Saturday, September 10, 2016

Five sci-fi novels that satirize society as we know it

Luke Rhinehart's new book is Invasion. One of his five favorite sci-fi satires, as shared at
Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut

Much of Vonnegut’s work, both sci-fi and other, is a satirical attack on man’s tendency to take everything seriously, a theme of my work also. But the novel that makes the most clear and focused satirical attack on the established society or its tendencies as projected into the future is Player Piano. It makes an almost Luddite criticism of the way capitalism and technology seem to be developing. In the novel, Vonnegut imagines a world dominated by a supercomputer and run by a “one-percent” of engineers who live a life of isolated luxury, in contrast to the sad powerless lives of the masses. Machines have eliminated all but a few technical jobs, and the dominant class does nothing to alleviate the misery of the majority. Vonnegut even foresees that electing an unintelligent president is irrelevant since the real power lies with the rich engineering elite. The book seems more pertinent today than ever, since the unemployment, inequalities, and vast chasm between the super-rich and most others that Vonnegut anticipated are now becoming even more rampant.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue