Links: 2019-02-12

Science Fiction

  • Opinion | The Darkness Where the Future Should Be – The New York Times. This article is about how hard it is to envision positive futures when the present is so dark. The Golden Age of SF was created by the Greatest Generation when we were in the dregs of the Depression which made our recent “Great Recession” look like a boom and when Hitler was blitzkrieging Europe with an initially unbroken string of smashing successes. The casualties to humanity in those years numbered in the millions. And then we went to the Moon just like we had in SF. What’s the present time’s excuse? What’s our problem? Buck up and get back that “vision thing.” We may all die tomorrow and there is much in the world driving us that way, from the corporations to Russia to China to aspects of the United States, itself. Without vision, hope, ideals, and appreciation for what is good in us and those who came before us, we would be doomed. But, with creativity, we may get over the oppression, hate, fear, and unreason after all. Mars, here we come. And then, per aspera ad astra!

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Links: 2020-01-17

Science Fiction

  • Some Thoughts on Science Fiction Visuals. A eulogy for Syd Mead and an appreciation of Blade Runner.
  • RIP, Mike Resnick | Adventures Fantastic. I found this out from Dave Truesdale but this was the first place I saw it on the web. It’s sad and somewhat shocking news. I’ve had email conversations with him and found him to be a great guy as well as a great writer. I think I most enjoyed his Africa works such as Kirinyaga, Ivory, and the Galactic Comedy/Chronicles of Distant Worlds trilogy but I also enjoyed a lot of his other stories, the first big batch of which can be found in Will the Last Person to Leave the Planet Please Shut Off the Sun?.
  • Flogging Babel: Mike Resnick: The Man With A Thousand Little Rockets. Another great write-up on the above.
  • Compelling Science Fiction is back! Most readers of this blog know my feelings about the current state of short SF. Compelling has been an exception to that state, not because it mimics a particular era or has a particular political stance, but because it exemplifies the expression that “science fiction is a literature of ideas” and specifically does not omit “science” or “ideas.” So this is great news.

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Links: 2019-12-30

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My Top 10 Calvin and Hobbes strips by Bill Watterson posted on GoComics from July to December:

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December anniversaries…

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Links: 2019-11-19

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Thirty years ago this past November 14th…

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Links: 2019-10-25

Science Fiction

  • On Books | Asimov’s Science Fiction. In the course of “The Incredible Shrinking Blog” I tried to explain why I was reorienting this blog and no longer pointing people toward contemporary magazines. Ironically, I have to point people toward an article in a contemporary magazine because the brilliant Norman Spinrad (of impeccable New Wave leftist credentials) explains this far more eloquently than I could. While he is probably far too generous to all three books he reviews, his overall thesis resonates with me completely. A book on Campbell tells us that “rather than Campbell’s or anyone else’s political or cultural passions, any of us on any side who take [“political, cultural, sexual, and literary [and scientific] matters”] as thematically serious are all ipso facto ‘Campbellian’ writers.” A book of award winners by “science fiction” writers themselves, “were hodge-podges of fantasy and science fiction written by writers who didn’t seem to have a clear understanding of what made science fiction science fiction and fantasy fantasy, and can only fairly be called ‘SF,’ or worse, ‘Sci-fi.'” which “tells us that fantasy has long since come to dominate SF. It tells us that many or perhaps even a majority of these SF writers do not have the education or indeed the inclination to learn the difference between science fiction and fantasy and to dish the result out to a populace that has more than enough confusion about the difference between reality and magic already.” A hard SF novel gives him an opportunity to extol science fictional virtues and to conclude with the question that “the field” has already answered in one way and which I have answered in another.

    (By the way, I’ve long championed the notion of giving Spinrad a Grand Master but I realize that he’ll probably never get one because he doesn’t “stick to rose-colored platitudes and SFWA’s self-congratulations” and that’s okay, because he would only add luster to the award which it can no longer add to him.)

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  • The Art of Darkness » Seen Online. I have to quote this one outright:  “No one ever talks about how an oubliette implies the existence of a larger, and far more terrifying, oobly.” –Brainmage

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As foreshadowed in the last “Links” post, here’s some live Dead (and more) from the dead who yet live.

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Links: 2019-10-07

Science Fiction

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  • Sabine Hossenfelder: Backreaction: Windows Black Screen Nightmare. This particular item is tech rather than science. It illustrates one of the many reasons I go to great lengths to run Slackware. (Speaking of science and tech, I still love Bruce Sterling’s bit in one of his novels: ‘Computer science was a fraud. It always had been. It was the only branch of science ever named after a gadget… Now physics, that was true science. Nobody ever called physics “lever science” or “billiard ball science.”‘ Now I have a hard time thinking of physics without “lever science” popping into my head.)

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Liberals who value free thinking and the constitution might wonder, with friends like “the trans left” and many of the Democratic nominees, who needs enemies?

Liberals who value democracy, reason, and integrity might wonder, with enemies like the following right-wing writers, who needs friends?

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For a second consecutive post, we’ve lost two more. I’ll get to them next time, maybe, but I already had the music loaded up (overloaded), including one that “should have been aborted” and others that might be even worse in Baker’s book:

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Links: 2019-09-17

Site News

  • This re-starts the ever-popular “Links” posts. (I deleted the rest because there was so little of anything else left that they made the site look like a “Links” site though the fact that they would have required a lot of detailed editing in the Science Fiction sections also wasn’t appealing. But I still like doing them. Sort of.)

Science Fiction

  • Simak’s “All the Traps of Earth” | Futures Past and Present
  • The Peace-Loving Military Robots’ Plot – Reason.com. (PKD.)
  • In Memoriam – Katherine MacLean – SFWA. I really like her collection The Trouble with You Earth People and I love her collection The Diploids. I also really like her novel Missing Man and I love the novella of the same name which makes up the bulk of it.
  • Should they rename the Tiptree Award, too? / Boing Boing. It never ends. I like the way this takes for granted that they, in fact, should have renamed the Campbell. I also like the way “both narratives fit the story.” So we will take it upon ourselves to pick the least charitable and judge her guilty over three decades after the fact with no evidence. Because we are the pure, the righteous, the omniscient ones. Who cares if she was one of the greatest SF short story writers ever? Who cares if maybe we should feel sympathy that her life ended in great tragedy as her husband wanted to die and she couldn’t live without him or with what she had to do? No. We know she was a murderer and an unperson.

    So who’s next? Shirley Jackson smoked. What a horrible role-model. Ted Sturgeon was worse: in addition to smoking, he was a member of an all-male club. PKD used drugs and his drug-addled visions probably contribute to the opioid crisis. Cordwainer Smith was a right-winger. Arthur C. Clarke was gay and that used to get you jailed rather than honored. Maybe it will again someday. And he was still a white male and British so, y’know: imperialist. (Bram Stoker actually explicitly was.) Chesley Bonestell designed the Plymouth Rock memorial which, as we know, is all about slavery and genocide. Ray Bradbury? “In young adulthood Bradbury read stories published in Astounding Science Fiction, and read everything by Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, and the early writings of Theodore Sturgeon and A. E. van Vogt.” Another “fucking fascist.” And all these people were white and all male except Jackson and all published in Astounding except Smith, Jackson and, of course, Stoker. So rename all the awards. None of these people did anything worth honoring.

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We lost two more. To be honest, the only Eddie Money song I really like is below, but I like it a lot. And Ric Ocasek (who wrote most everything, played guitar, and sang lead on most tracks (including the one below) and the Cars produced a lot of really good stuff.

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