But, there are others who do not necessarily categorize dystopias as particularly science fiction novels or want the two to be combined. Michael Solana of Wired argues that the creation and popularity of dystopian science fiction has a certain capacity to entertain and shape the way readers view and understand the future of technology. He further presents the idea that manmade technological advancements in many novels often lead to disruption of lower order societies which is something to be feared. This specific combination of dystopia and science fiction allows a reader to believe that mass technological and environmental revolutions in the real world may lead to a dystopian society. This is where the combination of these two genres can overlap and cause confusion and even panic in a reader. While the two genres are certainly similar in many aspects, it is important that a reader or viewer recognizes the ability of science fiction to be independent of a dystopia.
“Stop Writing Dystopian Sci-Fi—It’s Making Us All Fear Technology.” Wired, Conde Nast, 14 Aug. 2014, www.wired.com/2014/08/stop-writing-dystopian-sci-fiits-making-us-all-fear-technology/.
“Merriam-Webster.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dystopia.
“Merriam-Webster.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/science%20fiction.