“Larry Niven: Science Fiction Writer and Socio-Political Theorist, and The Cloak of Anarchy

“Larry Niven: Science Fiction Writer and Socio-Political Theorist, and The Cloak of Anarchy

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“The Cloak of Anarchy”; Larry Niven’s science fiction short story involves a futuristic, dystopian world, where one man’s social experiment goes very wrong. In “the Cloak of Anarchy”, Niven has developed a short story into a vehicle which is an effective commentary, on a variety of social and political topics. When many writers avoid controversial subjects; Larry Niven remains imaginative and thought provoking, by including potentially controversial societal situations and includes political views.
Some writers would tend to avoid controversy in their writing, to avoid offending or limiting their audience. Many choose to write brilliantly designed worlds, times or characters, that simply take a reader on a journey. They can use traits of realistic, non-realistic, and semi-realistic fiction. An effective storyteller can create plots, characters and settings which involve themes based on historical events, or mythology to present their tale. Classic themes within the science fiction genre; is this classic blending of scientific and technological facts. Then it is their job to take you to a place or time that shows their finely crafted potential situation and events.
In stories such as “The Cloak of Anarchy”, and “Footfall”(with Jerry Pournelle), he adeptly uses his writing skill and imagination to allow you to see into another place; he also shows no trepidation in including societal situations and political opinions which are even more thought provoking. The story begins with a description of the setting, which is a futuristic California . To be precise the San Diego, and Los Angeles areas. Long known for its expansive freeways, and exorbitant smog and pollution. The area is transformed to lush greenery: “Square in the middle of ...


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...er gets more expensive, immediately. There’s no reason why private enterprise can’t do anything a government--”(410). This is a viewpoint I have heard many times in our world; however, as the story goes on to show many premises behind anarchy would be doomed for failure.
So as these examples show Larry Niven, effectively uses the science fiction genre to present an interesting look at a dystopian world. He also is not intimidated to present social and political situations and viewpoints , for people to ponder and base their own opinions on. He efficaciously presents ideas that seem important to him, and should be addressed, while he also paints a picture of potential problems that could occur if not taken seriously.








Works Cited
Shippey, T. A. ""The Cloak of Anarchy"" The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories. Oxford [England: Oxford UP, 1992. 400-19. Print

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