Coming Soon!
Dystopian States of America
Apocalyptic Visions and Warnings in Literature and Film
by Matthew B. Hill, Editor
September 2022, 362pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7338-6
$97, £72, 84€, A132
Available for purchase 30 days prior to publication.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7339-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Creative works that portray dystopian worlds have long been among the most influential books and films in American culture. They are, in essence, cautionary tales about the frailties and appetites of humans—and the lengths to which some will go to quench their thirst for power and safety and control.

Dystopian States of America is a crucial resource that studies the impact of dystopian works on American society—including ways in which they reflect our deep and persistent fears about environmental calamities, authoritarian governments, invasive technologies, and human weakness.

Dystopian States of America provides students and researchers with an illuminating resource for understanding the impact and relevance of dystopian and apocalyptic works in contemporary American culture. Through its wide survey of dystopian works in numerous forms and genres, the book encourages readers to connect with these works of fiction and understand how the catastrophically grim or disquieting worlds they portray offer insights into our own current situation.

In addition to providing more than 150 encyclopedia articles on a large and representative sample of dystopian/apocalyptic narratives in fiction, film, television, and video games (including popular works that often escape critical inquiry), Dystopian States of America features a suite of critical essays on five themes—war, pandemics, totalitarianism, environmental calamity, and technological overreach—that serve as the foundation for most dystopian worlds of the imagination. These offerings complement one another, enabling readers to explore dystopian conceptions of America and the world from multiple perspectives and vantage points.


  • Provides readers with an accessible, well-organized, and thorough introduction to dystopian/apocalyptic narratives, with a focus on the ways that these stories foster increased awareness of the world we live in now
  • Casts a wide net to identify dystopian works in diverse genres and forms—from classic novels to video games—reaching beyond "serious" literature to appreciate the depth of this body of work and its impact
  • Covers a wide survey of works—more than 150—in digestible and accessible encyclopedia entries, each contributed by an established scholar in literary studies, film studies, history, or an associated field
  • Provides five extended scholarly essays on recurring subject themes in apocalyptic and dystopian works
Matthew B. Hill, PhD, is professor of English at Coppin State University in Baltimore, MD. He is the author of Unconventional Warriors: The Fantasy of the American Resistance Fighter in Television and Film, and the co-editor of The War on Terror and American Popular Culture: September 11 and Beyond. His articles have appeared in The Journal of American Culture; War, Literature & the Arts; The Journal of Popular Culture; The Mid-Atlantic Almanack; and Extrapolation.
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