S.F.: ‘Through the ‘A’ in Anarchism’ (1956)
This short tale was published in Freedom in 1956. The narrator day-dreams, at Speakers’ Corner, that he sails through the ‘A’ on an anarchist banner into the future anarchist world, which is fully described. Britain is now basically running on anarchist-communist lines. Curiously, though, there is still a need for a police force, though this is all right because they are all qualified in sociology, psychology, local history and orgone therapy.
The story’s gently satiric humour has considerable charm; and the notion that the British only got round to having a
revolution after their supply of tea ran out is perhaps as plausible as many another scenario for revolution here.
E. Douglas Fawcett: Hartmann the Anarchist (1893)
A terrorist destroys part of London from his airship. This is the first story of this kind to identify the terrorists as anarchists. Superior to most of its successors, it is still fresh, and probably the only one still worth reading.
Weir (2011) describes it as "frankly anti-anarchist". Pedelty (2011) considers it a "very silly story", but "Not silly-funny [ . . . ] but silly-toxic." (Pedelty: 73)
Leslie Fish: The Weight ()
Fan-published anarchist-feminist Star Trek novel.
Homer Eon Flint: The Queen of Life (1919); 'The Devolutionist' (1929)
In The Queen of Life the humanoid inhabitants of Venus have encased the planet in an alarmingly sterile glass sphere, and vanquished scarcity many generations in the past, entirely eliminating conflict and with it any concepts of nationhood, the state, and government itself. This curiosity has the flavour of the true utopia about it, yet as sf it withholds the utopian possibility. Flint seems unusually ambivalent about his authorial intent, presumably the consequence of editorial intervention.
'The Devolutionist' treats of "the ambivalences of an efficient, more or less benevolent dictatorship and a bumblingly anarchistic or democratic underground." (SFE)
Michael Flynn: In the Country of the Blind (1990/2001)
Prometheus Award winner.
E.M. Forster: 'The Machine Stops' (1909)
George Woodcock found this the most interesting early anti-Utopia, with its 'strong element of neo-Luddism'. He felt it lacked immediacy, though, saying it 'pays scanty attention to its social and political implications'. (Woodcock 1956) Since the advent of the Internet this story has gained in value from what may now be perceived as prescience. It won the Libertarian Futurist Society Hall of Fame Award in 2012.
‘Usually considered the founder of the libertarian wing of socialism, Fourier deserves mention here because his writings often contain fantastic elements. Once Fourier’s socialism is established, men will grow to seven feet tall and live 144 years. The moon will be replaced by five new satellites, each a different color, and some Saturn-like rings, which will allow it to once again copulate with the other planets, which will all move closer to the earth in order to engage in this planetary orgy. The oceans will turn to lemonade. One idea frequently attributed to Fourier, however – that men will grow prehensile tails with an eye and a finger on the end – is apparently really the invention of a satirist. Fourier often uses a semi-fictional form to describe his ideal society.’ (Dan Clore)
George Foy: The Memory of Fire (2000)
‘Governments and corporations wage war against anarchist enclaves.’ (Dan Clore)
The dense text and opacity of the storyline tend to dilute such interest as the reader might have in the self-contained enclaves, which are more outlaw than anarchist, notwithstanding a passing nod in the direction of Kropotkin.
Anatole France: The White Stone (1905), Penguin Island (1908)
The last quarter of The White Stone recounts a dream of a 23rd century collectivist utopia in a federal Europe; there remains a strong anarchist opposition, which is generally tolerated. For Marie-Louise Berneri 'Anatole France's utopian sketch in La Pierre Blanche has been rightly ignored, as it is one of his dullest pieces of writing' . . . (Berneri 1949: 293)
Penguin Island is a satire involving evolution among penguins. Book Two presents an essentially anarchist view of the origin of property and government:
(Bantam Classic edn: 37)
The last book concerns the future destruction of civilization, initiated by anarchist bombers; although the author seems to have some sympathy for this, the book concludes with the cyclical return of the triumphant State. Unusually, we have a record of the views of Bartolomeo Vanzetti on this work: for him ‘France masterly slaps, in this book, the pretentions, proudness, hypocracy, stupidity and ferocity of the humane, and shows the uselessness of religions, and the venom of the clergies.’ (Frankfurter & Jackson, eds: 144)
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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