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  •  Authors That Express A Philosophy Through Fiction (21+ / 0-)

    From io9: The books that perfectly capture their authors' philosophies

    Every book reflects the beliefs of its author, at least indirectly. But some books are the very apotheosis of their authors' philosophies, often containing long sections devoted to ethical or moral analysis. Here's what it looks like when your favorite authors get philosophical.
    Here are some of the examples cited in the article as well as the comments:
    • Philip K. Dick - With "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" (part of the basis for Blade Runner), "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" (which became Total Recall), and "A Scanner Darkly," there is a theme of questioning what is real.
    • Ursula K. Le Guin - With "The Left Hand of Darkness" and "The Dispossessed," Le Guin looks at both sexism and government's effect on society. In "The Dispossessed," an anarchic society attempts to create a world without any rules and totally "free," to the point that people create their own language. Things don't work out so well.
    • Kurt Vonnegut - With "Slaughterhouse Five" and his other works, there is a deep cynicism about society and its absurdities. And also a general feeling that humans are destructive bastards.
    • Ray Bradbury - Both "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Martian Chronicles" touch on political philosophies. But with "The Martian Chronicles," if there's an overarching theme that unites the short stories, it's the inability to change or learn from past mistakes & how it dooms the characters to an unending cycle of death. The preconceptions of "the way things are supposed to be" leads to most of the conflicts in the stories. None of the cultures are capable of sharing with each other, or understanding the other's perspective. Whether it's the Martians understanding the humans (they initially dismiss humanity as the insane mental projections of other Martians), humanity understanding the Martians (most humans view Mars as a resource to be exploited & remade in Earth's image, with no respect to the indigenous culture), or even humanity with itself (leading to "soft rains").
    • Ayn Rand - Both "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" are the basis for her philosophy of Objectivism.
    • Robert Heinlein - With "Starship Troopers," "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress," and "Stranger in a Strange Land" have general themes of Heinlein's libertarian philosophy and the freedom of the individual. Although, the arguments about "Starship Troopers" usually devolve into accusations that Heinlein was a fascist.
    • Carl Sagan - With "Contact," "Pale Blue Dot," and "The Demon-Haunted World," there is a theme of perspective and how science and reason can offer a universe just as awe-inspiring as any concocted by superstition.
    • Stanislaw Lem - A major theme of Lem's work is communication & understanding. In "Fiasco," attempts to forcefully establish contact with an Alien civilization end in disaster when Humanity fundamentally misunderstands why the Aliens don't respond. In "His Master's Voice," all attempts to understand a suspected Alien message to Humanity fail. The novel is not as much about Aliens, but examining the perspectives of Humanity & what each character believes the message to be. I always thought "Solaris" had the most intriguing question. If we have problems communicating with each other as Humans, or coming to terms with our own internal feelings, how do we expect to talk to & understand something Alien?
    • Stephen King - Some have called his works almost "old testament" in their world-view, since there are clear goods and evils in his work (e.g. "The Stand"). And the forces involved that might be considered "good" are vengeful and not always considerate of how their decisions about the big picture affect the people involved. From King's novel "Desperation":
    "You said 'God is cruel' the way a person who's lived his whole life on Tahiti might say 'Snow is cold.' You knew, but you didn't understand. Do you know how cruel your God can be, David? How fantastically cruel? Sometimes he makes us live."

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