Les 50 oeuvres de SF et fantasy que tout socialiste doit avoir lu (par china mieville)

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Cette liste n'est pas de moi, mais de China Mieville, l'auteur de SF/Fantasy anglais et militant trotskyste.

China décrit la liste ainsi :
" Ce n'est pas une liste des meilleurs ouvrages de fantasy ou SF. Il existe plein d’œuvres magnifiques absentes de cette liste. Celles choisies ne le sont pas que pour leur qualité —généralement bonne, mais qui peut varier— mais pour leur contenu politique —volontaire ou pas— qui intéressera particulièrement les socialistes. Bien sur, d'autres œuvres —des mêmes ou d'autres auteurs— auraient pu être choisies : les désaccord et les suggestions sont bienvenues. J'ai moi--même changé d'avis d'heure en heure sur cette liste."

Evidemment, quand Mieville dit "socialiste", il ne faut pas comprendre "membre du parti socialiste", mais plutôt "marxiste révolutionnaire" :)

Les commentaires de chaque oeuvre sont aussi de China Mieville (patience, je les traduirai !).

---=== Une partie de ces œuvres n'existe pas en VF, je les indique ci-dessous ===---

Emma Bull & Steven Brust—Freedom & Necessity (1997)
Bull is a left-liberal and Brust is a Trotskyist fantasy writer.F&N is set in the 19th Century of the Chartists and class turmoil. It’s been described as “the first Marxist steampunk” or “a fantasy for Young Hegelians.”

Thomas Disch—The Priest (1994)
Utterly savage work of anti-clericalism. A work of dark fantasy GBH against the Catholic Church (dedicated, among others, to the Pope…)

Gordon Eklund—All Times Possible(1974)
Study of alternative worlds, including an examination of hypothetical Left-wing movements in alternative USAs.

Jane Gaskell—Strange Evil(1957)
Written when Gaskell was 14, with the flaws that entails. Still, however, extraordinary. A savage fairytale, with fraught sexuality, meditations on Tom Paine and Marx, revolutionary upheaval depicted sympathetically, but without sentimentality; plus the most disturbing baddy in fiction.

Mary Gentle—Rats and Gargoyles (1990)
Set in a city that undermines the “feudalism lite” of most genre fantasy. An untypical female protagonist has adventures in a cityscape complete with class struggle, corruption, and racial oppression.

Lisa Goldstein—The Dream Years (1985)
A time-slip oscillating between Paris in the 1920s, during the Surrealist movement, and in 1968, during the Uprising. Uses a popular fantastic mode to examine the relation between Surrealism as the fantastic mode par excellence and revolutionary movements (if nebulously conceived).

Stefan Grabiński—The Dark Domain (1918–22; trans. and collected 1993)
Brilliant horror by this Polish writer. Unusually locates the uncanny and threatening within the very symbols of a modernizing industrialism in Poland: trains, electricity, etc. This awareness of the instability of the everyday marks him out from traditional, “nostalgic” ghost story writers.

George Griffith—The Angel of Revolution (1893)
Rather dated, but unusual in that its heroes are revolutionary terrorists. Very different from the devious anarchist villains of (e.g.) Chesterton.

M. John Harrison—Viriconium Nights (1984)
A stunning writer, who expresses the alienation of the modern everyday with terrible force. Fantasy that mercilessly uncovers the alienated nature of the longing for fantastic escape, and show how that fantasy will always remain out of reach. Punishes his readers and characters for their involvement with fantasy. See alsoThe Course of the Heart.

Ken MacLeod—The Star Fraction (1996)
British Trotskyist (of strongly libertarian bent), all of whose (very good) works examine Left politics without sloganeering. The Stone Canal, for example, features arguments about distortions of Marxism. However, The Star Fraction is chosen here as it features Virtual Reality heroes of the left, by name—a roll call of genuine revolutionaries recast in digital form.

J. Leslie Mitchell (Lewis Grassic Gibbon)—Gay Hunter(1934, reissued 1989)
By the Marxist writer of the classic work of vernacular Scots literatureA Scots Quair, andSpartacus, the novel that proves that propaganda can be art. This is great science fiction. Bit dewy-eyed about hunter-gatherers perhaps, but superb nonetheless. As an added bonus, it also has a title that sounds amusing today. Check out his short fiction, which includes a lot of SF/Fantasy work.

Marge Piercy—Woman on the Edge of Time (1976)
A Chicano woman trapped in an asylum makes contact with a messenger from a future utopia, born after a “full feminist revolution”.

Mack Reynolds—Lagrange Five (1979)
Reynolds was, for 25 years, an activist for the U.S. Socialist Labor Party. His radical perspective on political issues is reflected throughout his work. This book—examining a quasi-utopia without sentimentalism—is only one suggestion. Also of huge interest are Tomorrow Might Be Different (1960) and The Rival Rigelians (1960), which explicitly examine the relation between capitalism and Stalinism.

Michael Swanwick—The Iron Dragon’s Daughter (1993)
Great work that completely destroys the sentimental aspects of genre fantasy. From within the genre—fairies, elves, and all—Swanwick examines the industrial revolution, the Vietnam War, racism and sexism, and the escapist dreams of genre fantasy. A truly great anti-fantasy.

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  • 1

    L'Usage des armes - La Culture, tome 3 (1990)

    Use of Weapons

    Sortie : 1990. Roman.

    Livre de Iain M. Banks

    "SF socialiste dans une société de l'abondance. La Culture est un délice en terme de narration et de politique, mais ici la culpabilité inter-culturelle et les manipulations font de cette histoire bien plus qu'une simple utopie."

    (Socialist SF discussing a post-scarcity society. The Culture are “goodies” in narrative and political terms, but here issues of cross-cultural guilt and manipulation complicate the story from being a simplistic utopia.)
  • 2

    Cent ans après, où l'an 2000 (2008)

    Sortie : novembre 2008. Roman.

    Livre de Edward Bellamy

    "Une utopie communiste égalitariste, naïve et plutôt bureaucratique à l'influence énorme. Traite de la confusion d'un homme "moderne" (19e siècle) dans un monde qu'il n'a pas aidé à créer (voir Bogdanov)."

    (A hugely influential, rather bureaucratic egalitarian/naïve communist utopia. Deals very well with the confusion of the “modern” (19th Century) protagonist in a world he hasn’t helped create (see Bogdanov).)
  • 3

    L'étoile Rouge (1908)

    Sortie : 1908. Roman.

    Livre de Alexandre Bogdanov

    "Ce roman blochevique de SF envoie un révolutionnaire sur la Mars socialiste. Livre critiqué (avec quelque raison) pour son coté proto-stalinien, mais il a surtout été calmonié. Traite du problème d'une personne qui essaye de s'adpater à une nouvelle société qu'il n'a pas aidé à créer (voir Bellamy)."

    ( This Bolshevik SF sends a revolutionary to socialist Mars. The book’s been criticized (with some justification) for being proto-Stalinist, but overall it’s been maligned. Deals well with the problem faced by someone trying to adjust to a new society s/he hasn’t helped create (see Bellamy).)
  • 4

    Le Maître et Marguerite (1967)

    Мастер и Маргарита

    Sortie : 1967. Roman.

    Livre de Mikhaïl Boulgakov

    (Cette Fantasy étonnante dans le moscou des années 30, avec le diable, Ponce Pilate, le Juif Errant, est une satire et une critique si juste de la russie stalinienne qu'il est incroyable qu'elle soit passée à travers la censure. Totalment brillant."

    (Astonishing fantasy set in ’30s Moscow, featuring the Devil, Pontius Pilate, The Wandering Jew, and a satire and critique of Stalinist Russia so cutting it is unbelievable that it got past the censors. Utterly brilliant.)
  • 5

    Nouvelles, histoires et autres contes (2008)

    Sortie : mars 2008. Nouvelle.

    Livre de Julio Cortazar

    China parle de la nouvelle "house taken over" (casa tomada) qui est certainement dans cette intégrale.

    "une nouvelle terrifiante sur la notion de maison et tant que sanctuaire/refuge. Une destruction subtile de l'opposition bourgeoise entre publique/privé et intérieur/extérieur."

    (A terrifying short story undermining the notion of the house as sanctity and refuge. A subtle destruction of the bourgeois oppositions between public/private and inside/outside.)
  • 6

    Substance Mort (1977)

    A Scanner Darkly

    Sortie : 1977. Roman.

    Livre de Philip K. Dick

    "J'aurai pu choisir presque n'importe lequel de ses livres. Comme tous, il parle de l'identité, du pouvoir et de la trahison, liés ici plus directement aux structures sociales que dans d'autres oeuvres de Dick (voir cependant l'homme du haut-chateau ou à rebrousse-temps). Incroyablement émouvant."

    (Could have picked almost any of his books. Like all of them, this deals with identity, power, and betrayal, here tied in more directly to social structures than in some other works (though see Counter-Clock World and The Man in the High Castle). Incredibly moving.)
  • 7

    Une semaine de bonté (1934)

    Sortie : 1934. Beau livre.

    Livre de Max Ernst

    "Le roman définitif de collages surréaliste. Une succession d'images que le lecteur doit décoder. une enquête où des personnages de catalogues commerciaux participent à une histoire de petites morts et grandes aventures."

    (The definitive Surrealist collage novel. A succession of images the reader is involved in decoding. A Whodunwhat, with characters from polite commercial catalogues engaged in a story of little deaths and high adventure.=
  • 8

    Les condamnés à mort (1920)

    Sortie : 1920.

    Livre de Claude Farrère

    "Du social-darwinisme sombre et une prototype des arguments d'adieu au prolétariat". La révolte des "bras inutiles" - les travailleurs - est pathétique face au progrès technologique inexorable. Un livre froid et réactionnaire mais intéressant."

    (Bleak Social Darwinism, and a prototype of “farewell to the working class” arguments. The “useless hands”—workers—revolt is seen as pathetic before inexorable technology. A cold, reactionary, interesting book.)
  • 9

    Sur la pierre blanche (1905)

    Sortie : 1905. Roman.

    Livre de Anatole France

    Une réfutation de la fièvre raciste du "péril jaune" de l'époque - un livre à propos du "péril blanc" et de la montée du socialisle. La révolte des Anges, qui parle du thème socialiste rebattue du droit de Lucifer de se rebeller contre un dieu despotique, est aussi intéressante."

    (In part, a rebuttal to the racist “yellow peril” fever of the time—a book about “white peril” and the rise of socialism. Also interesting isThe Revolt of the Angels, which examines now well-worn socialist theme of Lucifer being in the right, rebelling against the despotic God.)
  • 10

    La Séquestrée (1892)

    The yellow wallpaper

    Sortie : 1892. Nouvelle.

    Livre de Charlotte Perkins-Gilman

    Towering work by this radical thinker. Terrifying short story showing how savage gender oppression can inhere in “caring” relationships just as easily as in more obviously abusive ones. See also her feminist/socialistic utopias “Moving the Mountain” (1911) andHerland(1914).
  • 11

    Les Aventures extraordinaires de Sa'îd le Peptimiste (1980)

    Sortie : 1980. Roman.

    Livre de E. Habibi

    "Le titre complet est plus long. Habibi fut membre du Parti communiste palestinien, vétéran de la lutte anti-britannique des années 40 et membre de la Knesset pendant plusieurs années. Ce livre surréaliste et avenant traite de la vie d'une Palestinien en Israel (avec des bouts de surréalisme et des aliens)."

    (The full title is much longer. Habiby was a member of the Palestinian Community Party, a veteran of the anti-British struggle of the 40s, and a member of the Knesset for several years. This amiable, surreal book is about the life of a Palestinian in Israel (with surreal bits, and aliens).)
  • 12

    Les Dépossédés (1974)

    The Dispossessed

    Sortie : 1974. Roman.

    Livre de Ursula Le Guin

    Le travail le plus ouvertement politique parmie les excellentes oeuvres de cet auteur anarchiste. L'examen des relations entre un monde riche et capitaliste et un monde communiste pauvre et presque stérile (bien que high tech)."

    (The most overtly political of this anarchist writer’s excellent works. An examination of the relations between a rich, exploitive capitalist world and a poor, nearly barren (though high-tech) communist one.)
  • 13

    Le Talon de Fer (1908)

    The Iron Heel

    Sortie : 1908. Roman.

    Livre de Jack London

    "Le chef-d'oeuvre de Jack London : Des écoliers du monde socialiste du 27e siècle trouvent des documents sur l'oligarchie fasciste aux USA et la révolte du prolétariat. Par ailleurs, le socialisme indubitable de London est miné par le racisme le plus épouvantable."
    (London’s masterpiece: scholars from a 27th Century socialist world find documents depicting a fascist oligarchy in the US and the revolt of the proletariat. Elsewhere, London’s undoubted socialism is undermined by the most appalling racism.)
  • 14

    Wicked, la véritable histoire de la méchante sorcière de l'ouest (2011)

    Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

    Sortie : . Roman.

    Livre de Gregory Maguire

    Brilliant revisionist fantasy about how the winners write history. The loser whose side is here taken is the Wicked Witch of the West, a fighter for emancipatory politics in the despotic empire of Oz.
  • 15

    La légende de Hawkmoon (2012)

    The History of the Runestaff

    Sortie : . Roman.

    Livre de Michael Moorcock

    Moorcock is an erudite Left-anarchist and a giant of fantasy literature. Almost everything he’s written is of interest, but Hawkmoon is chosen here in honor of Moorcock having said about it: “In a spirit consciously at odds with the jingoism of the day, I chose a German for a hero and the British for villains.” There are also plenty of satirical references and gags about 1960s/70s politics for the reader to decode.
  • 16

    Nouvelles de nulle part (1891)

    News from Nowhere, or, an Epoch of Rest, being some chapters from a Utopian Romance

    Sortie : 1891. Roman.

    Livre de William Morris

    A socialist (though naively pastoral) utopia, written in response to Bellamy (above), that unusually doesn’t shy away from the hard political question of how we get the desired utopia-proletarian revolution. See alsoThe Well at the World’s Endand his other fantasies.
  • 17

    Beloved (1987)

    Sortie : 1987. Roman.

    Livre de Toni Morrison

    It’s well known that Beloved is a superb book about race and slavery and guilt, but it’s less generally accepted that it’s a fantasy. It is. It’s a ghost story that wouldn’t have half the charge without the fantastic element.
  • 18

    Titus d'enfer - Gormenghast, tome 1 (1946)

    Titus Groan

    Sortie : 1946. Roman.

    Livre de Mervyn Peake

    Série complete.
    An austere depiction of dead ritualism and necessary transformation. Don’t believe those who say that the third book is disappointing.
  • 19

    Les Royaumes du Nord - À la croisée des mondes, tome 1 (1995)

    His Dark Materials : Northern Lights

    Sortie : 1995. Roman et jeunesse.

    Livre de Philip Pullman

    série complète.
    lman let us down. This book is here because it deals with moral/political complexities with unsentimental respect for its (young adult) readers and characters. Explores freedom and social agency, and the question of using ugly means for emanicipatory ends. It raises the biggest possible questions, and doesn’t patronise us that there are easy answers. The second in the trilogy,The Subtle Knife, is a perfectly good bridging volume… and then in book three,The Amber Spyglass, something goes wrong. It has excellent bits, it is streets ahead of its competition… but there’s sentimentality, a hesitation, a formalism, which lets us down. Ah well.Northern Lightsis still a masterpiece.
  • 20

    La Grève (1957)

    Atlas Shrugged

    Sortie : 1957. Roman.

    Livre de Ayn Rand

    Know your enemy. This panoply of portentous Nietzcheanism lite has had a huge influence on American SF. Rand was an obsessive “objectivist” (libertarian pro-capitalist individualist) whose hatred of socialism and any form of “collectivism” is visible in this important an influential—though vile and ponderous—novel.
  • 21

    Pavane (1968)

    Sortie : 1968. Roman.

    Livre de Keith Roberts

    These linked stories take place in a present day where Elizabeth I was assassinated and Spain took over Britain. This examines life in a world where a militant feudal Catholicism acts as a fetter on social and productive functions. Though Roberts was no lefty at all, and you could probably power France on the energy from his spinning grave at being included in this list.
  • 22

    Mars la rouge - La Trilogie de Mars, tome 1 (1993)

    Red Mars

    Sortie : 1993. Roman.

    Livre de Kim Stanley Robinson

    série complete.
    Probably the most powerful center of gravity for Leftist SF in the 1990s. A sprawling and thoughtful examination of the variety of social relations feeding into and leading up to revolutionary change. (It’s also got some Gramsci jokes in it.)
  • 23

    Frankenstein ou le Prométhée moderne (1818)

    Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus

    Sortie : 1818. Roman.

    Livre de Mary Shelley

    Not a warning “not to mess with things that should be let alone” (which would be a reactionary anti-rationalist message) but an insistence on the necessity of grappling with forces one unleashes and the fact that there is no “innate” nature to people, but a socially-constructed one.
  • 24

    La Vie en temps de guerre (1987)

    Life During Wartime

    Sortie : 1987. Roman.

    Livre de Lucius Shepard

    Horrific vision of a future (thinly disguised Vietnam) war. Within the savage examinations of the truth of war and U.S. foreign policy, Shepard also investigates the relation between SF, fantasy, and “magic realism”, and uses their shared mode to look back at reality with passion.
  • 25

    Rêve de fer (1972)

    The Iron Dream

    Sortie : septembre 1972. Roman.

    Livre de Norman Spinrad

    A SF novel by Adolf Hitler… Spinrad’s funny, disturbing and savage indictment of the fascist aesthetics in much genre SF and fantasy. What if Hitler had become a pulp SF writer in New York? Not a book about that possibility but a book from it. “By the same author: Triumph of the Will and Lord of the Swastika.” Brave and nasty.
  • 26

    Le Juif errant (1844)

    Sortie : 1844. Roman.

    Livre de Eugène Sue

    Huge book by radical socialist Sue, about the adventures of the family of the Wandering Jew of legend. Symbolic fantasy elements: the Jew is the dispossessed laborer and his partner is downtrodden woman. Marx hated Sue as a writer (not without reason—less, for Sue, is not in more) but hell, it’s an important book.
  • 27

    Les Voyages de Gulliver (1726)

    Gulliver's Travels

    Sortie : 1726. Roman.

    Livre de Jonathan Swift

    Savage attack on hypocrisy and cant that never dilutes its fantasy with its satire: the two elements feed off each other perfectly.
  • 28

    Aelita (1923)

    Аэлита

    Sortie : 1923. Roman.

    Livre de Alexis Nikolaïevitch Tolstoï

    Distant relative of the other Tolstoy. The “revised” version is less good, written in the stern environment of Stalinism. A Red Army officer goes to Mars and foments a rebellion of native Martians. Good rousing stuff, but also interesting in terms of “exporting” revolution. See also the superb avant-garde film version from 1924.
  • 29

    Les oiseaux lents (1987)

    Slow birds

    Sortie : octobre 1987. Roman.

    Livre de Ian Watson

    Left-wing author whose short story collection above includes a cold demolition of Thatcher and Thatcherism. His take on oppression—cognitive and political—informs all his rather austere, cerebral writing.
  • 30

    L'Île du docteur Moreau (1896)

    The Island of Dr. Moreau

    Sortie : 1896. Roman.

    Livre de Herbert George Wells

    Like a lot of Wells’s work, this is an uneasy mixture of progressive and reactionary notions. It makes for one of the great horror stories of all time. A fraught examination of colonialism, science, eugenics, repression, and religion: a kind of fantasy echo of Shakespeare’sThe Tempest.
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