Human drama hides behind science fiction's settings

My top 5 political science fiction books


I have been working for a long time on this post, and I'm still not 100% sure about it, but one thing is certain, if I keep on waiting for it to be "perfect" it will never be published, and besides this is my personal list, so if you disagree with the inclusion (or exclusion) of a given book, please let me know in the comments. These are five individual novels that have shaped political science fiction over the past century, and as such I have chosen them as five must reads for anyone interested in this subject; I am working also on a post about sagas, trilogies and series, so you will not find here some titles that would seem obvious otherwise.

1. A Brave New World - Aldous Huxley. Coming from a society as structured and divided by social class as early 20th century England, this is one sharp critique of the direction society was taking at the time, and even today it still has some troubling warnings to be heeded. If you haven't read it be sure to grab a copy of it as soon as you can.

2. 1984 - George Orwell. This has been labeled by many scholars, critics and readers as the definition of a Totalitarian Dystopia. Given that Orwell was himself a socialist, this grim vision of a world of want and control strikes a chord with most of us, and the term Orwellian has become a steeple of totalitarianism. Another classic that if you haven't read, you are missing out.

3. The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin. As the author herself has said, this book is nothing more than a speculative exercise, thinking about the relations existing between gender, sexual interaction and power; this is a book that departs from the familiar setting of planet earth, and plunges us into an alien world, but the questions it poses make it a must read, especially for those interested in gender issues.

4. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood. What would happen if society was somehow, inexplicably, thrown into the hands of extremist conservatives, where women are thrown back to the role of breeders, little more than objects and possessions for the dominant males of society. A grim and thoughtful work, that reflects upon our societal values about gender relations.

5. Space Merchants - Frederik Pohl. This is one story that could perfectly have been written this year (as long as you overlook some of the props in the scenes), because it reflects two concerns of today's society: rampant environmental destruction on behalf of industrial growth, and the power of marketing and advertising to subvert men's wills (well not as much as that but pretty close). It's interesting to see how some social concerns don't fade but just change in appearance and packaging; this novel is a must read for conspiracy theorists.

I hope you enjoy this short list and that it will help you find some of the landmark political novels in science fiction history. And if you buy one of the books from the links provided here I will be eternally grateful to you. Oh and if you have anything to add (be it praise or criticism) please be sure to leave it in the comments.

Comments

  1. A great list! Definitely adding these to the TBR pile :)

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    1. If you have any other books you feel should be here, please tell me about them

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  2. we have a amazing writer for science fiction Clara Bush

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