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You Would Not Want to Live in Dex

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"If I owned this place and Hell, I'd rent this place out and live in Hell."
Toombs, on Crematoria, The Chronicles of Riddick (and paraphrasing a quote about Texas usually attributed to Philip Henry Sheridan)

Because there are so many types of Dystopian settings, a Supertrope index was needed.

This is intended to cover both those settings where virtually any honest, decent, rational people wouldn't want to live if they had a better choice, and those that while some people REALLY wouldn't want to live here, others would find them to be a paradise or at least acceptable.


For settings that are Dystopias for those who hate regional or National Stereotypes, please see the Hollywood Atlas. When the oppressed fight back, see Civil Unrest Tropes. Compare Being in This Index Sucks.

The Big House: It might look a warm and cozy place to spend the night, but most guests are going to be gravely disappointed.

  • Amusement Park of Doom: An amusement park that's dangerous due to either being abandoned and in poor condition, or being run by evil characters.
  • Bedlam House: A loony bin that's old-fashioned, has abusive staff, and is usually unsanitary.
  • Bleak Abyss Retirement Home: Sending an old relative to a retirement home is a source of drama, the home itself is either dingy or boring, and the staff are at best patronising and at worst abusive.
  • Boarding School of Horrors: A boarding school with mean teachers, bullies, and bad living conditions.
  • Cloud Cuckooland (in examples showcased In-Universe to be harsh places to live in): A place full of wacky customs.
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  • Circus of Fear: A circus that's abusive and/or run by supernatural horrors.
  • Daycare Nightmare: A daycare where the workers are either mean to the kids, too patronising, or have a bad time themselves.
  • Dystopian Oz: A Dark Parody or dark adaptation of Land of Oz.
  • Gas Station of Doom: Horror movies that feature lonely American gas stations.
  • Haunted House: A house that's either haunted by evil spirits or appears to be.
  • Hell Hotel: A hotel that's scary, often due to being abandoned or run by a shady character.
  • Inn of No Return: A place for accommodation that kills the people who stay there and steals from their corpses.
  • Locked in the Dungeon: A character gets imprisoned in a dungeon.
  • Menagerie of Misery (for animals, especially those from wild species): A zoo or similar that's abusive.
  • Old, Dark House: A spooky old house with poor lighting, in which people get murdered.
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  • Orphanage of Fear: An orphanage where the orphans are abused (usually via being punished severely and unfairly), made to do nasty chores, served bad food, and aren't allowed to play.
  • Pounds Are Animal Prisons (for animals, especially stray house pets): Pounds are portrayed as analogous to prisons.
  • Prison (especially The Alcatraz, Hellhole Prison and Tailor-Made Prison): A show is set in prison.
  • Sickening Slaughterhouse: A slaughterhouse that's even messier than real-life slaughterhouses, neglectful to the workers, and/or inhumane to the animals.
  • Sucky School: A school which is bad at teaching due to budget issues, and usually full of bullies and mean teachers.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: A small town, where all the citizens are in on a terrible secret.
  • Überwald: A castle in a rural Eastern European neighbourhood that harbours a suspicious character such as a vampire or Mad Scientist.

After the End: see Apocalyptic Index.

Nightmare worlds: It's Nightmare Fuel and doesn't bother to hide it.

Too Good To Be True: Just like a Utopia...Until you scratch the surface.

There Ain't No Justice: Possibly a good place to hide from authorities, if you can keep from being victimized yourself.

Not So Bad: A bit smelly, a bit sour, but it's ours. (Or to quote Aladdin: "It's barbaric, but hey, it's home.")

  • Advert-Overloaded Future: The future is full of ads.
  • Bad Present: The present is fine for us, 'cause we're used to it, but the time-traveller from the past sees it as bad.
  • The Dung Ages: The Dark Ages are portrayed as grody but not terrible.
  • Dingy Trainside Apartment: A cheap, dilapidated urban apartment next to train tracks.
  • Doomed Hometown: The place the hero first appears in will get destroyed.
  • Dying Town: A town that isn't thriving.
  • Egopolis: Dictators renaming towns after themselves.
  • Ghost Town: A town that's abandoned or has very few citizens. Often portrayed as spooky but not straight-up evil.
  • Hated Hometown: A character hates the place they grew up in.
  • Horrible Housing: A house in poor condition, meant to highlight the residents' poverty.
  • Industrial Ghetto: A poverty-ridden, usually polluted, industrial neighbourhood.
  • It Is Beyond Saving: Those who disagree will likely consider it more along the lines of this. Again, whether it belongs here or "there ain't no justice" is up for interpretation.
  • Lost World: A place that's kept off the maps.
  • Quirky Town: Those that don't have a dark secret can actually be pretty nice when you get used to them... or at least get used to not being able to get used to them.
  • Scavenger World: When a lot of people are killed, the rest has to scavenge as they don't know how to make things.
  • School Is Murder: Students are routinely murdered by monsters, but it's the only school in town.
  • Throw-Away Country: A made-up country that disaster strikes.
  • Used Future: In Rust We Trust!. Namely, sci-fi tech that looks dingy and used but works.
  • A World Half Full: A world that's dark and gritty but there's hope.


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