Why read dystopian novels

For those of you who like them, why? Isn’t the real world dark enough? I’m genuinely curious. I read to escape from reality, not to visit a worse version. What is it about dystopia that appeals to you?

One of them’s going to be accurate. :eek:

Some of the good ones are weirdly optimistic. After all, they start out after the worst has already happened, so really, things can only get better from there, right?

I just realized all my favorite novels and movies are the dystopian type. My favorite book is The Road. My favorite movies are Children of Men, Mad Max Fury Road, Bladerunner 2049.
I loved the Hunger Games books.
I think I like them since the stakes are so high in everything the characters so. Life and death decisions force them to be strategic and resourceful in all their actions. Some of the decisions have to be made on the spur of the moment and it’s interesting to see the aftermath of their actions.
They also feel way more personal to me following someone navigating a stressful situation with concentration out of necessity.

It’s always fun to take a little trip into another world. A dystopian setting has certain advantages that a good author can use to make a story work better.

because art is supposed to make us see how bad humanity can become and hopefully avoid that

that’s why Lord of the Flies is so good

The fact that the world in a dystopian novel is so much worse is the main appeal for me - it makes my life seem so much better.

That, and a general fascination with disasters.

Someone pointed out that utopias are boring, so people write about dystopias.

I like good writing and interesting stories – dystopia, utopia, fruitopia, doesn’t matter.


Exactly, they function as cautionary tales. Or they can be distorted mirrors of contemporary society for purposes of satiric social commentary.

Dystopian novels tend to focus on the characters’ ability to overcome their circumstances. Its a celebration, so to speak, of mankind’s ability to adapt and overcome circumstances. They hinge on characters’ ability to survive and thrive in any circumstances. I can’t recall a dystopian story where main characters said, “Well Fuck. I’m screwed, what’s the point?” and sat down and died.

I read and enjoy any dystopian book I can find, my list of faves matches Hampshire closely. To get into the psychology of it, I think books like that give people a safe way to process their fears. If I share my fears about the future with friends, I tend to depress the hell out of them. And as someone who isn’t exceptionally vocal about my fears in the first place, I don’t have many outlets. Reading about them actually gives me comfort that I’m not the only person who worries about this stuff.

I feel that was the point Orwell was making with Nineteen Eighty-Four. He was describing how things would be after an absolute regime was established in order to warn people that once that regime was in power, it couldn’t be overthrown. So he was telling people they had to take action now in order to prevent such a regime from taking power.

There’s something appealing about the lone survivor, often an anti-hero who makes their way through the wasteland, and imagining what the breakdown of society would actually be like when everything goes down the drain, it is all sort of an illusion after all.

They make me appreciate my real life more. Also being reminded of how fragile life can be is a good thing.

Because they show the negatives of our familiar existence in a context where they stand out sharply. Through such allegory - or through the reasoning needed to interpret the hints - our awareness is heightened. We see more clearly the issues we need to overcome, and hope that others who read may do the same (or may see themselves and the problems they cause reflected, whether consciously or otherwise, and start to change).

While it’s not as obviously dystopian as other works here, in Neon Genesis Evangelion the main character very much so would rather sit down and let the aliens take over the Earth at multiple parts of the series.

They’re about problem-solving and thinking through how to survive. Frankly, my early speculation and preparations for COVID-19 were well-served by dystopian fiction.

All of these.