MacLeod takes a brief tour through Anarchy in Science Fiction

Gordon Mohr gojomo@usa.net
Sat, 13 Apr 2002 11:34:09 -0700


Bill Humphries forwards:
> > Total Liberty
> >
> > Anarchism and Science Fiction
> >
> > by Ken Macleod

Neat stuff! I'll have to check out a bunch of the listed titles
I wasn't previously familiar with. 

Regarding the section on Vernor Vinge:
> > Vernor Vinge*s _A Fire Upon the Deep_ uses the Internet not
> > only as the model for his galactic communications web, aptly
> > called *The Net of a Million Lies*, but also for the
> > galactic society of societies, some of which are anarchies
> > and all of which exist in one. 

_A Fire Upon the Deep_ concerns a galactic civilization whose
earlthy origins, if they exist at all, are never made explicit. 
Vinge's other works address anarchist themes in more earthly and 
near-future scenarios.

Three stories in in his "Across Realtime" series --  _The Peace
War_, _The Ungoverned_, and _Marooned in Realtime_ -- all 
consider a world in which the ultimate secessionist technology
becomes available: the on-demand creation of impermeable "bobbles"
around regions of space, inside which no time passes until the
prechosen expiration of the bobble.

_The Peace War_ concerns the emergence of a worldwide government
and then its defeat at the hands of small, loosely-allied,
tech-savvy voluntarist cells; _The Ungoverned_ looks at the 
battle between remaining government-wannabes and the emerging
anarchocapitalist sensibility; and _Marooned in Realtime_ looks
at the challenges facing a motley group of temporal refugees
in the far future, all of whom -- by virtue of being in bobbles --
missed some global disaster/evolutionary event (aka "singularity")
that took the rest of humanity on to mysterious new pastures.

Also, his short story _Conquest by Default_ shows the Earth
coming into contact with an anarchist galactic civilization with 
essentially one rule: antitrust. No organization may exceed certain 
absolute size limits, and when it does, others band against it 
temporarily to break it up. All the terrestrial governments at
the time of contact are deemed too big.

- Gordon