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