01 June 2016

Dystopian Essays

What can dystopian fiction tell us about the society in which it is written? What do different approaches reveal about the concerns of the authors and how they want to tackle the underlying threats? What forms of utopia risk degenerating into dystopia?

Here are ten essays on dystopian themes you may find of interest:

'Dystopian Origins: how did we get here?'
: on what gave rise to the dystopian genre.

'The Politics of Control: Huxley, Orwell or Burdekin?': comparing Huxley, Orwell, and their lesser known contemporary, Katherine Burdekin, whose novel, Swastika Night is insightful and terrifying.

'Triffids, High-Rise or Lord of the Flies': on the common themes of lawlessness and disorder in three contrasting novels.

'Utopian Jekyll & Dystopian Hyde': on how utopian intentions can turn into dystopian rule in practice.

'Power Disparity & Dystopian Breakdown': on the central theme of widening power gaps as a precursor to dystopian nightmares.

'The ‘Good’, ‘Bad’ & ‘Ugly’ in Dystopian Fiction': comparing the political targets of different dystopian novels and what they reveal about their authors' attitudes towards social issues.

'Cooperative Gestalt & Dystopian Fiction'
: on the core communitarian themes and their relationship to the cooperative gestalt in the writings of Thomas More, Francis Bacon, and James Harrington.

'Contesting Dystopian Visions': on the recurring dystopian concern with the concentration of wealth in an elite and the consequences for the vulnerable masses.

'Dystopia Goes to Hollywood': a look at the popularity of dystopian films and the opportunities they offer to widen serious political discussions.

'Redrawing the Utopia-Dystopia Roadmap': on some of the ideas that may inform a remapping of utopian and dystopian writings.