Dystopian Novels

By: Kristopher Schweda

What is a Dystopian novel?

A dystopian novel is one in which a society is characterized by one big problem. These problems can include poverty, oppression, and suffering. These novels are sometimes used to portray a certain perspective of these disasters. These perspectives are usually seen by the the readers as the Author's perspective. This can be true, but the Authors of these types of novels usually write their novels in the perspective of the whole of society to show that if the problems in these books are real, and the characters can overcome it, then why can't we as a people overcome the same problem in our world?

What are they about?

Dystopian novels are most commonly about communities who are trying to become "Perfect". These communities often have the right starting point or idea of how to accomplish their dreams of becoming a perfect society, but then you always get some wacko or nutcase who becomes the leader of said project or dream. That person then decides that they have found out or made a better, more efficient way to accomplish these dreams and their way does seem more efficient in the beginning and then some thing they didn't calculate goes horribly wrong.


Some universal traits of characters in dystopian fiction are a different way of thinking from the average person in that society, and throughout the book the main protagonistis shown to have a very fragile mindset, or some sort of mental illness that only their lover/significant other understands or can help them deal with.

Often-seen traits of dystopian societies are a corrupt or whacked-out government, messed up societal views and or a "dictator" whose only reason for being in their government is to perform messed up experiments on his/her society.

How do you know if your book is a dystopian novel?

The easiest way to find out if your novel could be "dystopian literature" you simply have to look at the plot. Is the main character trying to deviate the twisted plans of his/her society? If so then you'd most likely have a dystopian novel on your hands.

Harrison Bergron by Kurt vonnegut Jr.

The short story I chose was called Harrison Bergeron and it is about a man and his wife who live in a society where everyone is perfect. No-one is smarter than anyone else, no-one is more athletic and no-one is more good looking than another. It goes through and tells the reader about society and the punishments exacted on those who don't follow the new laws.( 2,000 dollars and two years in prison!)