A Planet Called Utopia

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The only hope, Rojas suggests, lies in remembering the joys of companionship, the thrill of populating your inner space with the images of the people you love, so you no longer have to worry about being alone—or about killing your fellow crew members if they deviate from the plan. The novel vibrates with tenderness—or is it paranoia?

Either way, Rojas is on a mission of his own. When A Legend of the Future was published in , Cuba was at the height of its postrevolution prosperity, buoyed by Soviet sugar subsidies and oil discounts. Two centuries have passed since the Federation defeated the Empire, and now the Empire has prepared its revenge in the form of robotic sleeper cells that implant the personalities of its spies and torturers into the bodies of innocent Federation citizens.

There are hopping machines and flying carpets, too, but mostly there are people: mothers and sons, doctors and patients, lovers, friends, enemies, all whirling through the narrative with theatrically perfect timing. As the novel builds to its intensely satisfying conclusion, though, it becomes less and less clear that Rojas really trusts or values humanity, which he sees as unalterably capable of fear and doubt, selfishness and betrayal.

Over the course of the narrative, it becomes clear that Rojas is looking back at his readers from the perspective of a hypothetical future in which human fallibility has been overcome—and the Federation is finally on solid ground. This is utopia, for Rojas: A perfect place would inevitably be ruined if human beings lived there. His poise is professorial, but his moral ambition is so great as to be almost alien. Who but a human would entertain such a dream?

Exhibition seeks to put utopia in its place

When the Soviet Union finally collapsed, it nearly took Cuba with it. To save his nation, or at least his government, Castro inaugurated the catastrophic Special Period in Peacetime, in which food, oil, electricity, and even clothing were rationed, and urban workers were sent into the countryside to grow crops.


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To bring in much-needed hard currency, Castro opened the island to foreign tourism; the Spanish, French, and Canadians rushed in to buy hotels and organize package vacations. This lopsided poverty gave rise to its own kind of science fiction, exemplified by the writing of Yoss.

Like Rojas, Yoss trained as a biologist; unlike Rojas, he has managed to support himself as a writer—although he also teaches writing workshops and sings in a heavy-metal band. He looks like a heavy-metal singer, with long hair, big arms, a bandanna, and a black leather vest.

In contrast, Rojas—frail, saintly, and bearded—might have been played, in a more just universe, by an aging Robin Williams. Where Rojas was an ascetic, Yoss is a cynical delinquent, a scofflaw, and a punk. The humans dream of leaving Earth on the wings of their talent, if they have any, or in a jury-rigged spacecraft.

Running away, forever if at all possible, from the parched, subjugated, defeated, sterile, sick Earth.

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Among its hallmarks are improvised technology, colorful petty criminals, sex for money, and mind-altering drugs, and A Planet for Rent ticks all those boxes. Seeing them ticked is a little disappointing. OK, so this reader pleads guilty. But the disappointment remains. What is novel in A Planet for Rent , at least for American readers, is the outrage, sheer pain, and awfulness of the future. As Cuba opens more and more to American business, the oft-expressed concern is that the island will lose the characteristics that made it singular for nearly three-quarters of a century. Paperback , 0 pages.

A Planet Called Utopia by J.T. McIntosh

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Start your review of A Planet Called Utopia. At its best, science fiction explores themes and theories that wouldn't otherwise be able to be explored.

J T McIntosh is not the most well known science fiction writer, but he's one of the best. In this excellent novel, McIntosh explores the possibilities of immortality. The thesis is what would happen if there was one planet where the secret to immortality was discovered. What would that society be like? One of the immediately obvious problems to immortality is overpopulation.


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Utopia solves th At its best, science fiction explores themes and theories that wouldn't otherwise be able to be explored. Utopia solves that by making the population artificially infertile, vastly limiting births, and making marriage just about illegal. Of course, in this world, with everlasting life, no marriage, and no children, sex is easy and plentiful.

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The story involves the first visitor in years to Utopia, Hardy Cronyn, and his introduction to this strange new world that boasted such positives but also so many new and strange customs. It also involves him in quite newsworthy events that he sort of stumbled into. It is a well-crafted story, easy to read, and quite captivating. Aug 03, Jordan rated it really liked it. Okay, blatant sex aside grin this was a lovely take on what a "utopia" actually entails.

It was my second look into dystopia as a genre and I've always wanted to read more by this author, but his work is not readily available here.

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I only managed to read this one by buying at the Half Price Books clearance sale. Key themes: happiness, freedom, what punishment means when your race has a longer life span, and politics. Feb 17, Diane rated it it was ok Shelves: sci-fi. Hannah Leaper rated it it was amazing Jun 28, Becky rated it liked it Dec 13, Boobarella rated it really liked it Jan 14, Brittnie rated it really liked it May 23, Andrew rated it liked it Aug 02, Peter Brander rated it liked it Mar 29, Madison rated it really liked it Jun 17, Judy marked it as to-read Jan 02, Chris added it Sep 29, John D.

Kaushikmahadev Narayanan marked it as to-read Mar 03, Bethany Nelson marked it as to-read Jan 09, Diana marked it as to-read Jan 19, Megan marked it as to-read Jan 20, Deborah Bell added it Aug 17, Vasanth Bharathi marked it as to-read Sep 25, Jeremy marked it as to-read Oct 17,