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Realistic Sci-Fi Dystopias

Realistic sci-fi dystopias will make you wonder whether or not your life is headed towards a dystopian nightmare.

Sci-fi always has had an obsession with dystopian worlds. There's something about the genre that makes people ask what would happen if history took a "wrong turn," and the future turned out to be less bright than we'd have hoped it to be. 

The effect that stories set in dystopias have can be pretty interesting. Sometimes, the less realistic sci-fi dystopias almost look like they'd be fun to live in. Other times, we might look at dystopianism with some humor - like how we do with Idiocracy. 

Then, there are some dystopian worlds that aren't funny or thrilling. They seem too close to the truth to make us smile or laugh. Rather, with these ultra realistic sci-fi dystopias, we tend to feel uncomfortable or unsettled simply because they just seem a bit too real. 

If you love dystopian worlds that have that uncanny realism to them, you our list of the most realistic sci-fi dystopias to ever be conceived. Do you see the similarities between these worlds and ours?


We can't really have a list of realistic sci-fi dystopias without mentioning one of the most famous books to really broach the idea of dark futurism. In George Orwell's notoriously terrifying dystopian society, conformity is the number one key to survival. 

Thoughtcrime, double-speak, and the all-watching eyes of a mysterious figurehead known only as Big Brother kept citizens in line. Humanity had become reduced to an amoral machine where memories never really existed beyond state-approved statements. 

Nowadays, we have technology that spies on every little thing we do. Our government is pushing press to discuss "alternative facts," much like the subtle ways that the 1984 government would alter what they said in the past using press releases. We've even found out that our government has played a part in using social engineering to quash dissent. 

It was so chilling that Orwell's smash hit book was adapted into a movie and an Apple commercial, and remains a major cultural icon that continues to persist to this day. 

For all intents and purposes, we now live in an Orwellian society - and it's kind of terrifying that a book written so much earlier ended up creating our own dystopia's fictional counterpart.  In terms of accuracy, 1984 is currently one of the most realistic sci-fi dystopias to ever be conceived. 

Brave New World

Perhaps the other most well know book involving dystopianism and dark futurism would be Aldous Huxley's Brave New World

This book, as many know, took place 26th century where society has become insanely authoritarian. People are bred to perform specific tasks, are conditioned to like certain things and hate others, and the caste system has become segregated via genetic engineering. 

People are kept happy by sex games, pill-popping, and brainwashing. The people in Brave New World don't care about reading a book, rebelling, or doing much of anything aside what they're supposed to do. Why would they? It's a strangely utopian brand of dystopianism. 

To a point, it seems like we may be living the exact same thing. We currently are dealing with a major anti-intellectual movement in the US, and it's one that uses entertainment and drug usage as a way to alleviate issues that should be confronted and fixed. As a result, Huxley's world also makes the list of the most realistic sci-fi dystopias ever created. 


One of the newest films to be brought about by Neill Blomkamp was Elysium, a movie all about the soon-to-be dystopian world that is Earth. The time is 2154. The vast majority of people on earth are starving, poor, and surrounded by insane levels of toxic pollution. 

The rich, however, still live idyllic lives in a space station called Elysium. There, they have age-reversing technology, medical cures for every ailment, and all the luxuries they could want. 

The entire movie talks about how smugglers would try to break into Elysium, and how the poor worked to try to take over the rich's exclusive bastion away from the hell that planet earth has become. In a word, it's a clash between the rich and poor societies over sciences that could have helped everyone. 

It doesn't take much to see why Elysium is one of the most realistic sci-fi dystopias to be created. Most scientists believe that humanity will be extinct in about 200 years because we are rapidly making the earth uninhabitable. 

The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood's most famous sci-fi novel, The Handmaid's Tale, has become the topic of discussion among feminists ever since Trump was elected president. In it, America has been overtaken by Christian zealots who use torture in the name of "security," and who have all but stripped women of any right or identity. 

The unsettling thing about this is that many of the things that women faced in The Handmaid's Tale are already happening throughout the country. Restricted access to birth control, "Quiverfull" movements, and heavy emphasis on Christianity as a political movement are happening. 

It's worrisome, and it makes the book all the more terrifying in its uncanny ability to predict the future. As a result, this definitely had to rank on our list of the most realistic sci-fi dystopias ever made. 

The Iron Heel

Perhaps one of the earliest sci-fi dystopias, the world portrayed in Jack London's 1908 novel, The Iron Heel has basically already come true. In this, the US is ruled by a rich oligarchy that has totally bankrupt the middle class. So, now, the US has only rich tyrants and the larger lower class. 

Considering that there have been uprisings of the "99%" groups, and seeing how the current political climate seems to be an attack on the middle class, it's safe to say that The Iron Heel isn't just one of the most realistic sci-fi dystopias ever created; it's actually a pretty accurate depiction of modern American societies. 

The Drowned World

In the genre of environmental dystopianism, J.G. Ballard's The Drowned World stands out as a very early, very prescient look into the world after global warming takes hold. In fact, that's why it's one of the most realistic sci-fi dystopias dealing with environmentalism. 

Though the book was penned in 1962, there are a lot of very uncanny and downright disturbing similarities between our reality and this dystopian world. 

The polar ice caps melted, entire cities ended up underwater, and whether people liked it or not, Mother Nature retook much of the world. Considering that the polar ice caps recently had a massive crack, the potential of global warming drowning our world just skyrockted. 

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