Old SciFi and Cultural Relevance

October 06, 2012 by Gabe | [mmd] |

I've been catching up on SciFi novels I skipped during my youth.1 While they stand up well, what impresses and saddens me is that the cultural discussions under the surface are still so relevant. I'm no literary scholar, but each book had a meaningful timeless theme that I enjoyed. I listened to each one as an Audible audiobook. Each one was superbly narrated. In fact, I'm not sure I could have followed the huge number of characters without the excellent narration.

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, 1961

The pursuit of happiness and religious freedom2

The Mote in God's Eye, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, 1974

Racial Equality3

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein, 1965

States rights and personal freedom as well as non-traditional marriage

  1. My youth was spent reading chemistry books and Kurt Vonnegut. I'm pretty proud of those decisions. 

  2. Fun facts about this book: Introduced the word "Grok" to our lexicon. Had one of the first descriptions of a water bed. 

  3. Ironically, or coincidentally, this has a jarring portrayal of gender rights. Women are portrayed in a negative light throughout the book.