Saturday, September 10, 2016

Five top sci-fi novels that satirize society as we know it

Luke Rhinehart's new book is Invasion. One of his five favorite sci-fi satires, as shared at
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

The fifth sci-fi book I would choose is one of two books in the Hainish Cycle by Ursula K.Le Guin, The Dispossessed or The Left Hand of Darkness. What I like about both books is their forcing the reader to consider alternate ways of organizing a society and thus questioning the way modern civilization organizes its. In The Left Hand of Darkness, Le Guin imagines a society in which the humans are most of the time androgynous and only become male or female once a month, and at that time can play either the male or female role. The book forces us to consider “normal” human sexuality and the ways it limits and complicates normal life.

But The Dispossessed is a more complex look at multiple ways of organizing societies and thus becomes my fifth choice. On the planet Urras, Le Guin introduces us to three different ways of organizing a society. By having her protagonist spend time in each she lets us see the assets and limitations of each: a capitalist society, a communist-socialist society, and a third that is trying to succeed without any central governmental control. Although Le Guin clearly leans towards the anarchical alternative, the novel is a clear-eyed critique of all three.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue