I've decided to start a new post series. These will be called "discussions". Basically I will just talk about something related to books because I have been finding that there are several topics [about books] I would like to talk about. Please leave your thoughts on whatever I am talking about below. Also, often these discussions will be in the form of Thoughts for Thursday, a meme from Books as Wings, but this way I can also post my own topics and post when I want to. The first topic is "dystopia or non-dystopia".
I have often seen many people confuse post-apocalyptic fiction with dystopia, and it drives me crazy. I have even seen public websites with legal rights state that books such as "Life as We Knew It" by Susan Beth Pfeffer are dystopia, which (in my opinion) is a lie. I believe dystopia as a book genre to be a government corrupted to create a totalitarian or "bad" society. Books like "Angelfall" or "Life as We Knew It" speak of the end of our world, but not a government that has taken complete control such as The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins or Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.
However, all this poses the question: How do you determine if the book you are reading is dystopia or post-apocalyptic fiction? I think you have to look for a few elements. First of all, how far in the future is it? If it's far away, and things have evolved, it could be dystopia. Another indicator is that they mention previous society with another name, like "Rusties" (Uglies) or "Wreckers" (blood red road). Finally, look for a corrupted government-- This almost never fails. :)
To be honest, I, as a general statement, prefer dystopia over post-apocalyptic fiction because I love learning about all the different corrupt societies. That being said, there are a lot of awesome post-apocalyptic fiction books out there.
What are your thoughts?