Monday, February 15, 2016

Six truly colorblind SF/F universes

"In the modern world, race influences everything—whether we’re aware of (or want to admit it) it or not," writes Jeff Somers at the B & N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog. He tagged six "stories notable for the way they address race, sometimes by not explicitly addressing it at all," including:
The Culture series, by Iain M. Banks

Banks’ classic series not only explicitly features a humanoid race that is fully racially integrated to begin with, it also gives its members near-total power over their bodies—sex, gender, and appearance—making every single physical attribute simply a matter of preference. This naturally renders any prejudice or distinctions based on those traits more or less meaningless, making the Culture perhaps the ultimate example of a colorblind civilization—at least when it comes to the humanoid characters. The artificial intelligences have their own prejudices to contend with.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Iain M. Banks' Culture novels appear on Annalee Newitz's top ten list of books we should read to understand brains of the future and Charlie Jane Anders's list of ten book series so addictive, you never want them to end. Consider Phlebas, the first story in the Culture series, is one of Peter Millar's six favorite satires on despotism.

--Marshal Zeringue