40 Sub-Genres and Types of Dystopian Society

A dystopia is a community or society that is undesirable or frightening (Wikipedia.) An imagined world or society in which people lead wretched, dehumanized, fearful lives (Merriam-Webster.) A dystopia is a fictional world where people live under a highly controlled totalitarian system. (Vocabulary.com)

There is a lot of discussion on what is or is not a dystopian society, and what fits into the genre. Today I’m throwing the net nice and wide. Seems like a good time to take a look at what’s out there in dystopian stories with all the COVID-19 craze (our state closed schools for the rest of the month.)

All of these stories (note: I’m including movies in this list) have societies that have frightening aspects, and they all have B-I-G dysfunctions. In my mind, that’s what defines a dystopia, it may look like a normal society or utopia, most of the people living there may be unaware of the dysfunctions, but when you get to the heart of it “things are rotten in the state of…”

Note: I’m only including titles I’ve read or watched. If your favorite dystopian story didn’t make the list leave me a comment!

  1. Blade Runner – Cyberpunk dystopian
  2. By the Feet of Men – Climate dystopia (see my review)
  3. Holes – Juvenile Detention dystopia
  4. Deus Irae – Post-apocalyptic dystopia
  5. Starship Troopers – Military dystopia
  6. Uglies – Beauty dystopia
  7. Numbers Game – Everybody has a score dystopia
  8. Logan’s Run – Society of Youth dystopia
  9. Firefly – Space Totalitarian dystopia
  10. The Matrix – Reality dystopia
  11. Partials – Near-extinction dystopia
  12. Hunger Games – Competition dystopia
  13. Divergent – Faction dystopia
  14. The Maze Runner – Puzzling dystopia
  15. Fury Road – Dystopia dystopia
  16. Unwind – teenagers aren’t real people dystopia
  17. Ender’s Game – Kids at war dystopia
  18. Fahrenheit 451 – Reading dystopia
  19. The Dark Tower – Wandering Gunslinger in a dystopia
  20. 1984 – Party line dystopia
  21. Powerless – Power = Privileged dystopia
  22. The Lunar Chronicles – Moon Mistress dystopia
  23. Mary Poppins – Gaslighting Nanny dystopia
  24. Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said – You’re forgotten dystopia
  25. Venom and Vanilla – Mythical Monster Segregation dystopia
  26. City of Ember – Escaping dystopia
  27. The Running Man – Cash Grab dystopia
  28. A Series of Unfortunate Events – No one cares properly for children dystopia
  29. The Door in the Wall – Plague caused dystopia
  30. Seventh Tower – Sun-Starved dystopia
  31. Ready Player One – Real world dystopia/ Virtual world paradise
  32. The Lathe of Heaven – Dream to dystopia
  33. Titan A.E. – Post Earth dystopia
  34. Lord of the Flies – Children run this dystopia
  35. Fight Club – Making a dystopia
  36. Equilibrium – Feelings dystopia
  37. Gattaca – Genetic dystopia
  38. Snowpiercer – Dystopia on rails
  39. NeverSea – Flooded dystopia
  40. The Scourge – What you can’t see dystopia

Whew! What a list to put together. I know I’ve left of quiet a few. What’s your favorite dystopian story? How would you define a dystopia?

Are you stuck at home because of COVID-19, if so what are you reading? Leave me a note in the comments section to let me know. ☺

3 thoughts on “40 Sub-Genres and Types of Dystopian Society

  1. What about the movie, “The Island”? What kind of dystopia is that? Farming humans for parts dystopia?

    Mary Poppins – Gaslighting Nanny dystopia, haha!

  2. This is a great list – I see some of the ones I’ve watched before like The Matrix, Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, and Gattaca. I remember after watching those films, my mind was literally blown away. I’ll check out the others on your list. Thank you and please stay safe!

  3. This was a fun list to read! #23, haha. Although I didn’t really care for the book, The Giver is one I always think of when I hear dystopia… I think because of the slow reveal to the fact that it is a dystopian rather than utopian society. I don’t read a lot of dystopian novels myself, I think. If anything, I read more post-apocalyptic fiction which I have learnt is not always the same as dystopian!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *