What are the standard characteristics of dystopian literature?
While most dystopias function as political or social satires, they frequently find their places within the horror and sci-fi genres. This is because these fields allow them to exaggerate certain parts of society without breaking the reader's suspension of disbelief, as well as making it socially acceptable to linger on the horrors that such a society would create.
The YouTube channel Overly Sarcastic Productions teamed up with Hello Future Me! to discuss some of the most common tropes in the dystopian genre.
Some of these included:
- A militarized police force
- Restriction of speech/thought
- Public shows of force
- Restriction/control of information
- Claims that a failing society actually is a utopia
While these are common themes in nearly all dystopian literature, there are also several trends that have been added and removed to the genre as it has evolved, with five predominant sub-genres developing over the centuries.