TSS: Dystopian as Science Fiction?

Hey there SSers! I hope everyone had wonderful week. I'm happy to report that I still have a month off to leisurely play around and read. I have been so lazy this summer, it being the first I haven't attended any workshops. Hangin' with the friends, reading, traveling. I was totally made to be rich. :)

Earlier this week I was talking to D about Mockingjay coming out soon. *squeal* Is it here yet? Is it here yet? Which led me to think about all of the dystopian fiction that I've read in my life. I've sorta got this love/hate thing going on with dysfic. My first book that I read under this specific genre was Ayn Rand's Anthem alongside Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. I read them simultaneously for a thesis paper my freshman year in high school. I was totally blown away by the concept and recall Anthem being especially intriguing.

I then went on my merry way picking and reading all of the classics deemed brilliant by high school teacher folk and college professor folk. Enter years later when I begin teaching. I read The Giver and absolutely loved it. And even cooler, I loved teaching it. But here's a little tidbit about myself (even if completely sidetracked) I get bored VERY EASILY. So, I rarely teach the same book more than twice, and if I do,it most definitely is not taught more than two consecutive years. Going on my third year I was about to "release" myself. Because of that, I think that I avoided most dysfic because I needed a break.

And then along comes The Forest of Hand and Teeth and Hunger Games and lordy am I hooked all over again. I've been itching to finish these trilogies. They both are so utterly unique to the genre and brilliant in their own right and intriguing and wonderful and and AND (!)(!)(!)

But let's take a time out, aiirght? What if I were to nix the dysfic category, would both be put into the genre of science fiction? Cuz see, how I'm thinking, Hunger Games is definitely leaning more toward the scifi but TFoHaT leans more toward Fantasy/Urban Fantasy. Anthem? Totally scfi. Fahrenheit 451? Scifi too? The Giver? Sci Fi?

And also, is TFoHaT most definitely a dystopian? Or is it merely a rebirthing tale of the earth? A new form of life? New myths? New fairytales? New predators?

What constitutes a dysfic even? Because they're in a perceived future world does that make it science fiction or fantasy or both or neither? Thoughts? And also, what's your favorite dysfic? Least?


  1. I believe technically dystopia is known as "social science fiction," which makes more sense to me. It's science fiction of economics, pyschology, sociology, etc, exploring more the people than the technology that you see in a lot of hard scifi. I've also heard it referred to as speculative fiction, which also makes sense.

  2. I believe that people don't want to call distopian fiction science fiction, basically because they are snobs who believe science fiction is a lower art form. I know that's a bit harsh but every time I hear Margaret Atwood speak on the subject I just want stand up and scream "The Handmaid's Tale is Science Fiction!!! Get over it!!! It's a terrific novel either way!!"

    Okay, I feel better now.

    I'm not a big fan of The Hunger Games. I loved In The Forest of Hands and Teeth but was disappointed by the second book. I'll have my review posted tomorrow. I do think 7-9th graders would love In the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

    I guess I read quite a bit of distopian science fiction. Among my favorites are The Handmaid's Tale, The Road, The Chrysalids, Blindness, and Dahlgren.
    I did not like Oryx and Crake or The Year of the Flood.
    Gee, that is a lot.

  3. C.B. James' comment made me laugh :P I love Atwood, but I often get the same urge.

    I've thought about this before - dystopia gets classified as sci-fi, but some of it could be fantasy too. Or just realistic fiction that is set in the future but doesn't feature anything necessarily science-y. Ah, genre lines... could you get any blurrier?


Talk to me!