|08-12-2011, 08:21 AM||#1|
Join Date: Oct 2010
Device: Kindle 5 Paperwhite and a Nook Simple Touch
An observation about Sci-fi books and TV shows
I have come to a recent conclusion that most of the books and TV shows that I have seen are about civilizations that ar rules by monarchs. Star Treck (the program talks about the elected body but we never get to see it in action) and Star Wars (where viewers get to see the republic's senate and often see elected representatives) stand out as exceptions to this rule. David Weber's civilization is run by a monarch and Michael R. Hick's civilization is not really a monarchy but it tends to act that way. The only reason that I can think of for this trend is that monarchs are easier for writers to deal with since there is no dynamics that need to be dealt with that acompany a democracy. Any thoughts on the issue?
|08-12-2011, 08:28 AM||#2|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Device: Kindle PW2, iPad Retina Mini, iPhone 4, MS Surface Pro
Being a monarchy and being a democracy are not mutually exclusive. Many European countries, for example, are democratic monarchies, with the monarch being head of state, but with the country being governed by a parliament.
David Weber's "Star Kingdom of Manticore" in his "Honor Harrington" books is basically the same set-up - it's very much modelled on the British parliamentary system.
|08-12-2011, 02:03 PM||#3|
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Southern California
Device: Kindle PW, PRS-650, iPhone 4, iPad 4
Seems to me there are an equal number of interstellar ruling councils (see Babylon 5 or Mass Effect), colonial defense forces (see Old Man's War or Hammer's Slammers series, which also has monarchies if I recall correctly), Terran Federation (see Starship Troopers or Ender's Game series or Battlestar Galactica) and the like in SF literature.
Last edited by Penforhire; 08-13-2011 at 01:24 PM.
|08-13-2011, 01:31 AM||#4|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Seattle area
Device: Rocket PRO, gen3, Pocketbook360
Just like the difference between a sailing ship commander before radio, and a modern naval commander, the speed of communications effects your level of responsibility for independent action. And there are spiritual arguments to be made that, even with a large bureaucracy to run the government, it can make a difference to public perception if there is a royal head of state that "cares for" the people.
Pure democracy only really works when you can meet and get to know every voter in the system. Beyond that scale, some representative is needed, and the level of legislative abstraction gets huge when you throw in lots of planets. If I can't go to an office to talk to my rep, does she really represent me? Maybe it's better to trust a royal prince, who at least might have the advantage of a good education (or not, but that's another reason for a story.....)
|08-13-2011, 02:00 AM||#5|
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Perth, Australia
Device: Sony PRS-650, Sony PRS-T1, Kindle 3, iPad2, Nexus7v2
Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series has a democratic Alliance on one side of the conflict and the Syndicated Worlds (a gigantic corporation), on the other.
H Beam Piper explored all sorts of star spanning governments in his Future History books.
He started with a Federation, a democratic system. Then a period of dark aged anarchy, then to Empire.
The Vatta's War series by Elizabeth Moon has no centrally governing political system, rather planetary governments or small multi-system federations.
I tend to think the Monarchical system works quite well for star spanning political systems as a strong centrist system would bind all the individual systems together.
|08-13-2011, 02:28 AM||#6|
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Monroe Wisconsin
Device: K3, Kindle Paperwhite, Calibre, and Mobipocket for Pc (netbook)
Star Wars did have Monarchy in it if you remember. The queen seems to have been elected to a term and then another leader took that position later I assume. After she stepped down from being queen Amadala was addressed as Senator. I assume the 'queen' was the head of the Government while in office and normally would have sent her Senator to handle things with the Senate rather than go herself, but the circumstances forced her to do so personally. So locally there could be monarchy while in the greater whole there would be what we think of as a democracy.
|08-23-2011, 09:44 PM||#7|
Join Date: Oct 2010
Device: Adobe Digital Editions
Plenty of old school science fiction reflected the democracy of the future. I'm thinking of writers like Heinlein.
But when writers create new space empires, they often want the fantasy elements of a medieval court with ranks. I think there's more romance and compelling drama in a knightly court than in a bureaucratic office.
|08-24-2011, 04:15 AM||#8|
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Bradford, UK
Device: kindle pc
The Culture from Iain M Banks's novels has no real formal government at all. It's a post-scarcity anarcho-communist utopia.
|08-24-2011, 08:11 AM||#9|
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Swindon, UK
Device: Sony PRS-T2 (previously 505 and 650)
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