Friday, November 26, 2010

20 Essential Works of Utopian Fiction

Tim Handorf, from the Best Colleges online, sends in an article that lists twenty must read books that deal with the pros and cons of Utopian science fiction. Mr. Handorf describes this style of science fiction as -
  • fiction that, enables the readers to travel to a world that will never truly exist. A world without the ills we experience today and how perpetually imperfect humans would achieve such an existence.
Here is an excerpt of the most notable:
  • Lost Horizon, by James Hilton: Plane crash survivors in Tibet encounter a utopian civilization in Shangri-La that differs from their own. The protagonist meets with the Head Lama, learns about the history of his surroundings and is given the secret to the monk's longevity. He ultimately discovers there's much more to life than he previously realized.
  • Island, by Aldous Huxley: Huxley's final novel reflects his lifetime of thoughts on society as he cultivates a practical island utopia called Pala that heavily subscribes to the values of Buddhism. A man sent to secure an oil contract soon realizes that the island must be saved from the civilization that promises to ravage it.
  • Men Like Gods, HG Wells: The World of Utopia is quite different from Victorian England. It has evolved from an Earth-like period known as the "Days of Confusion" and now has a socialist work government and advanced science. A group of English transplants are confused by the selflessness exhibited by the inhabitants, as it conflicts with everything they were indoctrinated to believe in their native land.
And many more. Check out the complete list here

I would also like to hear suggestions of Utopian themed stories that you feel should make the grade.


Marc Colten said...

Lots of good choices - but I would have included "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley (especially for showing that one man's heaven is another man's hell) and "The Man Who Awoke" by Lawrence Manning which showed more the evolution of utopian societies over time.

Beam Me Up said...

Hey Marc!
Yeah, Brave New World was one on my choices too. During Saturday's program, I managed to think of a few, promptly forgot them! But I did remember making a case for Brave New World.

Thanks for the input