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.

  • 3
    How about "real world"?
    – apaderno
    Jul 9, 2011 at 15:21
  • 1
    There's an interesting discussion of the continuum here: tor.com/blogs/2011/04/the-dystopia-utopia-dichotomy Jul 9, 2011 at 15:42
  • How about "ambiguous"? Jul 9, 2011 at 18:55
  • My favorite phase of doom: the downward spiral! I finally get to let my inner cynic play!
    – user19589
    Jun 19, 2012 at 9:01
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    If you don’t describe it as dystopian, utopian, or somewhere in between and just describe it as it is, you don’t need to muck about with labels and other similar devices. The reader can figure it out. Speculative fiction doesn’t require utopian or dystopian settings. Flexibility is part of its inclusive strength. Jul 2, 2019 at 11:58

5 Answers 5


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.


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.

  • 4
    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 Jun 15, 2013 at 15:44

Realistic or normal, perhaps?


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


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.

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