I was doing my re-read of Angelfall by Susan Ee (for about the fiftieth time that week), and this idea suddenly just popped into my head. What is the difference between Dystopia and Science Fiction? It's not the hardest topic, and the answer isn't rocket science. But first off, here is the dictionary definition for the two genres:
Dystopia: Relating to or denoting an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one
Science Fiction: Fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets.
The reason I'm writing this post (and how this topic got my attention in the first place) is because I noticed that a lot of dystopian books are YA, and science fiction is not.
Now, of course that's not exactly true. There are plenty of really popular (almost as popular as dystopia) science fiction YA books on the shelves today, same with dystopia and adult and new adult. However, as a reader, I still noticed that the majority of dystopian books are YA.
Why is that?
As a YA myself (and a huge lover for hate/love relationships in dystopia), I have to say that I really do prefer dystopian books way over science fiction. There is a certain...appealing feeling when reading a book about a world that has gone to shit. (And I just realized how wrong that sounds). I love reading books where the heroine has to survive in a world and whatnot. Not to add on many of the best kick-ass heroines I've ever seen came from a dystopia world (boys too).
Another weird thing I noticed is that dystopia at times are more like science fiction than science fiction, and science fiction can be more fantasy than science fiction. Because dystopia usually takes in real possible disastrous situations like global warming, climate problems, diseases, etc (with technologies and occasional slight paranormal/fantasy factors), it's more science fiction. But science fiction is so 'science fiction' at times, that with all the colorful spaceships and aliens, it seems more like fantasy than science fiction.
In other words, dystopia shows us what our world can become in the worst possible way, but science fiction not only shows us that, but how we can grow and improve as well as solve the possible obstacles coming our way.
Just thinking about this is making my head hurt. But to be honest, I will always prefer dystopia over science fiction 😛