Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Polity is libertarian space opera done right

The Polity Is Libertarian Space Opera Done Right | WIRED:

July 28, 2018 - "The Polity series by English science fiction author Neal Asher is a limitless thrill-ride of grotesque aliens, badass hardware, rogue AIs, and deadly secret agents. It’s got everything a science fiction fan could want from an action-adventure story, and that’s definitely by design. 'I wanted a universe — a future history, if you like — big enough to tell just about any science fiction story I’d want to tell,' Asher says.... 'And that’s how The Polity came about.'

"The series is set hundreds of years in the future, when humanity has expanded throughout most of the galaxy, and a benevolent civilization called the Polity has brought peace and stability to thousands of worlds. The stories are mostly set on the periphery of this civilization, where Polity agents struggle to exert control. ''Stories are conflict, and inside the Polity there isn’t so much of that,' Asher says. 'Within the Polity it’s pretty much utopian.'

"In contrast to progressive visions of the future seen in Star Trek or the Culture series, the Polity is a libertarian utopia where all paternalistic laws have been abolished and the free market reigns supreme. But Asher says he’s not interested in sending any sort of message in his fiction. 'I just wrote it as I saw it,' he says. 'I’ve never thought that much about it. My aim is to tell a story and to entertain.'

"He’s more outspoken on Twitter, where he regularly posts about politics. He says that social media has made him acutely aware of just how unwelcome his views are in the overwhelmingly liberal world of science fiction, to the extent that he simply avoids science fiction conventions altogether.

“'I look around at the writers that I know of, that I see on Twitter, and the political opinions and all this kind of thing, and I’m just not one of the herd in that respect, so I keep out of it,' he says. 'I can’t see myself sitting on a panel on anything like that and keeping my mouth shut, so it’s probably best if I don’t go.'"

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