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Maybe because of the long and fascinating (and learned and witty and wise) conversation held here a while back, but I thought that once upon a time I asked for suggestions of utopian novels.  I am going to be teaching a course (of my own devising, how nice) in Utopia as Fiction, a topic I've long pondered.  Students will be asked to write their own utopian fiction in the course of the class, and also read and critique a utopian novel or fiction selected from a list.  

I gave something like this course the very first time I taught at Yale (or anywhere), in a program called College Seminars, where students in the Yale colleges chose their own course to sponsor from many applications.  

I gave them a list then that now looks a bit stodgy and old-fashioned, though the new class would certainly still be offered Herland, Lost Horizon, maybe Walden Two or Robert Graves's  very peculiar Watch the North Wind Rise.  But I need hipper and more contemporary offerings.  (The Dispossessed will be on the main reading list.)  A Kim Stanley Robinson one about California was mentioned herein in connection with treatment of disabilities in Utopia.  Any others we can think of?  Remember, Utopia not Dystopia (or at least Utopia out of Dystopia.)


Mar. 31st, 2012 08:56 am (UTC)
Starship Troopers is good food for thought about what makes a society utopian or dystopan. I remember it was fun too.
Apr. 6th, 2012 01:44 am (UTC)
Starship Troopers is, by its own explicit declaration, not utopian. It doesn't claim that the society is perfect, or even perfectable, just that it does some things "right" that earlier societies hadn't yet figured out.

(The scare quotes on "right" are there both to indicate that the society itself isn't sure what's "right" and to indicate that I certainly disagree with the things that the society declares it gets "right".)

If I recall correctly, Heinlein's early, long-unpublished novel For Us, The Living is a "sleeper wakes" type of utopian satire/anatomy. But it's apparently pretty gosh-darn bad, too.

Edited at 2012-04-06 01:49 am (UTC)
Apr. 6th, 2012 06:09 am (UTC)
I remember having a hard time deciding whether it was or not an Utopian society that the book described, when I read it in my youth. I probably wouldn't say it is one now, but I do think, that in any given group, there would be a lot of disagreement on what it gets right and what not.