Science fiction is probably my favourite genre of fiction. When I first discovered Dystopia I was less keen (for reasons outlined, below), but my attitude has changed considerably over the years - which is just as well since Dystopian fiction is so prominant that it is difficult for a sci-fi fan to avoid, particularly in Young Adult fiction,
That said, I have my own idea of what Dystopia is. For me, in the same way that horror is supposed to evoke a sense of fear, Dystopia is supposed to evoke a sense of dread and anxiety. If a horror isn't scary, it isn't doing it's job. To me the same applies to Dystopia. Sometimes it is difficult to indentify what is causing that uncomfortable feeling; its about sensing that something terrible is just around the corner, but not knowing what. Sometimes it takes the form of dramatic irony - when the reader knows what terrible things are going to happen to characters, but the characters themselves have no idea. There are many great examples but two that come to mind are George Orwell's 'Animal Farm' and Kazuo Ishiguro's 'Never Let me Go'.
My problem with some modern Dystopian fiction is the absence of that sense of dread. For the month of February, my book review blog Sooz Book Reviews will be dedicated to Dystopia and will look at which of the chosen books do, and which ones do not, do the job of making us feel uncomfortable.