16 thoughts on “Fiction For Freedom”

  1. @Jim Davis:

    That caught my eye too, but then I remembered something I had read in Tolkien’s published letters:


    This link also has a bit of an explanation:

    But it’s more than a stretch to call Tolkien a libertarian. He was a devout and conservative Catholic, and his works feature such ideas as rightful kingship and a distinction between High Men and Middle Men.

  2. As a New Space advocate I assume you have at least read “Kings of the High Frontier” about the race for private spaceflight.

  3. But it’s more than a stretch to call Tolkien a libertarian.

    Thanks for the links. I always pegged Tolkien as a champion of medieval (or at least preindustrial) values. While libertarians might have some notions of personal freedom in common with Tolkien I doubt they would agree with the sacrifices Tolkien seems to think necessary to achieve it.

  4. I’m glad to see that the libertarian speculative fiction classic The Illuminatus! Trilogy is on the list. Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia!

  5. Or The System of the World for that matter.

    I’ve read all of The Baroque Cycle and, while I enjoyed the series, I think science fiction is enough of a stretch without adding libertarian. It’s historical fiction, plain and simple.

    Cryptonomicon, on the other hand, was libertarian Stephenson.. I’ve spoken to a few people who assumed The Baroque Cycle was just like Cryptonomicon because they never read it.. and a few people who never read The Baroque Cycle because they assumed it would be just like Cryptonomicon. There’s virtually no similarity, but I guess when presented with three inch thick tomes people tend to rationalize why they couldn’t be bothered.

  6. RE: Tolkien and a few of the others, I think it’s the work that’s supposed to be libertarian, not the writer. At least no one asked me what my political opinions are. OTOH given the way I tend to run my mouth and get all “excitable” when subjects like Heinlein come up, perhaps they didnt’ need to? 😉

  7. I must say that I don’t see much libertarian in LOTR; there’s some meritocracy-through-bloodline (Aragorn restores the Numenorean dynasty in part by being honorable and true), and some self-determination through standing up for what’s right (the scouring of the Shire), but I don’t see it as libertarian the way that The Moon is a Harsh Mistress or Farnham’s Freehold or The Illuminatus! Trilogy or the Schroedinger’s Cat Trilogy are.

    I wouldn’t know about SF of the last 20 years; except for the occasional Niven work, the only semi-recent SF I’ve read is Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, which I saw as pretty libertarian (as well as pretty entertaining); disappointing that I didn’t see it on the list. It’s certainly much more libertarian (and much more entertaining!) than Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love (I remain obdurate in my opinion that none of Heinlein’s work post-TMIAHM is worthwhile reading).

  8. Trent, I assume you’re referring to Heinlein’s The Rolling Stones? If so, then of course; it’s one of the best of the so-called juveniles. I would rank Have Space-Suit Will Travel and Citizen of the Galaxy as the best juveniles, but they’re all very good and had a major formative effect on me (I read them all when I was an early teenager).

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  10. Tolkien wasn’t libertarian in any sense of the world and any attempt to shoehorn him into that viewpoint just makes the one doing it look pathetic. Whether we like it or not, Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic and his imaginary world was based on a Catholic lifestyle, though he was at pains to point out that it was pre-Christian; it was written in the attitude of the Beowulf poet, who was an Anglo-Saxon Christian writing about pre-Christian people. (A lot of pagan fans of the book don’t get this either and they go into all sorts of contortionist knots trying to ignore Tolkien’s Christianity.)

  11. Hi, T.L. James, bought it, read it. Very much the feel of a Heinlein juvenile.
    Nicely done.
    Thomas Matula: Flynn’s “Firestar” quadrilogy is also about the race for private spaceflight and lots else.

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