YMMV / Looking Backward

  • Follow the Leader: One of the first 19th Century utopian science-fiction novels. It inspired not only copycat novels and spinoffs, but also a slew of Take That! response novels by writers doubting the economics and politics of Bellamy's future. News from Nowhere by William Morris was a response from a fellow socialist, as Morris found it too stiflingly industrial and favored a rural, agrarian setting instead.
  • Values Dissonance: Obviously the idea that a command economy would be the best thing ever is controversial enough, given the record of communist states in the actual 20th century. The novel also claims that crimes are the result of "atavism" (i.e. hereditary traits). People with them are "treated in the hospitals." What treatment is unclear, but sterilization would seem to be the most probable, given this was advocated by the eugenics movement when Bellamy lived (and later became law in twenty seven US states).