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114 votes
Accepted

Movie where protagonist time-travels to dystopian future when people become mentally degraded

Idiocracy IMDb has the following summary for the film: Private Joe Bauers, the definition of "average American", is selected by the Pentagon to be the guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation ...
TheLethalCarrot's user avatar
  • 144k
87 votes
Accepted

Humorous essay on dystopian novel tropes

This has surely got to be "It’s A Bunch of Years After The War And Everything Is Different", a humorous piece by Daniel Mallory Ortberg dated 11 February 2014. It's short but here are a few ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 135k
73 votes
Accepted

Novel set in the future, children cannot change the class they are born into, one class is made uneducated by associating books with pain

"Babies having to associate books and electrocution" is most certainly Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley. You can read the whole text here (I'm assuming huxley.net is a legit source). The ...
Jenayah's user avatar
  • 57.8k
69 votes
Accepted

A universe not quite like ours

The Forest of Time by Michael Flynn. I read it in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifth Annual Collection: The story is told from the perspective of Oberleutnant Rudolf Knecht, Chief Scout of the ...
John Rennie's user avatar
55 votes

Sci fi short story or radio play of man who ends up on death row for a minor infraction...bureaucracy and obscure laws are real culprits

The short story that the radio play was based on may be Gordon R. Dickson's Computers Don't Argue. A similar question was asked not too long ago, and this story was the answer to it. The story is ...
Null's user avatar
  • 69.9k
53 votes
Accepted

Sci fi short story or radio play of man who ends up on death row for a minor infraction...bureaucracy and obscure laws are real culprits

Null has identified the written story that radio play was based on as "Computers Don't Argue" by Gordon R. Dickson, which was also the answer to this old question and this one. I'm adding ...
user14111's user avatar
  • 164k
50 votes
Accepted

Really bizarre dystopian children’s film with hundreds of young boys forced to play piano

That's The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T a 1953 Technicolor American musical fantasy film about a boy who dreams himself into a fantasy world ruled by a diabolical piano teacher enslaving children to ...
eshier's user avatar
  • 13.1k
44 votes
Accepted

Older science fiction book about time travel to retrieve things but they went sideways through the dimensions instead

This is The Flight of the Horse by Larry Niven. It's a fixup novel built from a compilation of stories about the hapless Hanville Svetz who is tasked with retrieving the things you mention. The ...
John Rennie's user avatar
42 votes
Accepted

Story about a girl who discovers she lives in an "exhibition" and manages to escape to Indianapolis/Minneapolis

I found the book! It is called Running out of Time (1995) by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Jessie Keyser is a 13-year-old girl from the village of Clifton, Indiana, in the 1840s. During a village-wide ...
opr's user avatar
  • 521
36 votes
Accepted

90s (or earlier) short story concerning two mathematicians and "dark numbers"

I wonder if this is "The Masters" collected in Ursula Le Guin's The Wind's Twelve Quarters? There are no "dark numbers", but there are "black numbers" (i.e. numbers represented using Arabic numerals) ...
Lexible's user avatar
  • 22k
35 votes
Accepted

80s 90s movie involving a futuristic society with no crime

This is the TV movie, Tempting Fate (1998). A brain surgeon lost his chance to be with his dream girl and opts for a friend's invention bringing him to a parallel world, where the dream girl is "...
LogicDictates's user avatar
34 votes

Movie or book about people kept in a type of prison where if their name came up in a lottery, they'd be subject to experiments and/or organ harvesting

Sounds like the premise for The Island (2005). From Wikipedia: The Island is a 2005 American science fiction action thriller film directed and co-produced by Michael Bay. It stars Ewan McGregor, ...
LogicDictates's user avatar
30 votes
Accepted

Show/miniseries which aired on HBO in the early '90s, featuring "Water Police"

If "WP" stands for "Water & Power" instead of "Water Police" then you might have been watching Tank Girl (1995). It's set in a world where rain has basically stopped ...
DavidW's user avatar
  • 132k
29 votes

Movie where protagonist time-travels to dystopian future when people become mentally degraded

That's Idiocracy, for sure. In a speech, President Camacho gives Joe the impossible job of fixing the nation's food shortages, Dust Bowls, and crippled economy within a week. Joe discovers that ...
Mike Scott's user avatar
  • 62.3k
28 votes
Accepted

Dystopian future, illegal parents are punished by rapid aging

This reminds me of Futu.re (or Будущее) a novel by Dmitry Glukhovsky, first published (in Russian) in 2013. It is set in Europe in the 25th century after the invention of a drug which stops the aging ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
26 votes
Accepted

Sci-fi dystopian novel where not being addicted to any substance is illegal

The bit about addiction being mandatory makes me think of Sheckley's The Status Civilization (1960). The protagonist is Will Barrent, who was convicted of a crime on Earth, mindwiped, and shipped to ...
DavidW's user avatar
  • 132k
25 votes
Accepted

Short story about AI robot who kills all humans except a small group

Likely I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison A mad computer is torturing a small group of humans. One of them eventually takes it upon himself to kill the others with an icicle. I ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 695k
24 votes
Accepted

Title of dystopian story set in an amusement park

"Spending a Day at the Lottery Fair", a short story by Frederik Pohl; first published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, October 1983, available at the Internet Archive. Of ...
user14111's user avatar
  • 164k
24 votes
Accepted

What is the short story about a computer program that employers use to micromanage every aspect of a worker's life?

Manna by Marshall Brain. From the wiki article: The fictional story is set on an unspecified date in the future and begins in Cary, North Carolina. The narrator recalls his first minimum wage job at ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 48k
23 votes
Accepted

What does 0.2 tenths of the population mean?

The Gregory Zilboorg translation renders that line as "0.2" or "two tenths" of the population that did not die out, which suggests that the original text may have said as much. (...
FuzzyBoots's user avatar
  • 228k
22 votes
Accepted

Story where everyone had to get a daily injection of mind control drug

This Perfect Day by Ira Levin. I remembered the foil covered pad to defeat the injections: He was the first one in the dining room; ate and drank, and went back to his room with a cake wrapper folded ...
John Rennie's user avatar
22 votes

Book set in a New Zealand or Australian future society where the rich and poor live separately. Includes a character named Billy, short for Billy Goat

A lot of the information matches with The Sea and Summer, a novel by George Turner, published in 1987 (and released as The Drowning Towers in the USA). The dystopia is set in a near future Melbourne. ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
21 votes

SF story about women being eliminated from Earth by men

Could this be "The Screwfly Solution" by Raccoona Sheldon? (AKA Alice Sheldon, AKA James Tiptree Jr.)? Per wikipedia, the main character is a researcher working in South America. At the end ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 695k
20 votes
Accepted

Film (possibly made for TV) where everyone wears a headset which controls thoughts by suppressing IQ

You're describing Harrison Bergeron (1995). Everyone wears an IQ suppressing headband and everything's very '1950s'. Harrison: Last night, seeing those programs I realized that...Everything looks ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 695k
20 votes
Accepted

Book set in a New Zealand or Australian future society where the rich and poor live separately. Includes a character named Billy, short for Billy Goat

Is this Drowning Towers (1987), alternately titled The Sea and Summer, by George Turner...? According to this review, global warming and rising sea levels have caused economic and ecological disaster....
LogicDictates's user avatar
20 votes
Accepted

A novel about people most of whom are more or less color blind

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde. Hundreds of years in the future, the world is an alarmingly different place. Life is lived according to The Rulebook and social hierarchy is determined by your ...
John Rennie's user avatar
19 votes
Accepted

A dystopian short story where children are raised to be murdered

The short story you refer to is: A.: ONLY THROUGH DEATH WILL YOU LEARN YOUR TRUE IDENTITY By ETGAR KERET, published in Wired magazine and available to read here: https://www.wired.com/2016/12/etger-...
GeorgeN's user avatar
  • 906
19 votes

Short story/novel dystopian where the main character is compelled to buy consumer goods which he packs into a recycling slot

As per Story about a future of over-production, could this be Frederik Pohl's "The Midas Plague"? In a world of cheap energy, robots are overproducing the commodities enjoyed by mankind. ...
FuzzyBoots's user avatar
  • 228k
19 votes

SF cyberpunk graphic novel from 80s involving a habitat called the hoop and its occupants hoopers

This is the first part of Alan Moore's "The Ballad of Halo Jones" which was originally published as a comic strip in 2000AD. It was later printed separately as a graphic novel. We first ...
user23087's user avatar
  • 4,986
19 votes
Accepted

Child in a dystopian city who had to forage for food

The is Outside, by Andre Norton, published in 1975. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic domed city, that was built to protect the inhabitants from the polluted outside world. However, almost a ...
Buzz's user avatar
  • 97.7k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible