do you agree?

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Answer only needs to be at least a couple of paragraphs.

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Many readers have commented on the libertarian politics of The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. Other texts were once more overtly political than they are today: for example, in the late 1800s there was a huge controversy over vivisection (performing surgery on live animals without anesthetics) and The Island of Doctor Moreau was very much a part of that controversy, even though for readers today that political theme hardly registers at all. Ditto for the population-control politics of “Billennium”; population control was a big political topic starting around the 1950s, though it seems to have largely faded from public discourse.

Yet other SF texts seem to have scarcely any overt politics at all (e.g., perhaps, “Semley’s Necklace”). I say “overt” here because I subscribe to the view that all Science Fiction has a political aspect, that in fact Science Fiction is an inherently political genre. Here I’m referring to the claim I mentioned in “Notes on the Study of Science Fiction,” namely, that if a text extrapolates some element of the present into a positive future, it suggests our society should continue doing what it’s doing (and sustaining the status quo is itself a political position). Conversely, if the extrapolated future is negative, the text suggests our society should in some way change course (which is also a political position). This is just one of the political dimensions of Science Fiction, though certainly an important one.

Using Robert Heinlein’s, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, “Semley’s Necklace,” plus one other of this unit’s texts (below), please discuss the question of Science Fiction and politics. You might consider addressing questions like these–When a text takes a strong political position, does that affect its value as literature? And do you agree with the idea that Science Fiction’s use of extrapolation makes it inherently political?–or other questions of your own choosing.


Please also choose one other text from the following list:

Stories from the The Oxford Book of Science Fiction:

Pohl, “Tunnel” Aldiss, “Who Can Replace a Man?”

Ballard, “Billennium” Smith, “Ballad of Lost C’mell”

Le Guin, “Semley’s” Blish, “How Beautiful with Banners”

Harrison, “Criminal”

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