Ernest Callenbach: Ecotopia (1975)
Ecotopia drew mixed responses from anarchists. For Lessa, Takver & Alyx it was 'an environmentalist's dream come true', but for Milligan 'Ecotopia is a shoddy amalgam of Swedish social democracy, Swiss neutrality, and Yugoslav workers' co-ops cobbled together with the authoritarianism of Blueprint for Survival. [ . . . ] Ecotopia is a flawed vision of a flawed future.' For A.B. 'This is an important book which should not be taken seriously', but is 'unconvincing on the political plane'.
Karel Čapek: R.U.R. (1920)
Berneri, Read, and Woodcock were all familiar with this work, in which the word 'robot' first became common parlance. Read felt that maybe the robot 'is no longer an appropriate symbol for an age of automation. Capek saw men transformed into a machine; we see machines transformed into men.' (Read 1966)
Chris Carlsson: After the Deluge (2004)
Explores an attractive anarchist society in a post-collapse 22nd century San Francisco. The author’s website quotes Anu Bonobo, of Fifth Estate magazine, as describing it as “more an imaginary treasure map than utopia-by-the-numbers blueprint . . .”. Carlsson, in the acknowledgments, depicts the novel simply: “a stab at describing the world I'd like to wake up into.”
Lewis Carroll: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
So much a part of our cultural heritage that for years I didn't include it in this listing. But it has been as familiar to anarchists as to other readers, and was commented on by, for instance, Alex Comfort, Herbert Read, and George Woodcock.
Angela Carter: Heroes and Villains (1969)
For Arthur Wardo, writing in Freedom, this was 'Yet another fantasy of what things will be like after a nuclear war. Angela Carter's novel is one of the more realistic visions however.'
A. Bertram Chandler: The Anarch Lords (1981)
A space opera concerning a planet named Liberia, which had been settled by anarchists. The extent to which the colony had stuck to anarchist principles had varied much over the years. There is now an Original Anarchist Party, which favours a return to basic principles. These, however, are opposed by the entrenched anarchist establishment, ‘the cream of Liberian society, the black-and-scarlet-clad Anarchist grandees and their ladies’ (50, DAW edition). Bakunin has become a demi-god. Not only does Chandler’s knowledge of anarchism tend towards zero, the novel is forgettable third-rate sf.
A.V. Chayanov: The Journey of my Brother Alexei to the Land of Peasant Utopia (1920)
Alexei dozes off while reading Herzen, and wakes in a peasants’ utopia, which is described with some charm; if it was all a dream remains uncertain, as the work is unfinished.
Geoffrey Ostergaard reviewed this work at length in Freedom in 1978, describing it as ‘. . . probably the only and only peasant utopian romance ever written . . .’. (9) ‘. . . Chayanov’s vision of Russia was not an anarchist one, “the marvellous anarchy of Prince Kropotkin”. But it may fairly be described as “libertarian socialist”. In its distrust of the State, in its concern for individual freedom, in its hostility to the values typical of industrial urbanised society, and in many other ways, it expresses an ideology that is miles nearer to anarchism than it is to bolshevik Marxism.’ (13)
John Christopher: The World in Winter (1962)
Arthur W. Uloth, writing in Anarchy, suggested that the survival of this novel's leading characters is sufficiently improbably (as whites who deserve a come-uppance), as to verge on racism on the part of the author.
Curt Clark (pseud. Donald E. Westlake): Anarchaos (1967)
Third-rate western, set on an alien planet, of which the social system had been designed by anarchists, described as followers of Bakunin, ‘an obscure Russian nihilist’. Society, of course, has collapsed, anarchism being ‘not entirely realistic’. The planet appears to harbour a society in a Hobbesian state of nature. The hero describes anarchy as ‘absurd’, and the planet as ‘the longest-running planet-wide madhouse in the history of the human race.’ (Ace pb edn: 20).
A Freedom contributor in 1976 found the novel ‘horrendous’. Albert Meltzer, in the same year, went further: ‘It is anarchism as seen through Fascist eyes. Maybe Clark is not a Fascist and has just picked up the arguments [. . . .] But the arguments are a perfect example of the Nazi views on anarchism, and fairly presented.’
Anarchaos is probably the nastiest representation of anarchism in the genre.
Ernest Cline: Ready Player One (2011)
Joint winner of the 2012 Prometheus Award.
Alex Comfort: Come Out to Play (1961)
Comfort - renowned sexologist and gerontologist - was at one time better known as an anarchist. The novel concerns the discovery of a sexually-liberating drug, and the havoc it wreaks on an uptight society. It is not explicitly anarchist, though it tends that way.
Murray Constantine - see Katherine Burdekin
Paul Cornell: Timewyrm: Revelation (1991), Love and War (1992), No Future (1994), and Human Nature (1995)
Thematic four book quartet. Love and War and No Future portray anarchists in the form of neo-pagan anarchist travellers in an interstellar travel era and a Black Star militant group (described in No Future as "probably remnants of the Angry Brigade") in the background of a possibly alternate version of the 1976 London milieu. These portray anarchists favourably. Part of the DOCTOR WHO New Adventures sequence. (mailing to anarchysf)
'Finally I must make some acknowledgement to Mr Edmund Crispin, whose anthologies of science fiction for Faber and Faber are still the finest of their kind, and whose introductory essays I have shamelessly pillaged.' (Pilgrim 1963)
Thursday Czolgosz, Margaret Killjoy, and The Catastrophone Orchestra: White is the Color of Death (2011)
Extremely short collection of three linked stories (40 pages in total) of post-apocalyptic steampunk. The anarchist influence is clearest in The Catastrophone Orchestra's "The Mushers," the longest of the three.
Text in blue means I haven't personally read the item concerned, so can't vouch for the reliability of the information. An beside the title means an item's particularly recommended by me. See my hotlist, for these recommendations only.
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