Anarchism and science fiction: N


Ramez Naam: Nexus (2012)

Joint winner of the 2014 Prometheus award. Recommended as a "fun read" by a contributor to the Facebook Anarchism and Science Fiction Forum.

 

Josef Nesvadba: 'In the footsteps of the abominable snowman' (1964)

Story of telepathic yetis, part of which is set in Spain during the Civil War. Speaks unusually warmly of the anarchists: one character says "'They were men of courage and I remember them often. Naturally they had no idea that reason and intellect would get them nowhere.'"(1979 NEL pb collection of the same title: 169)


Robert Newman: The Fountain at the Centre of the World (2004)

Included in the science fiction reading list on the R.A. Forum website. It isn't actually sf, but it's so good that I'm opting not to delete this entry, in the hope that others will give it a try.

 

Chris Newport: The White Bones of Truth (1996)

Recommended by Common Action at the panel "Beyond The Dispossessed: Anarchism and Science Fiction" at the Seattle Anarchist Bookfair in October 2009.

 

photo of front cover of Nichols's Daily Lives in Nghsi-Altai

Robert Nichols: Daily Lives in Nghsi-Altai (1977–9) ; Red Shift (1977)

Short tetralogy, set in a near-future alternate-world central Asian land. Strong on ecological and (unusually) traditional-religious values, the anarchist influence is explicitly acknowledged. Written in a fragmented, poetic and impressionistic style, it's an interesting and important modern utopia. Daily Lives is preceded by an introductory work, Red Shift, in which characters include 'Errico Malatesta' and 'Sandy Berkman'.

 

"While Daily Lives is not widely known, it is one of the most important contributions to both literary and theoretical utopianism." (Clark 2009: 21-2) It was a significant influence on Ursula K. Le Guin, who is on record as saying that " . . . Nghsi-Altai is in some respects the very place I was laboriously trying to get to, and yet lies in quite the opposite direction . . .". (Le Guin 1982)

 

Larry Niven: 'Cloak of Anarchy' (1972)

In a future 'Free Park' anything goes, though automated 'copseyes' hover around ensuring there is no violence. Ron Cole decides to sabotage the copseyes and see what results, taking the opportunity to expound his theory of anarchism, which is actually anarcho-capitalism—"'After all, anarchy is only the last word in free enterprise.'" Though maintaining that the Free Park experiment without copseyes (which results in chaos) is too short an experiment to pass judgement on anarchy, at the conclusion of the story he recants, and declares anarchy unworkable because unstable.

   The story is badly written and badly argued, deliberately playing on the ambiguity of anarchy as a form of polity and anarchy as chaos.

Available on-line at www.larryniven.org/stories/cloak_of_anarchy.htm.


Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael Flynn: Fallen Angels (1991)

Prometheus Award winner.

 

Alice Nunn: Illicit Passage (1992)

. . . "highly anarchist, workers / working class organizing & revolting—really really excellent & one of the most political science fiction novels I've read in a long time . . ." (posting to anarchysf). Original and very readable, but less anarchist and more feminist than this quote suggests.

 


An beside the title means an item's particularly recommended by me. See my hotlist, for these recommendations only.

 

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This page was last revised on 2014-10-24.

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