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  1. #1
    "Dime Store Rock"
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    Recommendations for political space opera?

    Can you recommend any space opera books that make (preferably extensive use) of politics? Such as communism/socialism/liberalism/conservativism/etc?

    I'd like to see how author's envision politics playing out in space

  2. #2
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    There is the obvious The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moo...Harsh_Mistress

    That could be relevant as an example of the effects of resource depletion in the coming century.

    and there is

    Voyage from Yesteryear by James P. Hogan
    http://www.jandysbooks.com/sfbooks/vygystr.html

    This could be relevant as an example of the long term effects of cheap computers everywhere.

    Both of those stories mention the Earth's population being a problem. Various sources say the 7 billionth person will be born in the next few months.

    psik
    Last edited by psikeyhackr; October 2nd, 2011 at 11:38 AM.

  3. #3
    Repudiated Ursus s271's Avatar
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    Iain M Banks Culture series
    Some books of Alastair Reynolds also qualify
    Ken MacLeod, series Fall Revolution (mostly planetary) and Engines of Light (mostly planetary)
    Richard Morgan series about Takeshi Kovacs, most of politics/off world is in the 3rd book.
    Last edited by s271; October 3rd, 2011 at 01:41 AM.

  4. #4
    "Dime Store Rock"
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    Thanks I'll check em out.

  5. #5
    The Dispossessed Ursula le Guin. Anarchism cf Capitalism
    Most of the Culture books by Iain M. Banks. Enlightened libertarianism vs a variety of more brittle political systems.

  6. #6
    Joshua A.C. Newman Joshua A.C. New's Avatar
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    Hitmouse, I just got here but I'm already impressed with your taste. I particularly suggest Banks' Player of Games as a discussion of a particular sociopolitical order. And I can't recommend The Dispossessed enough.

    Deepness in the Sky, which I just mentioned elsethread as being about economics, is therefore also about politics.

  7. #7
    Way Too Human
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    If I remember correctly, there was plenty of political manipulation in Stephen R. Donaldosn's Gap series.

    That was probably the first set of books I ever read that didn't have a real "hero" or "good guy", no true protagonist you could cheer for (and feel good about).

  8. #8
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Actually I don't like the term space opera. I usually regard it as silly or bad but

    Ensign Flandry by Poul Anderson may be applicable here. It is kind of a politics/war mix.

    Politics with aliens mostly.

    Actually the first two books of the Vorkosigan series are quite political. Very dirty politics.

    http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/2...rnCD/index.htm

    psik
    Last edited by psikeyhackr; October 5th, 2011 at 03:17 PM.

  9. #9
    Star Gawker ebusinesstutor's Avatar
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    I second the Voyage from Yesteryear recommendation. You might also want to check out
    • Ben Bova's "Grand Tour" series
    • Elizabeth Moon's Serrano/Suiza series and Vatta's War series
    • Kristine Kathryn Rusch's "Retrieval Artist" series.

  10. #10
    Joshua A.C. Newman Joshua A.C. New's Avatar
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    You people are not helping me complete my reading pile one bit.

    Oh! Cyteen, by C.J. Cherryh. It's a weird kind of politics, but it's politics.

  11. #11
    "Dime Store Rock"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua A.C. New View Post
    You people are not helping me complete my reading pile one bit.

    Oh! Cyteen, by C.J. Cherryh. It's a weird kind of politics, but it's politics.
    LOL. Everytime I get mine down to a manageable size I wind up buying 8 or 10 more

  12. #12
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    I tried 3 books by Iain Banks but only managed to finish one Player of Games. I forced myself through 2/3rds of Consider Phlebas and started Use of Waepons. I think the Culture is shallow and contrived. I was a chess addict in high school so that made Player of Games sufficiently interesting to me but I don't really recommend it.

    The politics of the last half of Shards of Honor and Barrayar by Bujold are way better. The first half of Shards of Honor was almost as bad as the start of Use of Weapons.

    psik

  13. #13
    The Wandering Eye Jop's Avatar
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    I'm not sure, but would The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi qualify? It features a post-apocalyptic type Earth where the Agricultural Industry calls the shots as they control the food supply...

  14. #14
    Joshua A.C. Newman Joshua A.C. New's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    I tried 3 books by Iain Banks but only managed to finish one Player of Games. I forced myself through 2/3rds of Consider Phlebas and started Use of Waepons. I think the Culture is shallow and contrived. I was a chess addict in high school so that made Player of Games sufficiently interesting to me but I don't really recommend it.
    Player of Games is certainly the best of his that I've read. But the book's about culture and privilege and how societies maintain their benefit to those they have benefitted in the past. The first act on an orbital is the only in-Culture stuff I've read; most of it takes place where The Culture encounters someone else.

    Consider Phlebas doesn't address the Culture at all, really. There's one character from it, and the sociopolitical and philosophical aspects don't really come into play *it's a fun space adventure, but not really heady SF. Use of Weapons was a much better, more thoughtful, more complete exploration of The Culture and where their stated ethics run afoul of just how easy it is to defy them for their own convenience.

    I'm not sure, but would The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi qualify? It features a post-apocalyptic type Earth where the Agricultural Industry calls the shots as they control the food supply...
    Absolutely. In the parallel thread about economics, I posted about it but didn't want to make these threads clones of each other. It's about really unpleasant corporatocratic politics when they collide with an insular, monarchist body. My favorite thing about the book was that Paolo gets you to root for most of the characters when you're following them around; they've all got a point, or at least are sympathetic people. The hard part of the book is that, when you're seeing that character through any other character's eyes, they're somewhere between monstrous and pathetic.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    I tried 3 books by Iain Banks but only managed to finish one Player of Games. I forced myself through 2/3rds of Consider Phlebas and started Use of Waepons. I think the Culture is shallow and contrived. I was a chess addict in high school so that made Player of Games sufficiently interesting to me but I don't really recommend it.

    The politics of the last half of Shards of Honor and Barrayar by Bujold are way better. The first half of Shards of Honor was almost as bad as the start of Use of Weapons.

    psik
    Ah, Banks....I really enjoyed some of his work (Matter was really good, Player of Games was interesting, as was Consider Phlebas) but Against a Dark Background was disappointing and Use of Weapons...that was just plain boring. Still, an interesting writer.

    I'd second Morgan, Heinlein and LeGuin, and considering the OP's handle I assume you've read the Foundation series? Not to everyone's taste (I am not a fan for instance) but certainly a good fit with your criteria. Null-A by Van Vogt could also be an option - political system in casu "non-Aristotelian logic".

    Cheers,

    Sfinx.

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