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A dystopia (alternatively referred to as a cacotopia), is an imaginary future society that is severely dysfunctional. It is the inverse of an utopia. Dystopias are generally portrayed to be societies that completely ban certain freedoms, rights, way of life or thinking that would seem to hamper the governance of the dystopian societies. Such dystopias are usually authoritarian or totalitarian in nature, for example the government of Ingsoc in the novel 1984 by George Orwell. Dystopias are often portrayed in a post-war scenario.

A number of fictional works about dystopias have been written as warnings of current trends that the author sees as leading to disaster. Well known dystopian novels are Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.