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Introduction and Overview November 15, 2009

Posted by Scott Freeman in Uncategorized.
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PurposeThis Pathfinder is intended for students, researchers and other individuals fascinated with the popular form of literature known as Dystopian and to provide information and resources for further study and reading.

What is Dystopian Literature?

The “End of the World” is a hot seller in today’s entertainment world.  These titles focus on Armageddon type events that bring about the end of life as we know it.

Dystopian Literature does not deal with the end of the world but the end of the world as we know it.  In a dystopian world life has achieved a less than ideal setting, the opposite of utopia.

According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica:

The counter to utopia is dystopia, in which hopes for betterment are replaced by electrifying fears of the ugly consequences of present-day behaviour. Utopias tended to have a placid gloss of phony benevolence, while dystopias displayed a somewhat satanic thunder.

Utopias commonly featured “moderns” undergoing a conversion experience to the utopian mind-set—after which, all action stopped. In dystopias, a character representing moderns is excitingly chased down, persecuted, degraded, and commonly killed. In Huxley’s Brave New World, an intellectual dissident is singled out and exiled by fatuous world rulers anxious to preserve their numbing status quo. George Orwell‘s hellish Nineteen Eighty-four stopped the march of history in its tracks with its famous image of the future as “a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” Terry Gilliam’s satiric film Brazil (1985) veers between pathos and absurdity with its bizarre blend of Orwell’s dystopian vision of the future and Kafkaesque elements.

science fiction. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved November 16,  2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://search.eb.com/eb/article-235726

Navigating This Site

Links to books, reference services, databases and other avenues of exploring the world of Dystopian Literature are available along the right sidebar.  Those links will take you to more information in that specific category.


The library catalog is easily accessible through the Stillwater Public Library website.  Catalogs are also available on computers around the perimeter of the building.  All fiction works are contained within the general fiction area unless otherwise noted.  Fiction is alphabetized by author name and book title.  Non-fiction titles would be contained with the 800s according to the Dewey Decimal system which is the Literature Section.

Authorized subject headings are


–Dystopias in Literature