The Evolving Nature of Dystopian
Other than their national and generic links as English dystopias, Huxley Brave New World, Orwell Nineteen Eighty-four, and Burgess A Clockwork Orange share few surface similarities. A cursory comparison reveals numerous differences in style, narration, imagery, tone, and structure. Yet all three works satirize contemporary concerns in such a way as to preserve their dystopian warnings for later generations of readers. A substantial element of these novels's timelessness comes from their shared concern with language and freedom, issues whose relevance has not faded. It is this shared concern that unites these three, very different, novels as dystopias to begin with. Furthermore, despite their differences, one may perceive specific shared structures and plot devices within these novels, devices that have become standard tools for dystopian writers. Many of these tools revolve around language--the best example being the interpolation of other fictional texts that directly affect the main narrative. Finally, the centrality of language and its relationship to individual freedom and State control constitutes the most comprehensive distinction between dystopia and science fiction proper--a genre whose claims on the novels by Huxley, Orwell and Burgess are otherwise numerous.
As Krishan Kumar has dryly noted, the majority of literary utopias "are not very distinguished for their aesthetic qualities as works of literature," with such rare exceptions as More Utopia and Morris News from Nowhere ( 1987, ix).