Word of the Day: Dystopian

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Dystopian [dĭs-tō’pē-ən] (or dystopic) is the adjective form of dystopia, a place in which people live in misery. It derives from the literary invention of Utopia, an imaginary place in which human misery has been eliminated. The terms are common in film criticism.

The end is nigh in Children of Men, the superbly directed political thriller by Alfonso Cuarón about a nervously plausible future. Based in broad outline on the 1992 dystopian novel by P. D. James about a world suffering from global infertility, the film pictures a world that looks a lot like our own, but darker, grimmer and more frighteningly, violently precarious. (New York Times)

“Fictional dystopias are almost always cautionary tales – warnings of where our political, cultural and social surroundings are taking us. The novels here all share common motifs: designer drugs, mass entertainment, brutality, technology, the suppression of the individual by an all-powerful state – classic preoccupations of dystopian fiction. These novels picture the worst because, as Swift demonstrated in his original cautionary tale, Gulliver’s Travels, re-inventing the present is sometimes the only way to see how bad things already are.” (The Guardian guardian.co.uk)

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3 thoughts on “Word of the Day: Dystopian”

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