Review: “Utopia – And Afterwards: Socioeconomic Speculation in the SF of Mack Reynolds”, Brian Stableford, 1979, 1995.
This essay is a fascinating look at an author almost forgotten today (I’ve only read his “Mercenary”) and mostly out of print (at least until ebooks). Dean Ing finished some of Reynolds’ unpublished works.
Stableford, trained as a sociologist, takes a look at Reynolds whom he sees as almost unique in trying to seriously postulate, using Marxian ideas, future societies and economies. He sees Reynolds’ Looking Backward from the Year 2000 – an updating of Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward — as the first utopian work in 40 years though it emphasizes the economics of abundance more than Bellamy’s model. (Now, of course, one could cite Ken McLeod, Charles Stross, and, especially for utopian works, Kim Stanley Robinson, as working in a similar vein.)
Reynolds seems to have consistently view capitalism and Marxism as being two ideologies which must be overcome, propagated by the power elite of their respective societies, and both having abandoned the idea of progress. This conflict with Marxism and capitalism is often not well dramatized in Reynold’s action adventure plots involving turncoat agents who start out in the employ of orthodoxies but then shift allegiance to the true revolutionaries.Continue reading