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Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

April 24, 2024

U is for Utopian Fiction #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter U

For the A to Z Challenge, I'm discussing different book genres/categories. Each day, I will give a few details about the genre/category and an example or two. I would love to know your thoughts on the genre/category and if you have any reading suggestions. Be sure to check out all of my A to Z posts.

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Utopian Fiction is a subgenre of speculative fiction and the opposite of dystopian fiction. A utopian story is set in an imagined, perfect world - often in the distant future. The world is seen as just, idealistic, and harmonious. When I think of utopian fiction, I think of Star Trek. 

While the term "utopia" wasn't coined until the 1500s, utopian stories go back to Ancient Greece. One of the earliest utopian stories was written in 391 BC (Assembywomen by Aristophanes - it is utopian satire). Today, it is usually classified as science fiction or speculative fiction.

 I went through this list of utopian literature on Wikipedia to see if I had read any utopian fiction. The Giver by Lois Lowry is the closest to utopian fiction I've read. If you have read it, then you know that on the surface they seem to live in a perfect society but there is ugliness underneath. 

I recognized some of the authors on the list, if not the book title, H.G. Wells (A Modern Utopia [1905]) and Upton Sinclair (The Millennium: A Comedy of the Year 2000 [1907]). 

On the list is a post-apocalyptic novel, The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk, that I'm going to check out for my book club.

You might be thinking what kind of plot would there be in a utopian novel. If the society is idealistic and fair, what kind of conflict could there be? I mean, doesn't "harmonious" imply a lack of conflict? I've wondered about this, but I think about Star Trek and how they interacted with less utopian societies which often caused conflict. Also, interpersonal conflict can still occur but it can probably resolved without violence or injustice.

I don't think we've reviewed any utopian fiction - I haven't. So I'm going to feature a series from the list that I think sounds interesting (probably because it makes me think of Star Trek)

Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks

book cover of Utopian Fiction novel Consider Phlebas by Iain M Banks

The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender.

Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction.

Buy Consider Phlebas at Amazon

Do you read anything that would be considered utopian fiction? 

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.


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  1. I've read THE GIVER by Lois Lowry, but that's the only one that sounded familiar to me. I did enjoy it, so I guess I'll think about putting some utopian lit on my list.

  2. I have The Giver in my TBR pile so maybe I'll discover a new genre I love!

  3. I love Star Trek and its utopian world view, but it's so humanistic. It's interesting to read about both positive and negative views of the future though.

  4. I can't think of any utopian books I've read...

    Ronel visiting for U: My Languishing TBR: U
    Unbridled Harpies