I would define dystopia as a society devoid of liberty.
I previously defined dystopia as a world without freedom, but I have since then changed it to a society without liberty. The two words are very similar, but I made this change because the word “liberty” has a wider scope of topics and actions it could apply to. One example is Putin’s Russia during the invasion of Ukraine. According to the Washington Post, Putin is giving out prison sentences of up to 15 years for anything declared “fake news”. This action is extremely dystopian as it impedes Russians’ liberty by revoking free speech under the threat of imprisonment. Widespread censorship is a classic theme in dystopias, but liberty also covers less obvious forms of dystopia. As Kim Stanley Robinson points out in his essay “Dystopias Now”, the impending threat of climate change could lead to a biospheric dystopia in the future. While this might be a singular government impeding on its citizens’ rights, there a still a lack of liberty. As sea levels rise and temperatures increase, many people may lose their homes to flooding or their food security to drought and changing climates. Liberty is more than just free speech or the right to bear arms. Collective inaction over the decades may cause future generations to lose their liberty to food, water, and shelter to climate change.