Science Fiction fans - please bring your expertise over here!

(56 Posts)
NomDeOrdinateur Thu 28-Feb-13 00:28:58

Hi all, I've recently got interested in how SF engages with right-to-life issues and I'm trying to put together a reading list for myself. I'd be very grateful for any recommendations you could add to my existing list, particularly focusing on euthanasia, infanticide, fertility control, suicide, assisted suicide, and aging populations (due to infertility/medical breakthroughs).

So far I have:

- The Logan Trilogy by William F Nolan (and the film and TV series);
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley;
- Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro;
- The Giver by Lois Lowry;
- The Machine Stops by EM Forster;
- Kirinyaga by Mike Resnick;
- The Sleeper Awakes by HG Wells;
- Case of Conscience by James Bish;
- The Fixed Period by Anthony Trollope;
- Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison (and Soylent Green);
- The Children of Men by PD James;
- The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

Any ideas about useful SF textbooks/histories or books about euthanasia, assisted suicide, population control, overpopulation etc would also be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance to anybody who's kind enough to make further suggestions!

PS - I'm not a slacking journalist, I'm a regular MNer and have just changed my name in case anybody from my university recognises me based on my research interests.

NomDeOrdinateur Thu 28-Feb-13 00:29:35

Oh, and film reccs would also be gratefully received!

highlandcoo Thu 28-Feb-13 09:04:12

I don't know much about science fiction, but just a suggestion - have you ever used librarything? It's a site for sharing your favourite books and looking for new stuff to read.

You have to invest a bit of time at the start by assembling a list of your favourite books (you could just put in the ones on your list) then it matches you with others who have a similar library and you can see what similar books they're reading.

Also, users "tag" books with labels describing the content, eg "Victorian", "WW2", "slavery" or in your case "euthanasia" or whatever, so you can link to other books with similar content.

I find it a brilliant resource .. have a look smile

MakingAnotherList Thu 28-Feb-13 09:10:08

The film 'The Island' is similar to the book Never Let Me Go.

MakingAnotherList Thu 28-Feb-13 09:14:48

http://lifeissues.net/writers/kol/kol_18sciencefiction.html

Bearcrumble Thu 28-Feb-13 09:24:32

Would Intrusion by Ken Mcleod be of use? The state makes all pregnant women take a pill to fix any genetic defects in the foetus. More eugenics than population control but might be of interest.

Snorbs Thu 28-Feb-13 09:40:17

Larry Niven incorporated a lot of these topics into his short stories and novels. Eg, advances in organ storage and transplant technology leading to higher demand for transplant organs to extend life, leading in turn to a) popular pressure for capital punishment for trivial law-breaking to keep the organ banks stocked, and b) black-market transplants. Niven's short stories The Jigsaw Man and Death By Ecstasy are examples of these.

Population pressure due to medical advances massively extending human longevity also leads to restrictions on who is allowed to have children. I can't remember the details but it was something like you had to have at least some kind of skill or talent to be allowed to have kids and, if you didn't qualify for that, there was also a regular lottery you could win to get the right to have a child. Ringworld has a sub-plot about one of the more peculiar effects of these birth-right lotteries.

MaterFacit Thu 28-Feb-13 10:16:06

Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Meat by Joseph D'Lacey

Sherri Tepper - Beauty and also possibly Grass by her as well, but it has been a long time since I read them.

What about Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner?

MaterFacit Thu 28-Feb-13 10:18:44

Where late the sweet birds sand by Kate Wilhelm

MaterFacit Thu 28-Feb-13 10:18:50

*sang

MaterFacit Thu 28-Feb-13 10:31:17

The Gate to Women's Country by Tepper
The Female Man by Russ

Sorry for the disjointed posts, I keep closing the thread and then remembering new ones. This was something I was interested in too about five years ago so just trying to remember what I read.

NomDeOrdinateur Thu 28-Feb-13 10:39:59

Thank you very much everybody, these recommendations are so helpful - I'm going to read every single book/story! I've always been put off researching SF before because I get intimidated by how much knowledge the hard-core fans have, so I can't tell you how much I appreciate being steered in the right direction by people who know more than I do.

PS - Highlandcoo, librarything looks amazing, I'm going to make an account right now grin!

DuchessofMalfi Thu 28-Feb-13 11:03:30

Check out Goodreads too Nom. We have a smallish, but growing in popularity, discussion group on there and welcome everyone to it. You're more than welcome (and everyone else) to come and discuss science fiction on there too smile Link here, if you're interested The Book Vipers.

NomDeOrdinateur Thu 28-Feb-13 11:07:58

Oh thank you, DuchessofMalfi - I'd love to join! I shall have a look when I get home this evening smile.

slug Thu 28-Feb-13 11:10:29

Consider Her Ways a novella by John Windham

HagofBeare Thu 28-Feb-13 11:22:20

Phillip k dick, The Pre-Persons. Not exactly subtle, but interesting.

NomDeOrdinateur Thu 28-Feb-13 11:28:27

Thank you, Slug and HagofBeare - I really like both of those authors, and yet didn't know they'd written about these issues! <Adds to basket>

CoteDAzur Thu 28-Feb-13 16:48:14

Time Enough For Love - Robert Heinlein (where people have very long natural lives and an undisputed right to end it whenever they like by flipping a switch)

The Island (film) is much better than Never Let Me Go.

NomDeOrdinateur Thu 28-Feb-13 18:58:25

Thank you, CoteDAzur - I can't believe I forgot all about Heinlein! blush I'm really looking forward to watching The Island now, as I was fairly satisfied with the adaptation of Never Let Me Go...

FryingNemo Thu 28-Feb-13 19:05:06

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Attwood. Sort of?

FryingNemo Thu 28-Feb-13 19:07:27

Also a few Star Trek Voyager episodes and original Star Trek too dealt with overpopulation, euthanasia and volunteering for suicide. Maybe too low brow?

NomDeOrdinateur Thu 28-Feb-13 19:12:51

Not too lowbrow at all, FryingNemo - thanks for the tip! I actually noticed a library book the other day about the ethics of Star Trek, I should pop back in and borrow it...

I'll put Oryx and Crake on my to-read list, too - I wrote about it (along with The Year of the Flood) back when I was still an undergrad and remember both novels very positively, but embarrassingly I can't recall the actual story at all now! blush

FryingNemo Thu 28-Feb-13 19:37:51

Also Iain Banks' the Culture (various books).

The Testament of Jessie Lamb

HumphreyCobbler Thu 28-Feb-13 19:45:20

Why Call Them Back From Heaven? Clifford D Simak

This is a very interesting book - although looking at ways to prolong life indefinitely is the main theme of the book, the discussion seems relevant to your list.

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