Monday, June 22, 2009

Some utopian fiction

List below was seeded from Graham J Murphy's non-fiction article "Utopia" in "The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction" (2009). Download links are mine.

I haven't read any of these yet. But appearance in this book suggests the stories are at least well known & influential, even if not necessarily entertaining to modern reader. Early ones appear to be a commentary on English society by contrasting it against a "better" fictional one; a couple of stories do similar things with US society; plus there are several dealing with feminist utopia. Thomas More's is supposed to be a really important book of the subgenre, in that it defined the technique for this kind of fiction.

If I do end up reading some, I'll probably add additional commentary here.

  1. Thomas More's "Utopia"; download; 1516.
  2. Francis Bacon's "New Atlantis"; download; 1627.
  3. Tommaso Campanella's "The City of the Sun"; download; 1602.
  4. Margaret Cavendish's "The Description of a New World, Called the Blazing-World"; download; 1666.
  5. Samuel Butler's "Erewhon, or Over the Range"; download; 1872: There seems to be a sequel too called "Erewhon Revisited" (download).
  6. Edward Bellamy's "Looking Backward: 2000-1887"; download; 1888.
  7. Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "Herland"; download; 1915.
  8. Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "With Her in Ourland" (1916): Dystopian sequel to "Herland".
  9. Ursula K Le Guin's "The Dispossessed: an ambiguous utopia" (1974).
  10. Joanna Russ's "The Female Man" (1975)
  11. Marge Piercy's "Woman on the Edge of Time" (1976)
  12. Samuel Delany's "Triton" (1976)
  13. Suzy McKee Charnas's "Motherlines" (1978)
  14. Sally Miller Gearhart's "Wanderground: stories of the hill women" (1980).
Related: "best of" lists.