Tags : :
Several science fiction novels and stories have recently been mentioned in other topic areas. I hope they are raised again here, in greater depth. To consolidate and focus this sort of interest here is a discussion thread dedicated to how science fiction has explored and perhaps informs various concepts of sensible simplicity and sustainability.
Science fiction often springboards into these explorations of sensible simplicity and sustainability in possible futures from a crisis event (usually a regional or global collapse of one sort or another, swift or slow), though this is not always the case.
My personal hope with this online discussion is to find some new novels and stories I’ve not yet encountered, share some of my favorites, and perhaps learn to think differently about some aspects of it all through reading others’ perspectives. If this eventually develops into face-to-face gatherings for discussions then even more is possible as an outcome.
To launch this topic here is not just an old favorite of mine, but in one sense the very oldest favorite of mine: it was the first SciFi story I ever remember reading as a boy. After this tale I was hooked on the genre, forevermore. This piece is a short story now considered a classic, commonly available in literature anthologies. As luck would have it a transcribed version is even currently available and freely accessible for reading online (just click the link).
“By the Water of Babylon” by Stephen Vincent Benét
Indeed, if there is interest among a subgroup of the Sensible Sustainability Forum community in discussing sustainability as seen through the various lenses and filters of science fiction then I would be enthusiastic about the group periodically choosing a story or book, all reading it, and then gathering in person to discuss our perspectives face to face. Such discussions could perhaps happen in the evening over chow and beverages after everyone has jointly lent a hand to assisting the group's host that particular day with some barn-raising, clearing, planting, weeding, harvesting, butchering or whatever other group-sized task. A group makes quick work of some tasks which are otherwise very difficult or impossible for an individual, couple, or small family. Rotating from one place to the next, we could become more familiar with one another and prosper from advice and exchanges of resources as such opportunities for mutual benefit come to light. Real tangible practical action performed jointly, sharing a potluck meal together, and exchanging perspectives on a story or book we have all read seems to me a pleasant and productive way to build community.
If you enjoy “By the Water of Babylon” by Stephen Vincent Benét (at least in the sense of finding value in it),
then I also recommend a classic full length novel by George Stewart: Earth Abides
Of similar flavor but set farther in the future of a post-oil climate-changed world, Edgar Pangborn's collection of short stories Still I Persist in Wondering along with his novels Davy and The Company of Glory (all set in the same future reality) may also be of interest.
Please do post your own suggestions and comments on SciFi worth reading as connected to sensible simplicity and sustainability.