Dystopian literature is a potent vehicle for criticizing existing social conditions and political systems. While utopian literature portrays ideal worlds, dystopian literature depicts the flaws and failures of imaginative societies. Often these societies are related to utopias, and the dystopian writers have chosen to reveal shortcomings of those social systems previously considered ideal. This reference overviews dystopian theory and summarizes and analyzes numerous dystopian works. By reviewing the critical thought of particular dystopian theorists, the beginning of the volume provides a theoretical context for the remainder of the book. Because dystopian literature is so closely related to utopian writing, the reference profiles and discusses eight important utopian works. The rest of the book includes entries for numerous dystopian novels, plays, and films. Each entry summarizes the work and discusses dystopian themes. The entries include short bibliographies, with full bibliographic information provided at the end of the volume. This comprehensive guide covers the full period from Thomas More's Utopia to the present day.