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Political Science Fiction
Political Science Fiction is not so much a sub-genre of its own as it is a theme well suited to Science Fiction stories. Sci Fi is about exploring possibilities, especially in regards to the future. Political Sci Fi is an extension of this ideal—speculating about where politics can take humanity. Political Sci Fi is a vehicle to explore and experiment with new ideas about government.
You can view the crowd-ranked "Popular" Political Science Fiction Books list and vote and/submit entries to it.
Other Features of Political Science Fiction
- Level of Real Science
Variable. With the exception of Pulp Sci Fi, politics are generally seen as a more immediate means to shape the future and society (as opposed to technology and discovery), so science may not feature in a Political Sci Fi story. However, politics can also be just another component in an otherwise Hard Sci Fi story.
- Level of Grand Ideas/Social Implications
High. Ideas are ubiquitous in Political Sci Fi and because politics are concerned with populations and countries, the social implications are also highly relevant.
- Level of Characterization
Variable. Characters can be well developed heroes leading a rebellion against an oppressive government, they can be cogs in the machine, they can be drivers of the story or a mere necessity to explore the grand ideas.
- Level of Plot Complexity
High. To truly understand a political idea and its effects, readers need to see the idea in action, which requires a well crafted plot.
- Level of Violence
Variable. Political Sci Fi can incorporate bloody rebellions or it can demonstrate the value of pacifism.
Related Science Fiction subgenres
Military Science Fiction. Politics are usually the driving force of Military Sci Fi. Dystopia. Dystopia's usually portray a social and political structure that is undesirable and are therefore portrayals of oppressive governments.
Near-Future Science Fiction. Speculations on the Near Future must also speculate on its politics because of its proximity to our own world and because politics tend to shape the world more quickly than technology.
Alternate History. What if a particular political event had happened differently?
Dystopias. Dystopias often heavily criticize a specific political system of some sort. As such, they are highly political.
- 1 1984
By George Orwell. This is a classic novel that coined the term big-brother, and offers a critical look at government's role.
- 2 The Dispossessed
By Ursula K. Le Guin. Pacifism and a anarchy—both have merits.
- 3 Starship Troopers
By Robert Heinlein. The world government in this future Earth is run by veterans and citizens must earn the right to vote and hold public office with federal service.
- 4 Brave New World
By Aldous Huxley. A startling look at the role of government, including eugenics.
- 5 The Man in the High Castle
By Philip K. Dick. An Alternate History where Fascism pervades and slavery is legal again.
- 6 The Merchants of Souls
By John Barnes. The protagonist is a special agent who no longer wants to be—but he must stop a growing movement on Earth that threatens interstellar humanity
- 7 Uplift series
By David Brin A series with a complex universe where politics can decide the fate of an entire race. Feudalism, bureaucracy, indentureship, international relations, ecology, there is a lot happening in this universe.
- 8 Dune series
By Frank Herbert. An award winning and popular saga complete with intricate politics: the concept of power, revolution, ecology, imperialism, and the relationship between religion and government are all explored throughout the series.
- 9 The Probability Broach
By L. Neil Smith. A detective is transported to a parallel world where the politics are very different, like gorillas in the Senate.
- 10 Downbelow Station
By C.J. Cherryh. A space opera about a rebellion between Earth and its colonies.