Yet Another Graphomaniacs Compendium
Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Similarites


Occasionally I notice strange similarities between two seemingly different books. In this case "The Player Of Games" by Iain Banks and "The Dispossessed" by Ursuala K Le Guin. They might be interesting books to read alongisde one another.


The similarites are in both setting and plot: a lone representative of a more socially advanced culture visits and has an enormous effect on a much more socially regressive culture. Shevek is a Physictist from Annares, an anarchistic culture based on a moon orbiting Urras: a much more capitalistic culture, and we see it through his eyes. Likewise, The Player of Games centres around Jeanu Morat Gurgueh, a game-player of the Culture: which is a post-scarcity society in which money is no longer needed as a medium of exchange because an individual has acess to all the material things he/she could reasonably need due to advanced technology. Gurgeh is visiting the Azadian Empire, which is a frankly revolting and feudal society even by 21st Century Western standards, and again: we see the society through his eyes, seemingly seeing our own by proxy.


The books even share similar flaws. Although they present a sideways view of our own society, and are intellectually interesting, pointing out the links between langauge culture and society in that both protagonists come from an idealistic society with an artificial language (Pravic, and Marain), it must be said that both authors have a quite leaden prose style and the books can be a struggle to read, but are worth the effort because they make you see our current societies in a completely different light, as someone from outside might see them, which is always a valuable thing, even if you disagree completely with the premises of the protaganoists of the books..


The one interesting difference is that the society in the Dispossessed is based on soldiarity in the face of scarcity - their social model of mutual co-operation is a neccissity if the Annaresti culture is to surrvive. However, the Culture is the way it is for exactly the opposite reason. When anybody can have anything, possessions become meaningless..

posted by John Connors at
Tuesday, August 23, 2005

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A miscellany of topics that intersest me: deaf culture, game design, politics as soap opera, the cyborg condition and the experience of learning to hear again. Other topics presented are speculative fiction and imaginary cities. There are appearences of snippets of work in progress, public rants, pointless posts and Mish the Mouse.




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