SciFi Economies across the Eighth Dimension

A list of science fiction books based on the extrapolation of current economic trends, or concerned with the interplay between economics and politics, more generally.
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4.08 avg rating — 269,527 ratings
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3.51 avg rating — 49,232 ratings
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41

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43

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45

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60

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62 books · 68 voters · list created August 8th, 2010 by deleted user.
13 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Jennifer (aka EM) 1416 books
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Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3007 books
763 friends
Emma 222 books
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Jason 1985 books
331 friends
Emily 1801 books
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Manny 3384 books
4508 friends
Dani 22 books
736 friends
Brad 2222 books
587 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-25 of 25) (25 new)

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message 1: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! The comment attached to it says: "economics of outsourcing yer security for yer mead hall. Also, treasure!"


message 2: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! I think it fits under the more general category B better.

A list of science fiction books based on the extrapolation of current economic trends, or concerned with the interplay between economics and politics, more generally.


message 3: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! That must make mowing fun.

It could be economic! Let's say you decide to hire someone to mow for you, because of the hazard. I bet the fee would be high. Then there would be competition for that job.


message 4: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Holley Elizabeth wrote: "Who added Beowulf? How is that science fiction?"

I added it, and I stand by it. It's less of a stretch than 1984, Brave New World, and Atlas Shrugged.


message 5: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 09, 2010 06:37AM) (new)

I thought the addition of Beowulf was hysterical. I don't see why 1984 and BNW are stretches, though. I think a lot of definitions of scifi get hung up on technology - like if there's ray-guns, then it's sf - but I think the best definitions are about how sf is an investigation, or a thought experiment, the invention and examination of new ideas/politics/relationships, etc. So often I think post-apocalyptic stuff applies, but not always. The Road, for instance, is probably not sf, imao, while Shute's On the Beach probably is. There's actually a lot of debate about Star Wars as sf, because while it has ray-guns and FTL travel, none of those things are really more than props. It's a Western, with family psychodrama thrown in. The society in SW doesn't make any sense - um, an elected Queen Lucas? You suck - because it's not really an investigation of society.

Oh, and I voted for Dune because of B). I think the spice-as-finite-resource works, and how the tides of empires can change based on the control of those resources.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Brian wrote: "Okay, I can see Dune for B).

SW as a Western? I can see that too- Obi Wan in the lightsabre dual with Darth Vader has a High Noon flavor to it. I kind of think of SW as Fantasy, because of all t..."


Totally. Maybe it's more spaghetti western - the samurai film translated out West, and then transported out into space. I probably shouldn't say too strongly that Westerns can't be sf, because I think most space opera has a Western sensibility - all that cowboys in space stuff, expanding imperialism, marginal societies, et and c.


message 7: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Holley Ceridwen wrote: "I think a lot of definitions of scifi get hung up on technology - like if there's ray-guns, then it's sf - but I think the best definitions are about how sf is an investigation, or a thought experiment, the invention and examination of new ideas/politics/relationships, etc."

Right, so I was extending my definition from the technology definition to that one. But, how is Beowulf not a perfect example of that? Is it because the dragon makes you guys feel like it's more fantasy? But it's still that dropped-in-a-new-culture, threat-from-the-outside, battle, realize-threat-had-feelings, rein-with-justice, die story.

Personally, I resist going outside of the technology definition, but I realized it's because I tend to not care for sci fi (I know, sorry!), so I want it to stay in its cage and not cross over into the utopia/dystopia cage. But, I'm going with the extended definition.


message 8: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 09, 2010 07:40PM) (new)

Are we dating science fiction from Frankenstein? Isn't that the general rule?

That'd be my rule, although there's some way earlier work that I can't remember the name of that people point to as the first sf. Hold on...googling...

Aha, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter from the 10th century gets noted as an antecedent to sf, but it's hard to have scifi when science hasn't been invented. Plus, I may be crazy, but I think you can't have scifi before Modernism really takes hold, but you can take the earlier dates for Modernism - the 1750s or so - to fudge in the really early stuff.

Holy crap. My head is totally coming to a point here.


message 9: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 09, 2010 07:51PM) (new)

Durrrrr........

Totally, but natural philosophy is really science in short pants, so I can see how some of this would be science fiction-ish. There were some really great definitions of science fiction by various writers in the wiki article. A few:

Rod Serling's definition is "fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science Fiction is the improbable made possible."

Author and editor Damon Knight summed up the difficulty by stating that "science fiction is what we point to when we say it", a definition echoed by author Mark C. Glassy, who argues that the definition of science fiction is like the definition of pornography: you don't know what it is, but you know it when you see it.

Vladimir Nabokov argued that if we were rigorous with our definitions, Shakespeare's play The Tempest would have to be termed science fiction.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Brian wrote: "Not to get this started again, but is Gullivers' Travels science fiction?"

I'd say social satire. I think while satire is possible in the scifi mode, it's kind of opposed to the latent materialism in scifi.


message 11: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 09, 2010 07:58PM) (new)

Also, I don't think these definitions are hard and fast or anything - I think by lots of definitions Star Wars is totally sf, I was just being contrary for fun.


message 12: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 09, 2010 09:43PM) (new)

Yeah, just to go back to my hang-ups with technology, I think lots of times the definition of scifi is too materialist or something - it's not always about the ray-gun, but narrowly defined, it's only about the ray-gun. So things like spec-fic, or alt-hist, end up being in the sf time-out chair, when I think they share a commonality of speculation & experimentation with the hard sf stuff that is the easiest to pigeon-hole.

Take UKL's The Left Hand of Darkness. I don't think it's science fiction because she mentions an ansible, but because she works out the thought experiment of a genderless society. Strip out the ansible, and I think it's still science fiction.


message 13: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Holley I don't even think the word "nerds" begins to cover what is going on here. But, I'm in. I have to take issue with Elizabeth's rules.

First: Elizabeth wrote: "Personally, I think you needed both scientific interest/investigation on a large scale and romanticism to get science fiction."

I don't think you can define a genre of literature according to the developments of culture. I think you could say that for a book to be sci fi it requires that the book include scientific interest/investigation on a large scale and romanticism, but I don't think you can say that society has to have been generally involved in those things before the genre could happen. Also, I think to restrict the definition to only industrial scientific exploration, not natural science, is the same as saying it requires ray-gun technology.

Second: Elizabeth wrote: "I don't think you can go back before the eighteenth century."

No way can you make a blanket restriction on a genre based on time-frame. I'll give you that you can attempt to chart development of a certain genre, but I don't think you can arbitrarily limit it with a restriction that is not based in the actual texts of the books.

So, I'm willing to give you the definition that it requires scientific interest and investigation on a large scale and romanticism, and even then you can't tell me that 1984 is sci fi! That's my main point with all of this. I don't think you can get to sci fi by just inventing a fake future.

Also, even with that definition, which I think is a totally valid definition, I think Beowulf and Candide still can fit. Candide is all about exploring the world to find the fountain of life, and isn't that the main purpose of scientific investigation even now? And out into nature, meeting symbolic societies, no less. Beowulf is all about the dangers of the unknown outside of society and conquering the threats of nature (again meeting symbolic cultures, too). I think both have interesting relationships with scientific exploration and romanticism even though the theories may not have been defined yet.

I'm making protest signs about 1984, though. And I'm willing to take those two books and the Hunger Games down if 1984 goes, too. Actually, there are about five other books on there that I don't think are sci fi. Admittedly, a few of them are others I put up as part of my 1984 protest.


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Ha! No one's coming after your baby. I totally disagree that you can't put time constraints on genre, because if there is one thing that's totally consensually constructed, it's genre. I mean, arguably, the concept of genre isn't just Modern, but much more contemporary, coming as it does out of marketing more than anything else. Pretty much the aim of New Weird, a genre-bending genre, is to put the genres back together and quit building up these walls. Information wants to be free! Or something.

Ugh. I totally have a cold. I'm going to go die.


message 15: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Holley Oh, no! Colds suck. I hope you feel better!

And I do think I see some dingoes in the distance . . . P'haps I can defeat them with my lawyer skillez.

So, is what you're saying that you think that, for example, some guys can get together and say, "We're making flugelhorn genre. And each book from this day forth shall be flugelhorn if it contains a purple elephant and the word 'puke,'" and then even though there was a book written the day before that contained a purple elephant and the word puke, it's not flugelhorn? But a book that contains a giraffe and a person who feels a little sick is flugelhorn because it came after that particular day?

I can come up with a different example if the flugelhorn one doesn't work for you.


message 16: by Miriam (new)

Miriam I have a cold, too! Maybe it was brought to me by the Minnesotans I met the other day.

I wouldn't class Beowulf as Scifi or even fantasy because that's not how it would have been conceived or received at the time of composition.


message 17: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Holley Miriam wrote: "I wouldn't class Beowulf as Scifi or even fantasy because that's not how it would have been conceived or received at the time of composition."

But you think 1984 was?


message 18: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Sure.


message 19: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Holley You guys are killing me. Seriously.

These are the books on the list that I don't think are sci fi. But I maintain that if one of them is, then they all are:

1984
Beowulf
Candide
Fight Club
The Theory of Four Movements
Animal Farm
Utopia
Hunger Games
Handmaid's Tale
Atlas Shrugged

Also, I submit to you the argument that guessing what was in an author's head when they were writing a book is another impractical way to define a genre. However, I do think that the authors intended to include the elements of the stories that would qualify them as sci fi under the expanded rule.


message 20: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Holley Love you, too! And, okay, whew! As long as someone else would take all of those off, I can give up on mine. I need a buddy to do stuff, you know? Total follower.


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

I love you too!

I would leave on Handmaid's, 1984, and Hunger Games though, because I think they fall squarely in the speculative fiction category, and deal with teh future, and I think that more or less falls in the sf umbrella. But I'm kind of just continuing a silly argument at this point. You know, I almost took the sf thing off the list title, knowing that there would be a big dispute about this, but I didn't want a bunch of econ textbooks and shit on the list.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh, I don't have that kind of control over the list. I don't think anyone does - once it's created, it's up to the individual voters. I actually think that's pretty rad.

Wait, Mer deleted all her additions! That sucks!


message 23: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Holley I love you, too, C! No, I didn't take them off out of being offended or anything. I just felt that my point had been fully made, so it was no longer necessary to keep up the pretense that I endorsed those books as sci fi. And I have no real sci fi to offer, so I'm just here on the sidelines admiring all the rest of y'all.

I am outrageously touchy lately, though, and it's kind of freaking me out. So, if I accidentally lash out at you, have patience with me, please. I love you all.


message 24: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Holley Oh mah gawd! I was freaking out you took so long to reply to that. I didn't have it in me. You were so gracious.


message 25: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Holley Yeah, it's a bummer to have to practice moderation. I'm going to have to cut back again starting next week. I'm bummed about it, but it's also probably good. And, hey, maybe I'll have another class like my contracts class where I'll just fool around on the internet the whole time. Hope not, though.


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