I have just finished reading Mike Resnick’s remarkable book, Kirinyaga. It is a series of interlocking stories concerning the establishment of a Utopian colony of African natives from the Kikuyu tribe, told from the point of view of the tribes witch doctor, or mundumugu. They were written specifically as shorts tories, but Resnick has crafted them in such a way that the evolution of the charcaters is seamless.
Starting from the foundation of the colony, the stories grow more complex and captivating. Koriba, the mundumugu, tries in vain to keep his culture pure from corrupting influences. You watch as his power and wisdom is slowly eroded by the temptations of modern society. In the end, he abandons the colony when he realizes that Utopia is not a destination, but a journey. One he is not willing to abandon.
This style of writing is not often used, and not always to good effect. One of my favorite books that was sucessful in this style was Venus Equilateral, by George O. Smith. This book concerned the doings of a communications relay station at the Venusian LaGrange point. It is a very good example of Golden Age science fiction.