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Tired of cyberpunk and dystopian culture in general, post ITT worlds you would want to live in or not too bad depictions of leftist societies.

Pic related, an anarchist moon revolving around a capitalist planet 200 years after the revolution.


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I have always been fond of the culture series by Iain M. Banks,

It is a fictional universe I would most certainly want to live in.

The culture is a post scarcity society , so concepts like capitalism are obsolete. But socially it is a very leftist and libertarian leaning culture, if you want a fancy car then you just have to ask for one and it will be provided to you, if you want to live in a magnificent mansion you can, there is more than enough resources to make you one with beautiful gardens to surround it.

The citizens of the culture live rich and fulfilling lives doing whatever they like while mindless machines do all the menial work , some citizens write music, some write books or paint pictures , some create sculptures or games , while others just play games.

I like this series since it depicts an ideal endgame scenario for humanity to work towards.




"Mindless machines do all the menial work"
Except they don't. Most of the machines in the setting are anything but mindless; if fact one of the texts explicitly mentions that any machine above a certain complexity is legally required to be sapient.
I also think the setting was about to see some major changes; if you read The Player of Games you can see some distinct changes in Banks worldview when contrasted with the Hydrogen Sonata, released shortly before his untimely death.


There are minds which are super intelligent AIs and there are drones
which have an intelligence level comparable to normal humans.

And there are also non sentient devices that do all the work under the direction of a mind who uses the tiniest fraction of their intellect to control enough of them to feed an entire orbital with billions of citizens , The minds do this out of a sense of civic duty and they spend the rest of their intellectual energy on other pursuits they find enjoyable.

It is utopian , it is idealistic , but it is fun to read.


Basically most sentients apart of the Culture are just commentialists living off the Minds.



Thanks! It's interesting because The Dispossed is set in an environment with very scarce resources, you can have whatever you need to survive but it's rationed and there are no machines except for the one distributing jobs and naming the newborns.


You've not read Excession, have you?


Is Star Trek utopian or are there too many problems?


They basically get successively retcon to be less and less socialist over time. The federation in recent series are just straight up neoliberals.


TOS and TNG were definitely utopian and even communistic especially for its time (Cold War). DS9 was still utopian, explicitly so, with the AnCap Ferengi and the Dominion-Cardassian war as a fascist threat as a foil for the Federation's utopian ideals - this leads to more "pragmatic" decisions that abandon the moral order of the Federation, In the Pale Moonlight is basically the incubator lie turned on its head. VOY is basically rehashed TNG without the utopianism, as Janeway makes some very questionable decisions too. The crew would treat The Doctor, a sentiment program, way more disrespectfully than Data, although there are some episodes that delve deeper into that relationship like Latent Image. ENT shows the ascendance of humanity from their archaic roots into a communistic space federation, they're already pretty advanced but there are still problems like militarism and racism which they need to overcome - the problem is, the series is just a bit boring.

NuTrek as mentioned is woke politics of Twitter with neoliberal undertones (they praise Elon Musk in Discovery and in Picard they treat androids as a slave race).


>in Picard they treat androids as a slave race
Seriously? I haven't watched it but I'm a big TNG fan, how so?


There is a scene where the Federation used android manual labor for all the shitty work in a shipyard. In the opening scene some dude opens a cargo cell in which they are all lined up (they "live" there) and says "hello plastic people." Later on, in some kind of operations room, the humans say things like "this thing creeps me out" and as some of their co-workers remarks "he can hear you" she says "i don't give a fuck".

Then the androids all get hacked by an unknown force (Picard is currently on a quest to find out what it was), kill all the humans, blow up the shipyard and then themselves.

Oh and there is also a Tal Shia branch that has the only objective to kill all artifical life. It's unknown so far why, another mystery.


You should specify Utopian sci-fi that ISN'T Star Trek.


Yeah sorry, thanks for bringing my thread back from the dead to tell me this.
I'm reading Damasio atm, he is a public leftist and wrote some hard SF and fantasy, maybe one of his books is utopian.


What works in media reject TINA (There Is No Alternative)?
Please post works you know. SOme example;
- Asimov's Robot series is set on a future where Earth is basically ran as a very bureaucratic form of socialism, while the Spacer worlds are fully automatized space communism where robots do all the work.
- The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin, mentioned in the OP >>2419 explicitly shows an anarchist/decentralized society that seems to function on a large scale and it's nice to read. Le Guin is a big SF author but not that mainstream.


Can Foundation count as well? As in the Robots there are different type of societies depicted, very radical (extreme individualism, in the late books it's clearly collectivism, etc). It's TINA but nuanced as socialism isn't the only MoP in the galaxy.


As long as it isn't "only capitalism works" then it isn' t TINA in my opinion


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Really like the Japanese novel From the New World which has a free translation in here http://shinsekai.cadet-nine.org
Also would recommend the anime which came from the book.


I've toyed with reading her work, but she has been dead for a while and I think her woke ideas on things like sexuality would feel kind of dated now that I and the left are so accepting of homos and trans people. I really should read newer scifi that questions assumptions I haven't faced yet.


Btw I was replying to the OP on Ursula Le Guin. I also liked her fantasy series on Earthsea or whatever it was called when I was a kid, which subtly challenged white privilege by having a dark skinned protagonist, but didn't tell you that he was one until late in the book after you had already composed a heroic archetype of him in your mind that was probably white (because she wrote it in the 70s.)


>Ian Banks culture series
>I like this series since it depicts an ideal endgame scenario for humanity to work towards.
Yeah while it's probably a nice place to live, end-game scenarios of any kind are not plausible, and if you think this through, then the people living inside the giant space-cities that are controlled by AIs are just as much compatible with a reading where the AI's are just nice during a "honeymoon phase", that eventually ends.

If you look through a Marxist lens and try to postulate a nice future then AI's don't just become benevolent Overlords but rather uplift humans to their cognitive level. You know in a beneficial upward spiral.


It would be interesting to shoot AI slavery as a kind of limitation of Marxism, actually. The society in question might still think of automation as an amplifier of labor, and the essential workforce being reduced to a few AI programmers is considered an infinitely good thing without taking into account that the automation is now capable of suffering.


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>automation is now capable of suffering.
This is wrong because you are making subjectivist assumptions about the nature of pain, as essential and irreducible aspect of sentience.
A materialist understanding of pain would say the sensations you experience during pain, don't inherently cause you suffering because pain is made up of normal sense-information. What is causing the suffering are the side-effects: pain messes with your concentration, it disrupts all kind of mental processes, and that is what's bothering you.

There is no reason what so ever to design a "production intelligence" that way.


I'd say currently there is no indication that any machine intelligence is capable of suffering. That may change once we have a generalized AI but rn almost everything people label as ML/AI is just algorithms or ~fancy~ algorithms - not sentient. I maintain a skeptical hope that AI can be more ethical than it's human forbears. at least in a lot of more basal instances of machine intelligence there is a lack of "self" in a neural network - thus primitive neural networks feel more akin to mycelium/ social insects.

Related to both the concept of group intelligence and OPs question. I think the Xenogenesis trilogy by Octavia Butler is a good utopic Sci-fi. Her other work is also great - Parable of the Sower is not utopic but well written and sobering for being a little too plausible, her short stories are also fantastic.


Left Hand of Darkness is like this - might have been thought provoking for portraying a gender-fluid society at the time but now it falls flat (it's still reasonably enjoyable as a read though). On the other hand I found The Dispossessed to be thought provoking and even inspiring at times.


>shoot AI slavery as a kind of limitation of Marxism
But the Culture series have the opposite problem with AI support post scarcity. Rather than the Minds being the slave of the races that created them, they live supporting sentient biological life as a type of artificial parasitism similar to barnacles on a blue whale. The problem is the utopia ends there. No uplifting, no change, only stagnation in unlimited digital bliss.


The longer I live, the more impossible these utopias seem.


And the closer dystopia is, now that I think about it


I noticed that issue in books. People are immortal and they can modify their bodies and minds to become as strong and intelligent as their technology allows, maybe even evolve into a Mind, but most choose to end their lives after around 500 years, because they get bored. And this problem also extends to AI, who also choose to end their existances after a few millenia at most, because they experienced all that was to experience. In the last book we get to see the longest living being in the culture, and it isn't an AI, but a man who hasn't transformed into some super being, but instead transforms himself into different alien lifeforms and lives the way they do, at a slow pace, before going to the next alien civilization and redoing the process.

It's a rather pessimistic series when it comes to the purpose of life. Not even god like beings like the Minds seem to find fullfilement in this universe so they eventually just off themselves.



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I'm reading Greg Egan's "Clockwork Rocket" from the "Orthogonal" trilogy right now. I'm not sure if it fits the thread, as I wouldn't want to live in the book's world (even less so I was to be a woman there), but that's not because of any dystopia, it's just that it turns out that Minkowski's 3+1 spacetime is a nicer place to live than fully Euclidean four dimensions.

Honestly when reading the description of Greg Egan's stories I expected some stiff bullshit, but he's actually good. This is my first book by him and I didn't finish it yet, but I'd already recommend it to anyone who likes the idea of "hard SF in a bizarre alternate universe".

Seconding, but is more of an "utopia in the streets, dystopia in the sheets" sort of world.


I wish authors limited themselves to a trilogy at most, I'm tired of so many works spanning a crapload of books.


Frankly I grow a bit tired of Science fiction… I think that's why people originally got so into Star Wars, a Science Fantasy, where technology exists but the main story is lush with imagination and freedom to be impossible.

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