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Subject: RSP in Sci-Fi rss

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Lynette
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Yep, I am a girl Scientist. Come for the breasts; Stay for the brains!
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The OSC thread has prompted me to ask, who is your favorite Sci-Fi authors that challenge or provoke thoughts about Religion, Sex and Politics?

I personally love Lois McMaster Bujold. Her books make great use of projected future technology to explore current and future ethics questions and character development issues.
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Richard Hefferan
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Asimov's Foundation series handles politics and a bit of religion in a very interesting and thought provoking way.

I'm also a big fan of Elizabeth Moon's series' which are much more military sci-fi, which obviously has quite a bit to do with politics.
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TheLightSarcastic wrote:
He does mostly fantasy, not science-fiction, but I've always loved Terry Pratchett. His central theory of government (as told via the Patrician, the semi-benevolent dictator) is that the peoples' main wish is that each day to be more or less like the one before it. While snarky, it has a certain quiet truth as well.


If we get into fantasy, I love Terry Goodkind's take on socialism. It's one of the most elaborate strawmen ever, but I found it enlightening on many levels despite it's inherent fallacy. Just in case anyone takes my advise about reading it, be forewarned that he's a student of Ayn Rand's philosophy and his books borrow heavily from it. His concept that evil in the real world is always enacted by individuals who think they are righteous and doing "good" strikes a chord with me.
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Harlan Ellison.
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Joe Haldeman's "Forever War."
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Scott Russell
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Heinlein was a libertarian's libertarian and towards the end, he definitely dealt with sex.

Piers Anthony deals with all three topics as well.

Orson Scott Card explores politics and religion.

The author whose name I can't remember but did the Honor Harrington series discusses the merits of aristocracy vs. republics

Eric Flint's 1632 series looks at politics.

To be bonest, most good SF writers seem to touch on most of these.
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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Octavia Butler's Lilith's Brood (a.k.a. Xenogenesis) introduced me to the idea of an intelligent species with three sexes.
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Joanna Russ, e.g. in The Two of Them. LeGuin, The Dispossessed, The Left Hand of Darkness. Iain M Banks, Inversions. Alice Sheldon / James Tiptree Jr, 10000 Lightyears from Home. Spinrad, The Void Captain's Tale. Pretty much any science fiction worth reading should get stuck into RSP.

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Iain Banks culture trilogy.
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If I can shill for a a friend of mine, he literally wrote the book on Religion and Science Fiction:

http://www.amazon.com/Gospel-according-Science-Fiction-Twili...

There's also a blog, which features political comment thrown into the mix as well. There's bound to be some sex in their somewhere.

http://sfgospel.typepad.com/
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Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World". Read it every five or ten years.
Prescient. First read it about 45 years ago and it becomes more relevant every time I go back to read it again.

Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land" encompasses RSP excellently. And a lot of his books after that. He was getting pretty dotty by the end of things, however.
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Steve Bernhardt
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Shushnik wrote:
TheLightSarcastic wrote:
He does mostly fantasy, not science-fiction, but I've always loved Terry Pratchett. His central theory of government (as told via the Patrician, the semi-benevolent dictator) is that the peoples' main wish is that each day to be more or less like the one before it. While snarky, it has a certain quiet truth as well.


If we get into fantasy, I love Terry Goodkind's take on socialism. It's one of the most elaborate strawmen ever, but I found it enlightening on many levels despite it's inherent fallacy. Just in case anyone takes my advise about reading it, be forewarned that he's a student of Ayn Rand's philosophy and his books borrow heavily from it. His concept that evil in the real world is always enacted by individuals who think they are righteous and doing "good" strikes a chord with me.


Wizard's First Rule and the next few books in that series were great. The preachiness was muted in favor of telling a good story. Four books in or so, and the preachiness came to the fore and was pretty jarring, enough so that I was distracted from the story and felt that the author was lecturing me. I forget which book, but the one where the main character made a statue killed me. Very talented author in spite of all this.
 
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qzhdad wrote:

The author whose name I can't remember but did the Honor Harrington series discusses the merits of aristocracy vs. republics

David Weber
 
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If there was a prophet for everyman man, Heinlein would be mine. You should read Job: A Comedy of Justice. It shows his views of organized religion that almost mirrors my own. A must read.
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I like Heinlein, Asimov, Herbert, and James Morrow.
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wargamer66 wrote:
Wizard's First Rule and the next few books in that series were great. The preachiness was muted in favor of telling a good story. Four books in or so, and the preachiness came to the fore and was pretty jarring, enough so that I was distracted from the story and felt that the author was lecturing me. I forget which book, but the one where the main character made a statue killed me. Very talented author in spite of all this.


This was his plan all along, sadly. He's said in interviews that he believes the only valid use of fantasy writing is to spread political ideology. It's also why he had the map moved to the back of the book and the swords removed from chapter headings...they were drawing too much attention to the fantasy elements of the story and distracting people from The Message.

Now there's a TV series coming out based on the books, and it's the most generic watered-down fantasy trope-fest I've ever seen. I wonder how he feels about that.

Edit: damn quote tags.
 
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Joss Whedon-His works deal in a wide variety of deep issues, mostly the R and S in the equation here, but he touches a bit on politics in Firefly/Serenity.

J Michael Straczinsky-Babylon 5, dealt with all of those subjects in spades and dealt with them well, in a level unprecedented in TV, science fiction or no.

Peter F Hamiliton-I've had the good fortune of having him on my show. Great guy and his works, especially the Night's Dawn saga, tell sprawling tales that muse muchly in thse realms.
 
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True Blue Jon
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quozl wrote:
I like Heinlein, Asimov, Herbert, and James Morrow.


Oh, and Vonnegut!
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John O'Haver PhoDOGrapher
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Granting that I mostly read non-fiction, Heinlein's Time Enough For Love was the first one I read that talked about sex. Just the Excerpt's From the Notebooks of Lazarus Long covers RSP pretty well.
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William Boykin
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Ahh..So many-

David Gerrold's, War against the Chtorr- Especially on issues of political responsibility. "As citizen's, we OWN the government. So the key issue- are you responsible for YOUR actions?"

Robert Heinlein's Moon is a Harsh Mistress- More political responsibility- "What immoral actions do you feel a government can take that you wouldn't allow an individual to do?"

Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven- Beware of unintended consequences. "We solved the crisis of Nationalism! All governments are united...but...there's now this alien species at war with us...."

LeGuin again- The Left Hand of Darkness- A brillant look at Sexual Identity, politics, and society. In a society of Hermaphrodites, an Ambassador must learn to accept the individuals and overcome his own phobias in order to accomplish his mission.

Harlan Ellison's "Repent, Harlequin!", said the TickTockMan- A scathing indictment on busybodies, and how any 'government led' initiative for the 'greater good' is its own form of tyranny. "Repent Harlequin!" said the TickTockMan. "Get Stuffed."

David Gerrold's "The Man Who Folded Himself"- a great examination of some of the paradoxes of time travel and sexual identity. You'll just have to read it to understand that link.

Norman Spinrad "Bug Jack Barron"- a look at the role of the Media, Politics, and telling 'truth to power'- but what happens when the truth is murky and those telling that truth can be bribed with the most desirable of coins, immortality?

Thats on top of my other reading in Hobbes, Lyotard, J.S. Mill, Bertand Russell, Richard Feynman, Omer Bartov, Christopher Browning, Tom Wolfe, Richard Wallace, Toni Morrison, Jane Austen and others.

Darilian






 
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Dwayne Hendrickson
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For politics, my favorite book is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. The monologue by Montag's boss sounds like something out of a recent history book.

Bradbury nailed it back in 53.
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