5 dystopian worlds in science fiction
Science fiction can show us many different worlds, and I don’t just mean different planets. Different governments and different ways of living are interesting too. One of my favourites is the dystopian world, showing a parallel or future world where things aren’t quite as nice and rosy as they are now.
Here’s some examples of dystopian worlds in science fiction.
The 2002 film Equilibrium showed us a world where emotions and any kind of are artistic expression are outlawed, and citizens take regular doses of a drug to suppress their emotions. The film is set in the dystopian city-state of Libria, where citizens are ruled over by a totaltarian government led by a figurehead known as “father” who is seen on many TV screens across the city much like Big Brother in Orwells 1984 (mentioned below).
One of the most influential dystopian worlds, George Orwell’s book 1984 was so powerful it has inspired many other stories. A totalitarian government rules the Oceanian province of “Airstrip One”, and uses many techniques to oppress and control the people, including propaganda, constant surveillance, and the constant rewriting of history. If people within the state think differently to “the party”, they are accused of thought crime and punished and tortured.
Blade Runner is a film noir set in a futuristic metropolis where the main character hunts genetically engineered organic robots called replicants. The city is polluted, miserable and always dark. The opening shot shows the city from above, with towering multi-story buildings, huge industrial factory towers, and a thick layer of smog over the city which never seems to break.
V for Vendetta
Set in a near-futuristic London where the fear of terrorism has made people vote in a totaltarian government under the fascist “Norsefire” party. Secret police capture and kill people who they feel opposes the views of the government, as well as people admitting to be gays and lesbians. Civilians are further oppressed by the corrupt government with a curfew meaning they can’t travel the streets at night.
SEE ALSO: Giving your characters flaws
Children of men
This film shows us a near-future Britain where no more babies are being born. Society is breaking down due to hysteria and depression as there’s no new generation of children to replace the people who die. At the start of the film we’re shown that the rest of the world has collapsed into chaos and “only Britain soldiers on”. All sense of hope for the future has been lost and the government has issued suicide kits to give people the choice of when to die. There’s even cynical graffiti seen throughout the city saying “last one to die please turn out the light”. The government has become corrupt and has turned to killing and deporting immigrants.
Using these worlds to inspire your own dystopian world
If you want to create your own dystopian world, you’d do worse than to look at this list. Watch the films, read the books and use them to inspire worlds your characters visit in your own stories.
Why not use one as the setting of a new roleplaying game on OngoingWorlds?