A dystopia is a society that is characterized as frightening and undesirable. Dystopias are frequently depicted in stories and novels set in the future, and are the defining settings within the dystopian fiction category.
Dystopian fiction typically features extreme forms of poverty, injustice, suffering, oppression and other types of dysfunction and may be set in the aftermath of natural or man-made disasters.
Often the aim of dystopian fiction is to illustrate the author's take on how certain issues that exist in the real world might develop in the future. Fictional dystopias may therefore represent exaggerations of the real world.
Many works of fiction combine depictions of dystopia and utopia to explore how societies could evolve if different choices were made. Dystopian fiction is usually categorized as part of the broader genre of science fiction or speculative fiction.