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(The Daily Beast)   How crappy science fiction writers helped ruin America   ( thedailybeast.com) divider line
    More: Facepalm, Larry Niven, trump, Gingrich, Jerry Pournelle, Pournelle, techno-futurist Newt Gingrich, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, President Donald Trump  
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5037 clicks; posted to Geek » on 17 Sep 2017 at 7:58 PM (12 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2017-09-17 06:55:24 PM  
Heinlein predicted where we are now. He called it "The Crazy Years"
 
2017-09-17 07:21:07 PM  
There is a tendency to see President Donald Trump as a radical break from the past.

But conservative techno-futurist Newt Gingrich


And that's as far as I read.
 
2017-09-17 07:23:38 PM  

NeedlesslyCanadian: There is a tendency to see President Donald Trump as a radical break from the past.

But conservative techno-futurist Newt Gingrich

And that's as far as I read.


Conservative Techno-Futurist Newt Gingrich is the name of my bluegrass futurepop band.
 
2017-09-17 07:30:13 PM  

Orion5k: NeedlesslyCanadian: There is a tendency to see President Donald Trump as a radical break from the past.

But conservative techno-futurist Newt Gingrich

And that's as far as I read.

Conservative Techno-Futurist Newt Gingrich is the name of my bluegrass futurepop band.


Drop the "Gingrich" and you have a winner.
 
2017-09-17 07:34:11 PM  
They are fools that try to separate from history to go on to some glorious future. Those that do not learn from the past will repeat it's mistakes.
Learn the lesson that the third Reich taught . That disregarding the rights of others leads to the ultimate destruction of your society.
 
2017-09-17 07:37:56 PM  
Given how the right despises science, they don't have to worry about any such future.
 
2017-09-17 07:45:35 PM  
Headline says crappy writers, TFA says legendary writers.

Why not both?
 
2017-09-17 07:46:56 PM  

VelcroFez: Headline says crappy writers, TFA says legendary writers.

Why not both?


I assume subby is not a sci-fi enthusiast.
 
2017-09-17 07:49:01 PM  
America had a brief period, post World War II, where we realized what can happen when ideology becomes dominant and those that don't agree or don't fit are literally murdered. (Germany, China, Russia)  And, it made Americans feel particularly bad about their behavior concerning black people in this country.  We couldn't possibly be like the Germans with their systematic killing of one group they particularly didn't like.  That couldn't be us, could it?  So, for this brief period, we tried to shape up, put the Klan in jail, reform our authoritarian tendencies in many different ways.  We also, through Roosevelt, brought about the safety net we all take for granted today.

However, rich guys weren't just gonna lay there and take it, so they didn't.  They formulated ways to fight back, take away the safety net, come up with a philosophy that says safety net BAD (Libertarianism), get things back to dog eat dog like rich authoritarian types like it.  If you're too worried about eating and having a roof over your head, you'll no longer care about your rights or anybody elses.

I grew up during this period.  I went to college practically for free because most state colleges in America were practically free.  However, the last thing rich people wanted is non-rich people getting stuff for free that gave them opportunities to move up the ladder.  Most rich people are not interested in competition no matter what anybody tells you.

So, since I've grown up, rich people have had their taxes cut dramatically (don't believe the BS).  The middle class and the poor have gotten much worse off.  If you're rich, this is great.  If you're anything else, this system is currently terrible.  Keep voting Republican if you want America to be a Third World country.
 
2017-09-17 07:56:59 PM  

edmo: Given how the right despises science, they don't have to worry about any such future.


I think that's more of the undereducated religious right, the more old-school big-business right is science-friendly (though selectively so, when things don't align with their business models, such as protecting the environment, they're happy to ignore the science or fund biased studies to support their old business model).  There's also the reality that while conservative corporate interests may support science and technological development if it helps them earn more profits, they tend to turn a blind eye towards the welfare of consumers, such as the fight against net neutrality.  The idea of a Randian utopia is just as false as a Communist utopia, there has to be some balance in the system between individual rights/opportunity and enforced social responsibility.

Between the two I'd rather deal with the latter than the former, though Trump seems to want to adopt the worst ideas from each camp.

I admire Gingrich's desire to invest more heavily in space exploration, and I never felt Obama invested enough in manned space flight.  I could see myself voting for a techno-futurist candidate, but not a Randian.

Also, I didn't realize Larry Niven was a RWNJ, I've only read Ringworld from him, but I didn't really see any of those themes creeping out during it.
 
2017-09-17 07:58:52 PM  
In 2008, Niven told a DHS conference that "The problem [of hospitals going broke] is hugely exaggerated by illegal aliens who aren't going to pay for anything anyway," and then suggested spreading rumors in the Spanish Latino community that hospitals were killing patients to harvest their organs.

Wow.
 
2017-09-17 07:59:38 PM  

RJReves: Heinlein predicted where we are now. He called it "The Crazy Years"


Isn't "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" a sort of libertarian story?
 
2017-09-17 08:01:47 PM  
img.fark.netView Full Size


For an example of more recent right-wing xenophobia in sci-fi. American becomes a gang-plagued hellscape where people take a drug that lets them relive past memories in order to escape reality because of illegal immigration and the national debt. I'm not kidding.

Shame since Hyperion is one of my faves.
 
2017-09-17 08:05:25 PM  

fusillade762: RJReves: Heinlein predicted where we are now. He called it "The Crazy Years"

Isn't "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" a sort of libertarian story?


Bernardo de la Paz (one of the protagonists) describes himself as a "Rational Anarchist"

Heinlein himself had some rather off beat (read: nutty) political views, and they frequently crept into his fiction.
 
2017-09-17 08:07:01 PM  

fusillade762: RJReves: Heinlein predicted where we are now. He called it "The Crazy Years"

Isn't "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" a sort of libertarian story?


Heinlein had a period of libertarianism
 
2017-09-17 08:23:36 PM  

edmo: Given how the right despises science, they don't have to worry about any such future.


You couldn't be more wrong.  There are those on the right who love science; as long as it feeds their lust for power and money.
 
2017-09-17 08:29:03 PM  

PaulRB: America had a brief period, post World War II, where we realized what can happen when ideology becomes dominant and those that don't agree or don't fit are literally murdered. (Germany, China, Russia)  And, it made Americans feel particularly bad about their behavior concerning black people in this country.  We couldn't possibly be like the Germans with their systematic killing of one group they particularly didn't like.  That couldn't be us, could it?  So, for this brief period, we tried to shape up, put the Klan in jail, reform our authoritarian tendencies in many different ways.  We also, through Roosevelt, brought about the safety net we all take for granted today.

However, rich guys weren't just gonna lay there and take it, so they didn't.  They formulated ways to fight back, take away the safety net, come up with a philosophy that says safety net BAD (Libertarianism), get things back to dog eat dog like rich authoritarian types like it.  If you're too worried about eating and having a roof over your head, you'll no longer care about your rights or anybody elses.

I grew up during this period.  I went to college practically for free because most state colleges in America were practically free.  However, the last thing rich people wanted is non-rich people getting stuff for free that gave them opportunities to move up the ladder.  Most rich people are not interested in competition no matter what anybody tells you.

So, since I've grown up, rich people have had their taxes cut dramatically (don't believe the BS).  The middle class and the poor have gotten much worse off.  If you're rich, this is great.  If you're anything else, this system is currently terrible.  Keep voting Republican if you want America to be a Third World country.


Indeed, progress was made during the WWII era and afterwards, but that led to a backlash:

Though the army remained segregated, it quickly discovered the inefficiency and expense of maintaining separate facilities. It was even forced, whenever the exhausted, ill-supplied, and depleted forces of the Wehrmacht beat back the unheroic GIs, to bypass its segregated practices and throw in blacks troops to support decimated or beleaguered white units.
Black veterans, relatedly, provided many of the shock troops that would assault Jim Crow after 1945.
These developments - combined with the retreat of "scientific racism" in the 1930s, the wartime expansion of the New Deal state, the defeat and demonization of German anti-liberalism, and the Cold War's ensuing crusade for democracy and equality - would together undermine much of the legitimacy of traditional American racial practices.
As one Alabama governor (Frank Dixon) rather tendentiously put it (and only a Southerner could make this argument with a straight face), "The Huns have wrecked the theory of the master race."


One US ambassador described the country's race problem as its "Achilles' heel," another called it "the greatest propaganda gift that could be given to the Kremlin," and a third asked: "How can we persuade these Africans and Asians . . . that we believe in human dignity when we deny our own citizens the right to this basic dignity on the basis of skin color?"
In this struggle between the "Communist East" and the "liberal West," Truman's cold warriors had now to keep the nonwhite "South" allied with the white "North."
US foreign relations, it followed, would no longer be insulated from the nation's race relations.


https://www.counter-currents.com/2011/02/the-cold-war-on-whites/

/An interesting article, but from the author's point of view, all that progress wasn't worth it.
 
2017-09-17 08:29:17 PM  

fusillade762: RJReves: Heinlein predicted where we are now. He called it "The Crazy Years"

Isn't "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" a sort of libertarian story?


I think he is referring to Revolt In 2100.
Protestant Christian Fundamentalists establish a Theocratic dictatorship in the US.
The Freemasons, Catholics, Jews and Mormons band together to overthrow the theocracy.
 
2017-09-17 08:29:36 PM  
Philip Jose Farmer?

*clicks*

Nope. Sigh Wake me when America models itself after Riverworld.
 
2017-09-17 08:30:22 PM  
How could any article on crappy right-wing scifi authors fail to mention Orson Scott Card?
 
2017-09-17 08:45:53 PM  

Dhusk: How could any article on crappy right-wing scifi authors fail to mention Orson Scott Card?


You call that science fiction?
 
2017-09-17 08:47:26 PM  
I know the article focuses on RWNJ sci-if writers, but I think there a problem with the current overflow of distopic fiction. It's like we're so invested in a hellish future that we're not imaging a good one. It's awfully hard to get good results when the only thing one can imagine is the awful.
 
2017-09-17 08:47:28 PM  
Ctrl+f Culture

No?

Not interested in living in your sci-fi  future Newt, Jerry, Larry. There's plenty dystopia to go around as things stand now, thanks, bye.
 
2017-09-17 08:47:33 PM  
I think that is a slight understatement. Here is a crappy Sci-Fi author who helped ruin the world.
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2017-09-17 08:48:43 PM  
i.gr-assets.comView Full Size
 
2017-09-17 08:48:46 PM  
The right wing elites imagined in SciFi literature are influencing governmental thinking?

How about the elites in popular thriller/spy/military fiction (which often verges on SciFi.) Such works often have top secret organizations staffed by the finest thinkers and those trained by the military special forces who go around acting extrajudicially because if they had to ask for permission the liberals would never let them kill anybody to save the USA. And somehow their actions are easily covered up from the knowledge of the non-deserving public.

I'm sure many fans of such literature believe it reflects reality only that it can't reveal the true names of the groups all their secrets, and that the NSA has a wet-ops division. Many military/terrorism pundits/advisors sound like they believe this crap and some of it was acted on during the Iraq war.
 
2017-09-17 08:49:55 PM  

DeaH: I know the article focuses on RWNJ sci-if writers, but I think there a problem with the current overflow of distopic fiction. It's like we're so invested in a hellish future that we're not imaging a good one. It's awfully hard to get good results when the only thing one can imagine is the awful.


David Brin has some insight on why we're peddling that crap instead of decent forward looking sci-fi.
One reason is laziness. Always easy to get bites with end of the world tropes or zombies.
 
2017-09-17 08:50:18 PM  

Herr Flick's Revenge: fusillade762: RJReves: Heinlein predicted where we are now. He called it "The Crazy Years"

Isn't "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" a sort of libertarian story?

I think he is referring to Revolt In 2100.
Protestant Christian Fundamentalists establish a Theocratic dictatorship in the US.
The Freemasons, Catholics, Jews and Mormons band together to overthrow the theocracy.


Now that's a coalition of strange bedfellows if I ever saw one.

Also, the article gets one thing wrong. The God Emperor reference isn't to Leto II, but to the God Emperor of Mankind from Warhammer, specifically the way the Imperium worships him.
 
2017-09-17 08:51:48 PM  

poorjon: [i.gr-assets.com image 187x157]


Hey! That's Vonnegut's asshole! I'd recognize it anywhere!


/that just sounded wrong.
 
2017-09-17 08:54:00 PM  

HairBolus: How about the elites in popular thriller/spy/military fiction (which often verges on SciFi.) Such works often have top secret organizations staffed by the finest thinkers and those trained by the military special forces who go around acting extrajudicially because if they had to ask for permission the liberals would never let them kill anybody to save the USA. And somehow their actions are easily covered up from the knowledge of the non-deserving public.


dear god yes.  24 was farking terrifying for me.  The fact the the supreme court has used it for some of their rulings is just absurd beyond belief.
 
2017-09-17 08:54:50 PM  

Herr Flick's Revenge: fusillade762: RJReves: Heinlein predicted where we are now. He called it "The Crazy Years"

Isn't "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" a sort of libertarian story?

I think he is referring to Revolt In 2100.
Protestant Christian Fundamentalists establish a Theocratic dictatorship in the US.
The Freemasons, Catholics, Jews and Mormons band together to overthrow the theocracy.


They are also referenced in other of his "Future History" stories.
 
2017-09-17 09:00:27 PM  

fusillade762: [img.fark.net image 304x475]

For an example of more recent right-wing xenophobia in sci-fi. American becomes a gang-plagued hellscape where people take a drug that lets them relive past memories in order to escape reality because of illegal immigration and the national debt. I'm not kidding.

Shame since Hyperion is one of my faves.


I read it too but I knew what I was in for.  I thought it was well written for all that I disagreed with its politics.
 
2017-09-17 09:06:36 PM  
I try to steer away from books where the author's name is three times the size of the name of the book.
 
2017-09-17 09:07:22 PM  

RJReves: Herr Flick's Revenge: fusillade762: RJReves: Heinlein predicted where we are now. He called it "The Crazy Years"

Isn't "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" a sort of libertarian story?

I think he is referring to Revolt In 2100.
Protestant Christian Fundamentalists establish a Theocratic dictatorship in the US.
The Freemasons, Catholics, Jews and Mormons band together to overthrow the theocracy.

They are also referenced in other of his "Future History" stories.


I believe there are 2 timelines.
In one, the Reverend Scudder is stopped by a group of right thinking, boot strappy individuals. He never gets elected as president.
In the other, all the right thinking people have left the earth because of space travel. Since all that are left on Earth at this point are non-boot strappy individuals, Scudder is able to establish his dictatorship.

*right thinking, boot strappy people is code for Libertarians
 
2017-09-17 09:11:35 PM  

VelcroFez: Headline says crappy writers, TFA says legendary writers.

Why not both?


Legendarily crappy writers? I'll allow it.
 
2017-09-17 09:12:40 PM  
When I was was younger, I didn't even know that Jerry Pournelle was a writer. I thought he was just some tiresome hack who wrote for Byte, trying to do an Andy Rooney routine about the troubles he had hooking up his printer. Whenever I see his name, I can't help but think of those tiresome, biatchy screeds.
 
2017-09-17 09:12:44 PM  

yohohogreengiant: DeaH: I know the article focuses on RWNJ sci-if writers, but I think there a problem with the current overflow of distopic fiction. It's like we're so invested in a hellish future that we're not imaging a good one. It's awfully hard to get good results when the only thing one can imagine is the awful.

David Brin has some insight on why we're peddling that crap instead of decent forward looking sci-fi.
One reason is laziness. Always easy to get bites with end of the world tropes or zombies.


Zombies always get some bites.
 
2017-09-17 09:17:57 PM  
The author of that article is clearly angered that people are remembering Jerry Pournelle as an author of interesting stories, rather than savaging his memory because of his egregious wrongthink.

Too bad.
 
2017-09-17 09:23:45 PM  

Orion5k: Conservative Techno-Futurist Newt Gingrich is the name of my bluegrass futurepop band.


Unacceptable.
img.fark.netView Full Size

You have been warned.
 
2017-09-17 09:27:36 PM  

fusillade762: Isn't "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" a sort of libertarian story?


Yup!  Apparently it was one of his takes on possible utopias.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress depicted a libertarian utopia.

Starship Troopers depicted a fascist utopia.

I believe Stranger in a Strange Land depicted a socialist utopia but I haven't read that one myself -- it's my last Heinlein, and I've been saving it.
 
2017-09-17 09:30:25 PM  

Herr Flick's Revenge: RJReves: Herr Flick's Revenge: fusillade762: RJReves: Heinlein predicted where we are now. He called it "The Crazy Years"

Isn't "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" a sort of libertarian story?

I think he is referring to Revolt In 2100.
Protestant Christian Fundamentalists establish a Theocratic dictatorship in the US.
The Freemasons, Catholics, Jews and Mormons band together to overthrow the theocracy.

They are also referenced in other of his "Future History" stories.

I believe there are 2 timelines.
In one, the Reverend Scudder is stopped by a group of right thinking, boot strappy individuals. He never gets elected as president.
In the other, all the right thinking people have left the earth because of space travel. Since all that are left on Earth at this point are non-boot strappy individuals, Scudder is able to establish his dictatorship.

*right thinking, boot strappy people is code for Libertarians


It's only one timeline. Space travel was interrupted by Scudders presidency and resumed after the Second American Revolution.

In "The Cat Who Walked Through Walls" he introduced alternate time lines. In one, Scudders unknown and unnamed father is provided with a condom the day he knocked up Scudders mother, and Scudder never exists. Unfortunately, since the US never turned isolationist under Scudder, what was, in the original timeline, a horrible war that resulted in Europe being nuked, ends up being a war in which the entire Earth is rendered radioactive.
 
2017-09-17 09:31:09 PM  

Glitchwerks: Orion5k: Conservative Techno-Futurist Newt Gingrich is the name of my bluegrass futurepop band.

Unacceptable.
[img.fark.net image 640x579]
You have been warned.


Does he wax?
 
2017-09-17 09:36:31 PM  
...an influential group of right-wing science-fiction writers in the 1970s and 1980s that also included Larry Niven, David Drake, Janet Morris, and S. M. Stirling.

I've read at least my weight in books by those those authors. Yet somehow I remain a Left Coast Liberal.
 
2017-09-17 09:38:38 PM  

yohohogreengiant: DeaH: I know the article focuses on RWNJ sci-if writers, but I think there a problem with the current overflow of distopic fiction. It's like we're so invested in a hellish future that we're not imaging a good one. It's awfully hard to get good results when the only thing one can imagine is the awful.

David Brin has some insight on why we're peddling that crap instead of decent forward looking sci-fi.
One reason is laziness. Always easy to get bites with end of the world tropes or zombies.


Another is probably that many people don't actually want to look forward.  They would rather sit in their pool of muck and pronounce everything good and exactly where they enjoy being.  Which explains the vast bulk of people who voted for Trump, as they would rather see the country go back over 150 years (probably more, but I'm just spitballing here).
 
2017-09-17 09:39:02 PM  

snowblur: fusillade762: Isn't "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" a sort of libertarian story?

Yup!  Apparently it was one of his takes on possible utopias.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress depicted a libertarian utopia.

Starship Troopers depicted a fascist utopia.

I believe Stranger in a Strange Land depicted a socialist utopia but I haven't read that one myself -- it's my last Heinlein, and I've been saving it.


Except Starship Troopers, the book, has nothing to do with fascism.
 
2017-09-17 09:42:59 PM  

Herr Flick's Revenge: Except Starship Troopers, the book, has nothing to do with fascism.


fas·cism
an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.

Sure sounds like the world of Starship Troopers, the book, to me!
 
2017-09-17 09:42:59 PM  
The "writer" of that article makes the amateur mistake of thinking that things people say in a novel are the views of the author. Sometimes they're just the views of certain characters in the book.
 
2017-09-17 09:44:39 PM  

bingethinker: The "writer" of that article makes the amateur mistake of thinking that things people say in a novel are the views of the author. Sometimes they're just the views of certain characters in the book.


Pournelle definitely was quite a bit of a right winger in his early years.  He mellowed out in his later years, however, according to many people who knew him personally.  But his early books definitely had protagonists that fit in well with his thoughts as a younger author.
 
2017-09-17 09:44:41 PM  
 
2017-09-17 09:48:38 PM  
The reason is that most sci-fi writers,even when technically knowledgable, are often poorly skilled in political science and.or sociology.
 
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