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Newtopia

baby
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.)

Comments

ed_rex
Apr. 3rd, 2012 05:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Probably too long ...
[Re-posting because my first one was accidentally sent as if by
Anonymous. Sorry about that.]

But for a certain type, at least the idea of Bellona is pretty attractive: a tolerable amount of danger, food and shelter for the taking, sex in any conceivable permutation at hand — what's not to like (at least if one is 17 and not, ahem, 47 years old?

But that was kind of my point. I can't think of many so-called utopias that i would much like to live in. The only fictional one I can think of is Robinson's Mars and that is very explicitly not meant to be utopian, but rather a society that has solve many of our problems, only to encounter a passel of others.
cinemasailor
Apr. 4th, 2012 10:56 am (UTC)
Re: Probably too long ...
"For a certain type, at least the idea of Bellona is pretty attractive..." Very true. And for a number of types in the novel, due to those very same freewheeling, unstructured traits Bellona is actually a dystopia. The society of Triton says much the same thing: one person's utopia is another person's dystopia.