English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

There are many speculative fiction pieces that are labeled "dystopian" and some "utopian". Is there a specific word for the reasoned middle ground?

Please let me know if this is better suited to the SciFi and Fantasy Site instead.

share|improve this question
How about "real world"? – kiamlaluno Jul 9 '11 at 15:21
There's an interesting discussion of the continuum here: tor.com/blogs/2011/04/the-dystopia-utopia-dichotomy – Optimal Cynic Jul 9 '11 at 15:42
How about "ambiguous"? – Peter Shor Jul 9 '11 at 18:55
My favorite phase of doom: the downward spiral! I finally get to let my inner cynic play! – shinyspoongod Jun 19 '12 at 9:01
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I think you are setting up a false dichotomy, or at least a false middle-ground between them. There are many sub-genres of speculative fiction other than utopian and dystopian: time travel, alternate history, cyberpunk (which may be a sub-genre of dystopian itself), military, apocalyptic — those are all I can think of at the moment, but I'm sure there are more.

share|improve this answer

The word you're looking for is neutropia.

Neutropia is a form of speculative fiction that does not neatly fit into categories of utopia or dystopia. Neutropia often involves a state that is both good and bad or neither.

share|improve this answer
If this is true, it would be interestng if you could cite some concrete examples of neutropia being used to describe existing works of speculative fiction. Other than that, I like the word. +1 – Canis Lupus Jun 15 '13 at 15:44

Realistic or normal, perhaps?

share|improve this answer

Altopia- where alt is for utopia. This is a suggestion, and not a word I have come across. Otherwise Neutropia

share|improve this answer

In science fiction the genre utopian is a prognostication of our world in the future. The author can have an optimistic view as in Looking backward, 1887, by Edward Bellamy, USA. But such optimistic utopias are rare. Most utopias are negative as George Orwell's 1984. For these the term dystopia has come up. What would be a utopia that is neither positive nor negative? It would be a description of our world as it is today, but that is not a purpose of the genre science fiction. It would be a realistic or satirical novel, in any case, it would be a different genre.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.