Anarchism and science fiction: T


Gabriel Tarde: Underground Man (1905)

Underground Man is a stifling and unpleasant authoritarian utopia, set in the far future, after the sun has cooled. For Berneri it was "more concerned with the discussion of philosophical ideas than the presentation of any ideal commonwealth" (Berneri 1950: 293).

 

Zeke Teflon (pseud. for Chaz Bufe): Free Radicals: A Novel of Utopia and Dystopia (2012)

A fast-paced journey through a series of isolated communities of political and religious extremists on a prison planet. One such, with which the author's sympathies clearly lie, is the anarchist community of New Harmony.

 

William Tenn: 'The Liberation of Earth' (1953)

Vittorio Curtoni saw Tenn as an sf author who "satirizes the mechanics of repression" (Curtoni 1978: 24). This story is a fine example, in which Earth is repeatedly conquered and reconquered by rival galactic forces, in the course of which 'liberation' the planet is devastated. The tale just stops short of drawing an anarchist moral, in that Earth's indigenous governors are exempted from description as anything worse than stupid; nevertheless it is most appealing.

 

Sherri Tepper: The Gate to Women's Country (1988)

Included in the Think Galactic reading list.

 

They Live (1988, dir. John Carpenter)

B-movie-style satirical take on aliens controlling the world through broadcast media, exposed by a group with special sunglasses that reveal the aliens' true form and expose the ubiquitous subliminal commands to obey, consume, reproduce, and conform. Unsubtle, and too much action at the expense of developing the concept.

 

Recommended by a couple of contributors to the Anarchism SubReddit as a film advocating anti-capitalism.

 

D.M. Thomas: The White Hotel (1981)

Pat Flanagan's 1982 featured Freedom review found the novel "a radical failure, as a novel, but the writing often very fine", and "Thomas is to be admired for the boldness and courage of his endeavour". Nicolas Walter, in a subsequent letter to Freedom, found the book "at the same time a fascinating and coherent work of fiction and a funny and convincing critique of psychiatric dogma." (N.W. 1982)


Amy Thomson: The Color of Distance (1999)

Recommended by Common Action at the panel "Beyond The Dispossessed: Anarchism and Science Fiction" at the Seattle Anarchist Bookfair in October 2009. Describes first contact with a harmonious rainforest community on an alien planet.

 

Dave Thorpe: Doc Chaos: The Chernobyl Effect (1988)

Described as an allegorical satire on the nuclear age, this was published by the anarchist Hooligan Press, and favourably reviewed in Freedom. (D.R. 1988)

 

THX 1138 (1971, dir. George Lucas)

In a dystopian future world below ground, where human activities are wholly controlled by android police officers, use of emotion-suppressing drugs is mandatory, and sex is prohibited, the human THX 1138 makes a bid for freedom, after his pregnant partner is 'consumed' and her own number reassigned to the fœtus. He is successful, only because the recovery operation is terminated after exceeding its budget.

 

One of Michael Matthews's Top 10 Best Films for Anarchists. For Libertarian Movies, "all sci-fi fans, and libertarians, should have a look". Also included in the list by 'Incubus' on Libcom.org's 'Any good anarchist films?' page. Included in Starrychloe's list on Liberty.me's Good movies for libertarians and anarchists. Clay Richards, anarchist blogger, was "thoroughly impressed" by the film.

 

Though this may not be a popular opinion, this is much the best of Lucas's science fiction films.

 

James Tiptree, Jr: 'The Women Men Don't See' (1973); 'Houston, Houston, Do You Read?' (1976); 'The Screwfly Solution' (1977, as by Racoona Sheldon)

Vittorio Curtoni in 1978 referred to the first two of these stories as "powerful metaphors of the female position in the world of today . . . "

   In 'Houston, Houston . . . ' a solar flare sends a three-man space mission 300 years into the future to encounter a depopulated Earth, with all men wiped out by an epidemic, all survivors being clones; the men can't cope with an all-female society that has no need for them, and they are put down. The future society is communalised and libertarian, with no government as such, but, given the conclusion, surely not entirely benign. This story is also included in the Think Galactic reading list.

   In 'The Women Men Don't See' a private plane crashes in the Yucatan; a mother and daughter, among the stranded, choose to be taken away by passing aliens, feeling that the male society they already live in couldn't be more alien anyway. More negative than 'Houston, Houston . . . ', with no more than a suggestion of what might be, it's also a more subtle story.

   'The Screwfly Solution' is included in the Think Galactic reading list.

 

Harry Turtledove: The Gladiator (2007)

Tied for the 2008 Prometheus Award.

 

Mark Twain: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889)

Discussed in two entries in Lampe's blog: 1 and 2.

 

 

12 Monkeys (1995, dir. Terry Gilliam)

A time traveller sent back to 1996 to trace the source of a virus that had wiped out five billion people is haunted by his childhood memory of seeing the fatal shooting of his own adult self. A feature-length re-envisioning of Chris Marker's 1962 short La Jetée.

 

One contributor to the Anarchism and Science Fiction Forum, in November 2016, listed this film alone as his idea of the best sf ever committed to film.


 


See my hotlist, for for items particularly recommended by me.

 

Authors by surname, films by title: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z Possibles


Bibliography


@sf home, Ben Beck's website home




This page was last revised on 2017-01-20.

© Benjamin S. Beck 2005–2017

joomla site stats