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Utopian and dystopian fiction

Utopian fiction is the creation of a ideal world as the setting for a novel. Dystopian fiction is the opposite: creation of a nightmare world. Both are commonly found in science fiction novels and stories.

The word utopia was first used in this context by Thomas More in his work Utopia; literally it means "nowhere". In this work, More sets out a vision of an ideal society. Other examples include Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, and B.F. Skinner's Walden Two.

For examples of dystopias, see George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, any of William Gibson's novels.


A subgenre of this is ecotopian fiction[?], where the author posits either a utopian or dystopian world revolving around environmental conservation or destruction. Ernest Callenbach[?]'s Ecotopia was the first example of this, followed by Kim Stanley Robinson in his California trilogy. Robinson has also edited a collection of short ecotopian fiction, called Future Primitive: The New Ecotopias.

Another important subgenre are feminist utopias, for example Marge Piercy[?]'s novel Woman On the Edge of Time.


See also: Utopia, Dystopia



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