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Politics in SF
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Author:  Tony [ Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Politics in SF

Good article by Adam Roberts in Grauniad...
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/a ... al-soul-sf

Lefty or Right-wing... what do IZ readers think?

I'm a big fan of Banks' utopian Culture, and I think Kim Stanley Robinson and Ken MacLeod both write great political SF.

Which SF authors, if any, have influenced your political views?

Author:  Julie Travis [ Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Politics in SF

I’ve been reluctant to post here a) because I don’t want to hog the boards and b) because I’m not a big reader of sf, so I’m probably the least qualified person here to comment, but I did want to make a couple of points: I read Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ and George Orwell’s ‘1984’ (which may well not be considered ‘sf’ in the slightest, but it’s the closest I’ve got) as part of English Lit O Level at school. I was around 13 years old and both novels had a massive impact on me, and still do, because to me they didn’t depict future worlds so much as the present world more or less as I saw it. Orwell’s line (haven’t got the book to hand so it’s probably not word for word): “If you want to see a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face. And remember it is forever,” has guided me throughout my life. That doesn’t mean I’m completely without hope for the human race, I just think it’s realistic. From what I do know of sf, people expect the future to be worse, not better.

A good friend of mine told me off for not having read Ursula Le Guin’s ‘The Dispossessed’, as her worldview would be something I’d be sympathetic to. So that’s something I need to address.

The last point I’d like to make is that an author’s political/moral standpoint makes a big difference to whether or not I’ll buy their books (like any other artist). If they’re completely repugnant to me then I won’t support them in any way. It matters.

Author:  Roy [ Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Politics in SF

Feel free to 'hog the board'.
As for politics and repugnant views I have the feeling that, whatever the author's views, when you buy the new book you may well be more likely to be supporting, say, Rupert Murdoch than a TTA Press type publisher.

Author:  Julie Travis [ Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Politics in SF

Fair comment - there's a lot more than the author involved in getting a book in print.

I very rarely buy books, and when I do it's from charity shops. Politically 'better' I suppose and the only way I can afford them - buying a new book, or anything else, is impossible on my 'income'. Would I go elsewhere if I had more money? I don't think so, but I'd certainly support more of the independent/small press.

Author:  Roy [ Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Politics in SF

Ah you can by books by any author, whatever their politics, as second hand sales don't support any author or publisher. Politics in SF is a hot topic at present as Tony intimated and anything I write would be misconstued by someone. I think Adam Roberts got a way with it by playing a very straight bat in the Guardian.
My own view is that all those looking ahead and seeing a utopia of equality and 'multiculturism' etc before them should look what's coming up behind on the inside rail, if I'm allowed to mix a few metaphors.

Author:  Julie Travis [ Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Politics in SF

"My own view is that all those looking ahead and seeing a utopia of equality and 'multiculturism' etc before them should look what's coming up behind on the inside rail, if I'm allowed to mix a few metaphors."

Not having read much sf, I can't comment on specific books, but I wonder if these are authors seeing the future as they actually think it will/can be, or the future as they'd dearly like it to be?

I would agree that this is not, imho, realistic. Sadly the rise of the Right (in much of Europe) and the big step to the Right that the UK has taken in the last few years (in terms of general public opinion and political 'leadership') gives no cause for optimism!

Author:  Roy [ Sat Jul 05, 2014 3:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Politics in SF

In comparison to my youthful days politics seems to be much more intertwined with religion now. It is a potent brew. Beyond Europe I'm not sure political right and left have the meaning we attribute to them, or any meaning at all.

Author:  Julie Travis [ Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Politics in SF

Quite possibly - in which case, is political sf confined to European and North American writers? Or is it just dealt with in a different way? (I'm not expecting you to answer this, Roy!) To readers of sf, this is probably quite a stupid question, but please remember that I'm writing as an almost total non-reader, so apologies.

As for religion - 'love' appears to be at the heart of many of them, but it gets twisted according to men's needs/prejudices. Good old human nature!

Author:  Roy [ Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Politics in SF

Try some of Ian Mcdonolds post millenium novels http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_McDonald_%28author%29.
I think I can say they utilise near future non weatern European political ideas, problems, possibilities but they are SF.
River of Gods (2004)
Brasyl (2007)
Cyberabad Days (2009)
The Dervish House (2010)

It's not so long since IZ ran Chen Qiufan's The Flower of Shazui, Ken Liu translated for Interzone 243. It was a near-future high-tech thriller set among the migrants that both powered China's economic growth and became its victim. It was originally published in Chinese in 2012 in the anthology "Minority Report".

Author:  Julie Travis [ Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Politics in SF

Nice one.

Thanks, Roy.

Author:  shadowed [ Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Politics in SF

I'm going to have to recheck and make sure I have a copy of that IZ 243.

[quote="Roy"]
It's not so long since IZ ran Chen Qiufan's [i]The Flower of Shazui[/i], Ken Liu translated for Interzone 243. It was a near-future high-tech thriller set among the migrants that both powered China's economic growth and became its victim. It was originally published in Chinese in 2012 in the anthology "Minority Report".[/quote]

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