From the end of the world to a raging plague, fictional dystopian futures give an insight into a possible real prospect for our society. Some dystopian worlds emphasize class division, while others show that everyone, no matter your gender, race, or status, is all doomed to follow the new political rule. The regimes can often be cruel, forcing children into situations they are not ready for. Less commonly, adults lead the charge of a revolution.
But no matter the iteration, the main character in these imaginary dystopias tends to be the catalyst of the change necessary in the coming world. Not every dystopian future is possible, though, even if some seem scarily plausible. So here are 5 young adult dystopian futures that are shockingly realistic, along with 5 that are completely impossible.
10 IMPOSSIBLE: THE HUNGER GAMES
In the country of Panem, in the aftermath of years of war, the government decided on a new way to prevent massive destruction, the Hunger Games. For seventy-five years, the Capitol watched on as citizens from the nation’s twelve districts fought to the death. Two from each district, a male and female between the ages of twelve and eighteen, must compete in a literal bloodbath.
But what makes this future improbable is the lack of intervention from the rest of the world. History shows that other countries would get involved to prevent dictatorships and spread of communism, but no one makes any move to stop the slaughter that comes from the arena. The lack of involvement from other countries have made fans wonder what the rest of the world has been up to.
9 REALISTIC: THE HANDMAID’S TALE
This may be the most terrifying future of all because it is deeply rooted in a world that used to exist. Gilead is the new United States of America, at least on the east coast. Taking place in New England, The Handmaid’s Tale follows June (also known as Offred) during her journey as handmaid, and she is how we learn how the world became this way.
The world has men as commanders, their wives unable to bear children, and the Handmaids are meant to carry a child of the Commander in his wife’s stead. In this future the population has plummeted due to widespread infertility, but it is still a world where women are treated as objects rather than humans.
8 IMPOSSIBLE: DIVERGENT
Divergent is often compared to The Hunger Games, and in this scenario, the comparison holds up. Tris is the protagonist in a society where humans are believed only to fit into only one of five factions, or else they are Divergent, a dangerous individual.
To its credit, the series tries to justify that the rest of the world faced wars and difficulties of their own outside Chicago, explaining that where Tris grew up, and the wall surrounding them, were due to their world being an experiment rather than reality. However, the novels make the environment seem too convoluted to believe it could have been a natural outcome of the world today.
7 REALISTIC: WAYWARD PINES
In a dying world, one man takes it upon himself to guarantee the future of the human race. The series relies on a human gene defect to explain the change in the world, but while many other attributes of the series follow a small-town mystery format, it stands on a more practical side. To avoid the transformation, he creates a way to continue the human evolution: Wayward Pines.
A small town untouched by destruction, a scientist happily watches as the human race continues to survive until Ethan Burke wakes up, asking questions. After seeing his co-worker, Kate, in town, he is surprised to hear that she has been there for years when he claims she has only been missing a few days.
6 IMPOSSIBLE: THE MAZE RUNNER
The concept of this reality starts with the sun exploding, which creates a new plague, called the flare. The flare kills many adults, but a new generation has a quality that allows them to be immune to the virus. With the world demolished, WICKED places groups of teenagers into an environment together with a maze to test how they respond to stress.
Once they get out of the maze, the survivors move on to the next phase. However, they must avoid becoming a Crank, a person infected with the Flare. Once the virus infects a person, it eats at their brain until the person becomes nothing but a flesh-eating, violent cannibal. The amount of resources and energy it would take to construct multiple mazes in a destroyed world is enough to remove it from the running of possibility.
5 REALISTIC: THE 100
The 100 follows a group of juvenile delinquents exploring the Earth that humanity abandoned nearly one hundred years after the apocalypse. At first, they believe they are alone, but this is proven wrong not long after their arrival. Clarke, Bellamy, and everyone else are introduced to Grounders, people that remained on Earth, and survived Apocalypse One.
By meeting the Grounders, Skaikru falls into a new society and culture, which includes their own sets of religions, traditions, and politics. The series grounds itself in what would happen if the human population had to start all over again as radiation and nuclear weapons had diminished most human advancement.
4 IMPOSSIBLE: THE GIVER
A utopian society where no one knows war, race, or poverty is what separates this world from possibility immediately. Jonas becomes the next in line to receive memories of the way the world used to be before what he knows now.
These memories also clear information up for him, including preventing him from taking the mandatory pill every resident must take during the day. A population rule also dictates the amount of people allowed to be born, even monitoring twins to see which is strong and will let to continue life, and the other would die.
3 REALISTIC: THE SELECTION
Television shows such as The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are proof enough that an experiment like this could survive. In a world of kings and queens, young adult females are chosen throughout the kingdom to join the prince in the castle so he can pick his wife.
America Singer is the protagonist, already in a relationship with another young man when she is chosen to join the Selection. America is not thrilled at being included, as she already has hope for a future she wants. Being forced in the competition, however, opens her eyes to the possibility that she may want more than what she thought.
2 IMPOSSIBLE: VARIANT
After voluntarily enrolling in Maxwell Academy, Benson is accepted but quickly realizes that there is something not right about the school. Certain students do not understand current or well-known pop culture references, claiming they had been at the school for a while. However, they would say they have only been at the school for about two years when the references were from long before then.
Benson later learns the truth that many of the students are not human. Instead, they are robots being tested to infiltrate the world. The school only takes teenagers they believe no one would miss due to lack of friends and family. However, eventually, someone would notice the absence of missing kids.
1 REALISTIC: THE FEED
The evolution of technology is one of the basis for this future in this novel. This world has made cellphones, laptops, tablets, and televisions all obsolete. Instead, everyone has an implant inside their head with the ability to instant message, watch TV, view news, shop, or listen to music.
However, it is technology, so it does not work perfectly. Violet Durn can not actively use The Feed because it was implanted too late in her development, and Titus must learn how to block out The Feed to pay attention to what is in front of him.
NEXT: 10 Sci-Fi Movies That Got the Future Really Wrong