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When it comes to the future nothing is certain, so fear of the future is not uncommon. Dystopian fiction plays upon these fears by offering visions of the future where society has taken one of the darkest of the possible paths. Citizens can be under the yoke of a totalitarian state or living in a lawless society where a threat sits behind ever corner. These stories tend to be the most political, often expressing contemporary fears and trying to provide dire warnings of what might be.

Orwell's 1984 is a perfect example, not just of this particular sub-genre but also how its message can impact a whole generation of political discourse. It succinctly sums up the sub-genre in one line of dialogue: "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever".

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