Red Peppers tio SF-favoriter – en klar dag kan man se revolutionen

Red Pepper är en radikal brittisk tidskrift som skriver så här om sig själva:

Red Pepper is a bi-monthly magazine and website of left politics and culture. We’re a socialist publication drawing on feminist, green and libertarian politics. We seek to be a space for debate on the left, a resource for movements for social justice, and a home for anyone who wants to see a world based on equality, meaningful democracy and freedom.

Red Pepper is completely independent, and whilst not rejecting party politics, seeks to help build the kind of pluralistic, dynamic movements which can fundamentally challenge our economic system, with its entrenched injustice, structures of power and oppression, and tendency towards war and environmental destruction. Although based in London, we have links around Britain, and have always covered events and perspectives from outside the capital.

Jag citerade i ett annat inlägg tidningens intervjuer med några kända SF-författare med hjärtat till vänster. De beskrev på ett bra sätt varför jag tycker om science-fiction. Tidningen har också gjort en lista på 10 favoriter bland SF-böcker:

  • Iron Council, China Miéville
  • Body of Glass, Marge Piercy
  • The Star Fraction, Ken MacLeod
  • White Queen, Gwyneth Jones
  • The Dispossessed, Ursula K Le Guin
  • Swastika Night, Katharine Burdekin, writing as Murray Constantine
  • Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
  • Babel-17, Samuel R Delany
  • Culture Series, Iain M Banks
  • Forty Signs of Rain, Kim Stanley Robinson

CultureTre av mina favoritförfattare i genren finns med på listan, Ursula K. LeGuin, Iain M Banks och Ken MacLeod. Om Iain M Banks Cultureserie skriver Red Pepper så här:

Banks just has to be included here but it’s pretty much impossible to select one from among the ten books in the decades-spanning Culture series. What Star Trek would have been if the Federation was organised on anarchist principles and the Enterprise was a living ship guided by a prodigious artificial intelligence with a nice line in wry humour, the Culture universe is a provocative playground for committed post-humanists. The sad news of Banks’ death means the series is at a close, but these books will be read, re-read, pondered and critiqued long after the rest of us have returned to galactic dust.

The Star FractionCulture-serien är bland det bästa som skrivits i SF-genren. Bland de bästa är förstås också The Dispossessed av Ursula K. LeGuin, från vilken bok namnet på denna blogg hämtats. Men jag tycker Left Hand of Darkness är hennes bästa bok. Värt att citera är också det som Red Pepper skriver om Ken MacLeods The Star Fraction:

First in the ‘Fall Revolutions’ series and a somewhat wry dig at the factionalisation of the left in the wake of neoliberalism. A near-future UK is split into mini-states with competing ideologies; a small part of north London exists as a libertarian/anarchist enclave and the green eco-warriors are armed and dangerous. Riffing on cyberpunk’s preoccupation with artificial intelligence and its ubiquitous multi-functioning mirrorshades (here called ‘glades’), The Star Fraction is part send-up of conspiracy theorising paranoia and part serious call-to-arms for an entrenched left. ‘On a clear day,’ writes MacLeod, ‘you can see the revolution.’

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Därför gillar jag science fiction

Ken MacLeod

Ken MacLeod

Några radikala brittiska SF-författare har i intervjuer i den radikala tidningen Red Pepper tillfrågats om vad science fiction har att säga oss om framtiden, om idag och om alternativen. Det är klart intressant och beskriver på ett bra sätt varför jag gillar SF:

Kim Stanley Robinson Yes, it can. The help science fiction can give culture is not a matter of prediction, but rather repeated speculations that help create the habit of historical thinking – which includes the idea that what we do now has consequences later, and that we can plan some things and try to create a sustainable civilisation, which should be the point of human history now.

[…]

Gwyneth JonesThe science fiction of protest – a strong tradition, embedded in a recalcitrantly right-wing genre – imagines how change could be achieved: a route to gender equality, a world beyond the collapse of capitalism. But these fictions are not solutions, they are stories about solutions. Plus they all have the problem that Zizek chastised in Occupy. The writer’s ideas are embedded in the dismal present, doomed to be addressing a bad consensus, always making the best of bad material. So maybe no, not directly.

On the other hand, intensely felt fantasies don’t have to be materially effective to open pathways in people’s minds and make the impossible – what we’re told is impossible – seem possible. So I’d say yes. Art has always inspired revolutionary movements, and vice-versa. Why shouldn’t sci-fi, the art of inventing the future, inspire fundamental change?

[…]

Ken MacLeod Just under two billion people went into the 20th century and six billion came out. Most of humanity went in as peasants and colonial or semi-colonial subjects under the domination of a handful of advanced countries, and almost all came out as citizens of independent states and nearly half as urban workers.
We went in with only a minority of extremists preaching universal suffrage and the equality of the races and sexes, to general ridicule, and came out with general agreement on all these – though practice lags, as always, and there’s still much to be done.

What do we mainly have to thank for that? The Russian and Chinese revolutions, that’s what! The Allied victory in the second world war, that’s what! What has made views like Zizek’s so commonplace? The absolute shameless bare-faced robbery of our history, that’s what! Orwell was right about this: ‘Who controls the past controls the future.’

Kids in Britain are taught about colonialism and the Nazis as terrible warnings about human evil, and are never encouraged to identify with the heroic millions – often enough their own parents and grandparents – who brought the empires and the Nazis down. The socialist revolutions are taught as if nothing happened but famines and gulags – which were real enough, and must never be denied, but are very far from the whole story. I don’t mean in the slightest that these experiences should be repeated. I mean the left should stop disavowing them as ‘not real socialism’ or whatever, which means refusing to learn from them and guarantees making the same mistakes again under the delusion that ‘real socialists’ wouldn’t do all these awful or stupid things.

In a less apocalyptic way, the post-war settlement and what it achieved has been hacked back and edited out of our common memory, to the extent that some aspects of the society I grew up in in the 1960s and early 1970s sound today like utopian dreams.

If we’re going to imagine better futures we have first to recover the real past, including the recent past, for ourselves.

[…]

Marge Piercy Science fiction is not really about prefiguring. It’s about getting people to see alternatives now. If we go on this way, this is likely to happen. If we did things this way, wouldn’t things be better? What would it look like if we recognised that gender and sex are not dichotomies but rather continuums, as the research of Fausto-Sterling has revealed? What would happen if we ran out of water?

It’s making possible outcomes concrete and real. It’s creating characters that embody choices for good or bad. It’s using the imagination to say that there are far more futures than we have guessed or assumed.

I intervjun ställs fler frågor och det är långa och mycket intressanta svar. Läs den. Och läs böcker av de intervjuade författarna, av vilka jag gillar Ken MacLeod bäst.

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