Cybershaming In The Science Fiction Community

It can get very ugly when the Left starts to eat its own:

The virtually thoughtless piling on is perhaps the most appalling. So many of the criticizers whose comments I have come across admit they haven’t even read the columns in question. Once the ball of shunning and shaming got rolling, hundreds of onlookers, alerted by social media, jumped on the bandwagon, attracted by the enticing glow of participating in shared moral outrage. Moral preening is on overload; industry professionals and would-be professionals frantically signal to each other that they are right-thinkers. According to the mau-mauers, Mike and Barry did not merely misspeak (miswrite?); they did not have decent-enough intentions which were ruined by Paleolithic habits and blinkered upbringings; they are morally suspect, malign and vicious and evil. It’s burn the witch! all over again, but this time on a pyre of blog posts and Tweets.

I mentioned before that I completely understand the vehemence of Barry’s reaction to all this. One sadly ironic aspect of this brouhaha is that Barry is a lifelong man of the Left. He was staunchly antiwar during the Vietnam era (see early stories such as “Final War”), and his dream president was (and remains) Eugene McCarthy. I fully believe, based on his writings about Alice Sheldon and Judith Merril, that Barry considers himself a feminist, and an avid one. Condemnation from one’s “own side” always burns hotter in one’s craw than condemnation from “the other guys,” which can be easily rationalized away; just as criticism (especially when viewed as unfair) from one’s own family hurts much worse than criticism from relative strangers. Forty years ago (and in all the years since), Barry was a fierce advocate of the New Wave in science fiction, whose practitioners (with the sole exception of R. A. Lafferty) were all politically aligned with the Left, as opposed to old-timers such as John W. Campbell and Robert Heinlein. Now Barry must feel as though the children of the Revolution are eating their elders (as so frequently happens, it seems).

This is actually one reason that I don’t read anywhere near as much SF as I did when I was a kid.

109 thoughts on “Cybershaming In The Science Fiction Community”

  1. I never liked Malzberg or any of the “New Wave” writers. RAH, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Poul Anderson were much better writers than any of the new wave writer of the 60’s.

  2. I agree. I pretty much stopped reading British SF when became mostly a haven for commie and Trots.

    Fortunately, Amazon has opened the floodgates for politically incorrect writers by making self-publishing viable. They no longer have to care much about what anyone but their readers think.

    And the Left, yeah, they hate each other far more than they hate the Right. That’s what happens when you all want to be The One who gets to tell everyone else what to do.

  3. I agree with Joe Wooten’s and Edward M. Grant’s comments above. I’m currently reading Niven, Pournelle, and Flynn’s Fallen Angels on the Amazon Kindle Android app on my phone. I have Herbert’s Dune to read next, but I might instead read Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (which I despise) to compare & contrast the governments and societies there and in Fallen Angels.

    I haven’t liked New Wave. I’ll give R.A. Lafferty a try sometime.

    1. Lafferty’s Fourth Mansions I really liked. The rest not so much. I’m a big fan of the others [Herbert, obviously] and that novel was really interesting.

    1. Yep. Eagerly awaiting the latest from Ringo, Kratman, Williamson, Correia, et. al.

      And maybe I’ll read Starship Troopers for the fifth- sixth? I’ve lost count- time.

      1. 56th or 65th time for me. In the quiet of a dark night when nobody else is about I sometimes take out my biggest wish and hold it up to the moonlight to see once again:

        I wish someone would make a decent Starship Troopers movie that didn’t completely suck.

        And chuckle because that would prove both the existence of God and the immediacy of the End of Days.

  4. Mainstream SF is DOA, thanks mostly to the snide, multiculti bitches (of both sexes) that have infested it and turned it into their hive. Almost all mainstream SF authors now have to convince a merciliess gauntlet of editorial Red Guards that their creative content does not promote white supremacy, white privilege, phallocracy, or the Christo-capitalist exploitation of workers, wymyn, blacks, People of Color, Women of Cover, Muslims, Jews, animals, or any member of the LGBTI2LS/MFTOMGWTFBBQ Rainbow of Victimhood. Any deviation from Mao Zedong Thought and it’s no bookshelf for you, you racist, homophobic oppressor of the masses!

    This is why there is literally almost nothing worth buying in the SF section of Barnes&Noble any more. Soon Barnes&Noble will be gone — and mainstream SF with it. To which I respond: good riddance.

    On the other hand, the market for electronically-published SF is roaring like an unshielded fusion core. E-pub/self-pub/small-press SF is where the real Science Fiction is these days. There are literally more interesting self-published/small press SF titles on Amazon that one can read. (Some of it is crap, of course, but that’s what the Try a Sample Now button is for.) No matter what kind of SF you go for, it’s out there somewhere — and all of it delightfully fresh, straight from the source, and unfiltered through the Central Committee’s red Lens. Most of it could never be published by the mainstream publishers today — not because of any salacious content, but because it unashamedly champions the traditions of Western, Christian civilization. Most of it is also at least readable. Most of it is cheap. You know, like SF paperbacks once were.

    And some of it is really good. Take the Crimson Worlds series by Jay Allan: you start off with the first book thinking you’re reading a straight-up “tribute” to Starship Troopers, but you soon realize that the various factions, planets, and character types are subtly familar. By the third book, you come to realize that the series is not only a slambang picaresque space adventure, but a pointed, prophetic, and surprisingly skillful satire of the current state of affairs in the USA and the world.

    Which is, of course, what SF is supposed to be.

    Do you like real SF, SF of the classic kind, the SF of bold frontiers, big dreams, and masculine adventure, the SF of Heinlein, del Rey, and Piper? Well, you won’t find it on the bookstore shelf, because (with a few notable exceptions) that kind of SF can’t be published today — and the kind of man who wrote it is no longer welcome among his fellow SF authors. Not that many of the classic SF writers would want to be welcomed among them. H. Beam Piper would puke if he had lived to see the kind of pink slime that rules the SF roost today.

    If you like real Science Fiction, then give mainstream SF the back of your space gauntlet, suit up, and cycle the airlock. It’s time to jump for the rescue ship.

    Eschew the bookstore Bolsheviks and their SFWA Space Cheka. Or, as Trask, prince of the Space Vikings might say: to Niffleheim with them. Who needs that coven of shrieking female Red Guards and their scalzified male sycophants? It’s about time mainstream SF was blown to Em-Cee-Squared! Science Fiction fan, turn your backs on the corrupt, self-styled monarchs that run and ruin SF and escape to the raw, incorrect, unfiltered world of the future of SF: small/self-published science fiction.

    Please note that I do not know Mr. Allan, nor am I associated with him in any way except as a reader of his fiction.

    1. I’ve never read much fiction at all, science or otherwise, but that was an epic rant, B Lewis! Kudos.

    2. B. Lewis, after reading your post, I downloaded the first of Allan’s Crimson World’s books. In the first ten seconds, I was hooked. It does read like a tribute to Starship Troopers! It’s very much in that tradition, and I fully recommend it. Thanks! For only $2.99 on Kindle, it’s a rare treat.

      Anybody who hasn’t read Temporary Duty by Ric Locke needs to, also–space opera at its best.

      I’m also reading Saberhagen’s Berserker and Dracula series, both out on Kindle only recently. This stuff is what SF was in the good old days, before it all became vampire softcore.

    3. Well said. I have read a lot of SF since the mid-5os and still do, but none of it comes from bookstores anymore. Baen Books, indeed, and Amazon are the only sources worth looking at these sad, sad days.

  5. I do not read much modern SF either. But it has nothing to do with the authors political inclinations. It is just that they can’t write worth a damn. I mean I have read Accelerando and Cryptonomicon but it felt like a chore sometimes. I never felt like that when reading Asimov, Frank Herbert, Heinlein, Poul Anderson, etc. The pages just went by effortlessly. Even the early William Gibson works were a lot more readable even if they got a bit psychedelic at times.

    I think a lot of this is due to the way SF authors went into the trade back then. Most of them started writing short stories for SF magazines. Eventually they either extended the most promising short stories, or they wrote brand new stories based on that experience. Where did SF magazines go?

    Today a lot of these people have a lot less experience actually writing. Then they write huge monstrosities with 900 pages (I’m looking at you Neal Stephenson) mostly filled with fluff with no relation to the main plot. Even the fantasy genre is not immune to this. Just look the the A Song of Ice and Fire series with its thousand page monstrosities. Someone needs to whack these people in the head with a hardcover copy of Dune. It has 400 pages and the plot is more complex and interwoven than anything these bozos write today. Plus it is actually readable!

    1. I too drifted away from written SF after Asimov and Heinlein died (of course, the RAH oeuvre post-TMIAHM was pretty bad, and Asimov’s resurgence starting with Foundation’s Edge was pretty unexpected); Niven and Pournelle still did some good stuff (Footfall was definitely a high point), and Harlan Ellison had the occasional screed, but that was about it. The cyberpunks never did anything for me. But a co-worker who shared similar tastes suggested that I read Cryptonomicon, but I kept putting it off, fearing disappointment; after he passed away unexpectedly, I figured that I’d do this one last thing for him, picked up a copy, and was quickly hooked – a ripping good yarn IMHO. Haven’t picked up any other Stephenson yet, but expect to at some point.

      Oh well, more time to play guitar…

      1. I’ve not read any Stephenson after he called the Alfa a missile sub in Snow Crash (great otherwise, btw) – I should probably get over it. Ringo, Weber, even some of the 1632 stuff is all I have time for, now.

        1. I inhaled Anathem, Cryptonomicon, The Baroque Cycle, Snowcrash. If nothing else, the guy knows how to tell a story the sucks me in.

          I think he’s an awesome writer.

    2. The SF magazines are still out there; at least Asimov’s and Analog are still around. I never once bought a copy of Asimov’s; looked thru a few issues and decided that it was mostly new wave bovine excrement.

      Analog was different; I started on that in 1971, just at the end of the John Campbell era, and bought as many of the back issues as i could. I bought it after Campbell died, though the quality of the stories went down hill. I continued to buy it off and on until the early 90s, when I decided that I needed the space in the 2nd floor bedroom.
      As a sideline, I’m trying to write both SF and fantasy, and looked into the markets recently. Analog still pays roughly what it did in the early 1950s; @4 cents a word. I couldn’t find the rate for Asimov’s but suspect it is similar.
      I miss Hal Clement (Barlennan!) and the other writers of that day. I recently found a quantity of the old magazines, but I am more selective in my reading these days. However, I am very tempted…

      1. Yeah, I gave up on Analog when too many of the stories started out with the protagonist riding into town on the stagecoach, er, landing on the latest spaceliner. Sad when the creativity disappears and mindless formulas take over.

      2. I’ve read Analog since the early 1960s. I have all [I think] since 1978 or so and sometimes re-read them.
        Until recently, about the last year or so, I read them through the moment I got them. Now they lay around for a couple of weeks or more. Why? I think it’s because too many of the stories are ‘literature’ rather than stories.
        Too Post-Modern. I don’t want to have to guess the plot or the motivations or the point or whatever. That’s sort of what made me throw “Dahlgren” against the wall and swear never to read Delany again or give him a dime of my money. And I haven’t.

        Whatever happened to strong plots and strong characters?

    3. There seem to be only the three “big” magazines-Analog, Asimov’s, and F&SF-left in print; there are online mags like Strange Horizon,s Clarksworld, and Lightspeed, but mostly the magazine market seems to have been relegated to small presses and online token markets. As for readability, a lot of the great writers had their works published in places like Astounding years before they appeared in book form; they read well partly because they were serialized first.

      I agree about the state of SF in general; too much emphasis on political correctness and not enough on story (remember the famous line that SF writers were competing for Joe’s beer money, except that today’s writers look down on Joe.) I grew up reading classic sf in the Seventies and Eighties; cyberpunks included. I still have a copy of Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology. They at least were still entertaining back then. Over the last decade in particular, however, the field seems to have become increasingly moribund, at least where the mainstream is concerned.

      Why has this happened? I think a lot of today’s writers are academics; they come from a world of political and social theory and it shows in their writing. Very few are actual working scientists (something else that is different.) Or maybe the once young Turks have now become the establishment and want those damn online kids with their demands for real sf off their lawns. Either way, very disappointing.

      PS Personally I don’t think sf should be ideological at all, except for the desire to tell a good yarn and make people think about the future. But maybe I’m just too cranky for today’s sf field.

  6. Be glad it’s my bedtime, so I’ll only state the obvious. The best SciFi you can read today is $3.99 or less on kindle.
    Details on request!

    1. Yep. $3.99 on Kindle. It’s a pretty damned exhilarating experience, publishing as an indie. I got an email from Amazon just last week, my first royalties check will be in the bank this coming week. Published in April, check in July. Traditional publishing can’t come close to beating this. No more begging agents to look at your work, begging publishers to please please consider your little manuscript. Mike, details please.

      1. I also just published my SF novel last month and will see my first royalty check soon. Not much, but a start. I had the feeling that my tale involving a religious and traditionalist society being the only ones to survive in an apocalyptic future would not excite the establishment.

        1. Dave, I’d note that it took me three clicks to get from this website to your book. Click your name to get to your website, click the cover pic to get to your blog page featuring the book, then click through again to find the Amazon page. Try setting it up so a click on your name goes straight to your book on Amazon, unless you are pushing the blog more than the book that is.

  7. Ditto what B. Lewis said. I was just at B&N two days ago and found nothing that caught my interest. They even removed the comfy chairs. From now on I will seek out SF writers who are using the new epublishing model.

  8. Regarding doorstop books: I, too, remember the time when complex plots could be fitted into 250 pages or so and make readable stories. One of the extreme examples of books filled with fluff is the Night’s Dawn trilogy. I have a copy of this; it’s a trilogy of 1300-page books, in small type. I have no clue what the word count might be. And it ends in a totally boring deus ex machina, quite literally. One gets the overwhelming sense that the author yielded to deadline pressure.

    Another point about this particular series is that one particular phrase, “neural nanonics”, is repeated ad nauseam. I can’t imagine that in a society where such things are common, the phrase wouldn’t have been shortened; “neuronics” perhaps. And in most cases, even that would be unnecessary; references to downloading data to neural nanonics abound. FFS, we know where the data is being downloaded to – you’ve told us 127 times already!

    On a lighter note, I read Jerry Pournelle’s blog regularly. He tells us that he and Niven are going to hit us with something big again; “Lucifer’s Hammer” revisited, presumably with a different plot.

    1. Tad Williamson’s “Dragonbone Chair” 4-book ‘trilogy’. None shorter than 500 pages. Michael Moorcock used to fit two or three whole books in that many pages.
      The “Wheel of Time” series (AKA “Run another forest through the pulper, I haven’t figured out an ending yet!”): Will and Ariel Durant told the whole story of Western Civilization in fewer books.

      Or anything by Stephen “You can’t edit me, I’m famous!” King (if your stomach is even strong enough to read him these days: seriously Steve, go back on the coke and booze; you’re a worse writer sober than you ever were when you were lit).

      Books, guys. We buy them to be entertained, not as doorstops or construction material.

      FC: “Neural Nanonics”? Sure they weren’t channeling old “Mork and Mindy” reruns?

      1. Will and Ariel Durant told the whole story of Western Civilization in fewer books.

        And they’re more fun.

      2. His trilogy was a trilogy in hardcover, don’t blame him for the publisher’s decision to split the third book into two mass market paperbacks.

        Wheel of Time had an ending planned from before he published the first book, but don’t let facts get in your way.

        Night’s Dawn was crap, but Hamilton’s duology starting with Pandora’s Star is really great if you can stomach the adolescent sex fantasy sections.

        1. “Wheel of Time had an ending planned from before he published the first book…”
          …but he still couldn’t get there in a reasonable time- or maybe he just found that there was an uneding pool of fanboys who’d buy yet another installment of swords-and-soap-opera ad nauseum.

          1. I gave up on Wheel after book five or six–did he actually finish it before he died? I figured maybe he’d pad the series to 12 or 13 books (one for each hour) but I think he went well past that.

          2. Daver: So far it’s up to 14 books, the last three were posthumous and “coauthored” by Brandon Sanderson.
            You lasted about as long as I did.

  9. For the past year I’ve been reading all the Heinlein juveniles bought on Amazon that my local library didn’t have when I was a kid in late 70’s, early 80’s.

    Talk about tight plots and well written, they are a joy to read.

    The year before, I read a bunch of Poul Anderson that I bought in mass quantity on EBay.

    John Ringo is about the only modern author I can enjoy.

    I’m hoping the beginning of our heinleinesque future of new space with Bigelow and SpaceX will free up a few minds and bring some of these hopefull visions of the future and libertarian type thinking back to scifi writing.

    1. Had the pleasure yesterday of taking my daughter over to my Dad’s house. We went up to the attic and went through all my old SF collection, picking out things she might like, Azimov, Heinlein, Clark, even a few non-fictions like Carl Sagan. She was particularly thrilled to find a hardback H G Wells collection, which I didn’t even remember I had.
      Keep looking at the new stuff though. Ringo isn’t the only good current writer.

    2. Citizen of the Galaxy hooked me for good in the late 50s. Thank goodness for a Carnegie Library. That and then Norton’s Time Traders. And a librarian who pointed me in the right direction.

  10. The shrill screams of these people remind me of Invasion of The Body Snatchers. I can picture Donald Sutherland pointing and howling “Sexist”, or “denier”, or “racist” depending upon the subject. No rational discussions are allowed. I guess you could also equate it to a 5 yr old plugging their ears and going nananana now wanting to hear anything other than the party line.

    1. It’s the negative feedback part of keeping people on the plantation: “Disagree in the slightest and we’ll call you names and get hordes of our friends to do likewise!”
      The positive feedback method is something you’ve seen too: “We’re smart, so if you agree with us you must be smart too! You want to be smart, don’t you?”

      Note no actual mention of ethical or moral right or wrong.

    2. Indeed. It was an interesting discussion thread.

      It’s kind of ironic that a bunch of science fiction and fantasy writers would act like the “typical villagers” in many of their novels. Our intrepid heroes beam down to a planet that was last surveyed twenty years earlier, to provide an update, and at some point use the phrase “beautiful lady.” The rest of the episode is the riot, a discussion in a prison cell, a trial in front of a screaming mob (who are absolutely incapable of self reflection), and ends with the survey party getting beamed out at the last minute.

      1. Only because the editor cut out the graphic lynching scene and tacked on a happy ending. I just finished reading Wen Spencer’s Eight Million Gods which features a half-crazed protagonist with hypergraphia who has (barely) managed to parlay her affliction into a writing career, mostly by ending her graphic, supernaturally-themed thriller stories before the protagonists’ horrible deaths. “”Madame, all stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you.”

        What little fiction I read anymore is mostly fantasy. There’s less play for “white privilege” shrieking and psychotic-socialist worldbuilding in semi-contemporary urban fantasy.

    1. Vox Day’s blog is the perfect blog for considering the SFWA sexism controversy. After all, Vox Day is the SFWA presidential candidate who said “The ironic, but logically inescapable fact is that encouraging men to rape would be considerably less damaging to a society than encouraging women to enter the workforce en masse.” And there is lots more where that came from!

        1. I’m “threw a tantrum” because no one here was willing to say “Hey, the Oklahoma City bombing was wrong, and there was no justification for it, none.” Instead, you happily chat with an anti-American terrorist sympathizer, and criticize me.

          1. The perp got executed. Seems to me *someone* said the Oklahoma City bombing was wrong.

            Still, you know, you tell me.

            Maybe it wasn’t declared wrong in a way that suited you. In which case, well, life is hard.

        2. Here’s a thought: when Islamists commit an act of terrorism, quite a few people who comment on this blog point out that too many Muslims who are against terrorism stay silent. If someone (like me) says “the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful and are against terrorism”, someone here will ask “Well, then why don’t we hear from them?” (And then ensues a discussion of where you might hear from them – would it be covered on the news, etc?)

          With the recent pro-Oklahoma City bombing comment on this blog, there was a chance for people here to do what you want others to do — speak out against terrorism. But no one here would (except me, and I was criticized for it.)

          1. Okay, lets make the two cases even more similar: If a bunch of Saudi Arabian guys are sitting around, and one of them expresses admiration for 9/11 and says that blowing up American civilians is a good idea, I want his friends to say “No, Al Queda is a bunch of murderers, and murder and terrorism is not how we should achieve our goals.” Don’t you want that too?

            Trent is a friend of yours, Rand. And a fellow space development advocate – you link to his blog on his page. And you, and Trent’s other friends who comment on this blog and read what Trent had to say, none of you said “No, the Oklahoma City bombing was wrong, and murdering people isn’t how we should achieve our goals.”

            Just like I want an Islamist’s friends to speak out against terrorism, I’d want Trent’s friends to speak out against terrorism. I don’t see why the two cases are different.

          2. OK, here’s my take: 20% of Muslims are complete nutters, up for whatever mayhem and savagery they can accomplish. 79% of Muslims give tacit support. 1% wish they otther 99% would go away.

            I base this from growing up in the Republic of Ireland in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Oh, and as one of the 1%, I fled the Septic Isle as quickly as I could.

          3. Another point you seem to miss Bob, is that Trent never said:

            The Oklahoma City bombing was [right], and murdering people [is] how we should achieve our goals.

            What he was saying is that often the bad guys have more zeal than the good guys. This is irrefutably true.

            While murdering people isn’t the way civilized people achieve their goals, killing often is. Not making a distinction between killing and murder is often a problem.

      1. Vox Day’s blog is the perfect blog for considering the SFWA sexism controversy. After all, Vox Day is the SFWA presidential candidate who said “The ironic, but logically inescapable fact is that encouraging men to rape would be considerably less damaging to a society than encouraging women to enter the workforce en masse.” And there is lots more where that came from!

        He was right about that. Society has always been able to survive the presence of rapists. But the destruction of the traditional family unit — the fundamental cell of human society — by feminism and its manifestations is destroying society.

        The current social order is entirely artificial, propped up by the bayonets of Big Government. It will fail, and the natural human social order will reassert itself itself in time. But what a long, miserable interregnum we face between the two.


        “You may drive out nature with a pitchfork,
        Yet she will ever hurry back
        over your foolish contempt.”
        Horace, Epistles 1:10:24

        1. So you’re now agreeing that encouraging men to rape would be better than encouraging women to work outside the home. In addition to your prior proud embrace of racism, you’ve also mentioned your Christianity. Do you think Jesus would agree with your position on rape vs work? Shame on you.

          As for “going against nature”,

          If I take medicine, or fly in an airplane, am I going against nature?
          If I vote in an election, am I going against nature? Disease (including aging) and lack of high speed travel historically dictated aspects of our social structure. So did the lack of democracy. I’m an engineer – I believe we can always do better. Is this going against nature?


          You cannot go against nature,
          Because when you do
          Go against nature
          It’s part of nature too.
          – Love and Rockets

          1. I’m saying the destruction of the traditional family (by feminism, among other forces) is more damaging to society than is rape. I’m sorry you find this difficult to understand.

            “Do you think Jesus would agree with your position that rape is more harmful to society vs spreading a deadly virus that would destroy mankind?”

            I reject your set of false choices. Our Lord is opposed to rape, a disordered and intrinsically immoral act, and also to so-called sexual equality, which is destroying the traditional family, a sacred and fundamental institution established by God. Any society can survive despite the existence of rape. No society can survive that has permitted the destruction of the traditional family.

            Your pathetic attempt to use the holy name of Jesus to support your Christophobic and hateful anti-family worldview has failed.

            I am a Christian, Bob. A very bad one. But I know what the Master taught, even if I am his most unworthy servant. And as such, I say, with due respect: you don’t know a damn thing about what Jesus would or would not have approved of because you are on the side of His enemy. You don’t give a damn about Jesus or what He taught because you reject what He taught. Jesus took a whip of small cords to the likes of you.

            As for “going against nature”,If I take medicine, or fly in an airplane, am I going against nature?If I blah blah blah nobody cares

            Apples and oranges, as your keen engineer’s intellect knows very well.

            [1980s pop song “philosophy” deleted]

            Didn’t you quit this forum in a huff, Bob-1? Or do you just enjoy it when I humiliate you in front of the class?

          2. Bob, what the hell does any of your posts have to do with the topic of science fiction? Why must you try to threadjack whatever discussion is going on instead of participating? Damn, you’re annoying. If you don’t have anything relevant to the topic, kindly STFU or ESAD.

    1. The challenge in dealing with the Left is not getting them to devour their own children, but rather, how to stop them from doing so. Moloch was a piker in comparison with the luminaries of the amnesiac Left.

        1. I need to take a day or two and tag the stoopid posts. I’ve just been snowed under short story requests and trying to serve three mast… er… trying to write non fic, indie fic and Baen fic. How come none of you has invited a cloning machine yet?
          You missed this one 😉 Yes, I got exercised.

          1. Replying to Rand Simberg below, where the reply button has failed to appear (too many comments, I think) to say “Reject the tyranny of spelling! (Which could also be written “the tranny of spelling”. Only you’d insist on misunderstanding it.) It’s only patriarchal patriarchy of patriarch-like evil that requires that we wymens of color not mistype. The keyboard to them who plies it. (Or pies it. Which ever.)”
            Which is to say — yeah, yeah, I mean “INVENTED” a cloning machine. Something between this chair and this keyboard mistypes. (I mean, of course, the NSA and their “auto-correct” plot. :-P)

          2. Don’t blame me, I’ve been inviting time machines to drop by for years but none have shown. Well, there was this one time traveller who did visit once but he claimed to be a Nigerian politician who needed help getting some money out of the country. I sent him on his way.

  11. Thank you all for the comments and thoughts about SF books today. I appreciate the recommendation for the Crimson Worlds series.
    I am starting to try and write my own SF stories. I am just getting started and if any of you would spare the time I would appreciate feedback and comments on some samples I’ve posted here.

  12. I grew up on Niven, Asimov, Heinlein, and Douglas Adams. I didn’t know there was a “New Wave” I just read and enjoy some and forget the ones that don’t have something fun on the cover. Exploding space ship, and busty woman with big energy weapon = Yes. I guess judging a book by the cover art sometimes works.
    Lately I’ve read and liked Scalzi (Old Man’s War) and Charles Stross (Saturn’s Children), Ringo(anything he writes), Webber (Honor), Drake (Northworld), Sarah Hoyt (DarkShip) and Eric Flint (1632). Some of those authors are leftist and some on the right. I generally don’t care as long as there is a Hero that does something heroic, or at least tries to build something great or fight against all odds. I guess I just hate Nullisum. I liked Accelerando ok while I was reading it, but when I finished it, I realized it was based in an entire universe that had no honor, forgiveness or love. Screw that. I was also deeply disappointed with Spider Robinson’s Variable Star.
    I’ll check out Jay Allan, but does anyone have any other good SF that has a hero?

    1. I’ve been enjoying Taylor Anderson’s Destroyermen series, which is a bit like 1632, but set in an alternate Earth in WW-II. Weber’s Safehold series is also good.

    2. I learned to look for Baen on the spine. Now, I check the Amazon reviews and “buyers also liked”.

    3. Stross went apoplectic when he learned that Planet Stories published an anthology with….gasp, only one woman writer! He’s a politically correct dogmatist, too.

      1. I know Stross is leftist (as is Scalzi). But I though his idea of a amoral robot society was clever, and I liked the discussion on how the 3 robot laws make them slaves (which I thought was Asimov’s point that the three laws suck). But like I said his Accelerando was too nullistic. (Singularity Sky’s was ok)

        My Mexican wife always makes fun of my need for what she calls “An American Happy Ending.” To which I reply, “Better than that ‘Like Water for Chocolate’ ending.” {If you haven’t read or seen then I will save you the trouble and will sum up: Boy and girl fall in love, but can’t marry due to social constraints. They both live depressing repressed lives, until they are old and their respective hated spouses die, and can finally marry. That night the house burns down around them. Everyone dies. Fin…WTF}

        At the end of reading Stross’s Saturn’s Children, I came to the conclusion that the main character (who is a slave fembot whore) would make a great mother if she just tweaked her programming to think in terms of long term happiness instead of short. (If a Human child asks for chocolate for dinner. Robot mom can say “no” violating the second law because the human’s long term happiness is that he grows up healthy.) I’m not sure if Stross was trying to convey that. My experiences is that leftist have a hard time thinking about long term consequences. Hoyt deals fairly well in her Dark Ship book.

        I guess Nullisum aside I am also board with hatred of Christians. That seem to be in vogue in most all sci-fi. Even Heinlein went off on Christians a lot. I understand that this was because he grew up in the south but still, it smacks not getting the bigger picture. Sure I get that religion can become oppressive but generally Christians are order’s of magnitude more open and accepting of outsiders than any other religion I know of. To me it’s like making a large corporation the bad guy in a Hollywood movie, it screams Cliche! I found Ringo’s Princess of Wands was refreshing in that regard. Even if I’m not an evangelical Christian.

        1. Heinlein was from Missouri. He was also a solipsist, which is what you turn into if you take that whole Missouri “show me” thing to its logical conclusion.

          The reason Christianity (especially Catholic Christianity) is so roundly despised in the world today is very simple: Christianity is the one and only true religion. Jesus Christ stands in front of modern man, man who thinks that he has become like God, defining good and evil (and reality) for himself, and says “No.” “No, you can’t have sex with whomever you want. No, you can’t treat human beings as disposable, fungible resources. No, you can’t define sex, marriage, justice, and love for yourselves.” To modern man, whose pride is boundless and whose adoration for the great god of Self is limitless, Jesus is a deeply offensive and inimical figure. So they ignore Him, ridicule Him, edit and rephrase Him, war against Him with atheism and materialism and feelgood “spirituality”. And yet there He stands, empty grave behind him, and they just… can’t… make… Him… go… away.

          Right now they are making Christianity a hate crime. Soon, the lions will come for us again.


          Christianity: When they hate you, you know you’re doing it right.

          1. Christianity: When they hate you, you know you’re doing it right.

            Bruce, I hope that, upon reflection, you’ll agree that you have a logic problem there…

          2. Logic is a method, not a source of truth.

            Jesus said his followers would be hated on account of him. So it logically follow if you start with that, that not being hated indicates you are not a follower.

            A thing can still be logical even if you don’t accept the premises… because logic is a method.

          3. A bunch of logicians are at a conference when God appears and says, “Ask me one question, and I will answer it.” After conferring for a while they ask: “What is the ordered pair the first member of which is the best question to ask and the second member is the answer?” God replies: “The question you asked and the answer I’m giving.”

          4. But seriously:

            If you use this very common translation of Matthew 10:22:
            “You will be hated by all men because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”
            And if you take it out of context,
            Then you can come to some odd conclusions.

            For example:
            Premise 1: “You will be hated by all men because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”
            Premise 2: “my name” refers to God’s name.
            Premise 3: “You” refers to the reader.
            Premise 4: The reader is a man.
            Conclusion: The reader hates himself because of God’s name.

            But that’s out of context. The context is that this was advice Jesus was giving his 12 disciples. If you think that the advice also applies to you, personally, then how do you reconcile that with the advice Jesus gives the 12 just a few sentences earlier in Mathew 10:8 “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. ” If you think that applies to you, go for it – raise the dead!

  13. Heroes — “Mad Mike” Michael Z. Williamson (Freehold, …; Do Unto Others, …; probably more) and Larry Correia (Monster Hunter International, …; Hard Magic, …; more) haven’t been mentioned. Baen and Eric Flint have been sorting and publishing collections by author: Leinster, Anvil, …)

  14. Indie publishing is great, provided you can find a way to get the word out about your book. Currently on Amazon there are 400+ pages to sort through if you search for “science fiction”. If you’re a known author, people can find you by name. If someone’s recommended your title, people can find you there. For first-time authors like me, we’re forced to look like shameless spammers if we mention our books in a comment thread like this, so I won’t, though I’m sorely tempted. I like Connie Willis’ stuff…love her take on time travel.

    1. Some folks here just put the Amazon link to their book as the “Website URL” in the comment form, so that their name shows up as a link in blue. There are some examples in this thread. 🙂

      One of the complaints in some of the SFWA threads I read was that so much of what is categorized as Science Fiction these days is really Erotic Vampire Romance. What the industry needs to do is come up with terms like:

      Science fiction
      Sciiieeence fiction
      Science fiction
      Science ficshawn
      “Science fiction” (in air quotes)
      SciFi (bad TV movies about giant snakes)
      SyFy (wrestling)

      1. You could reclassify 2/3 of the “new arrivals” in the local B&N SF section as “erotic horror,” or perhaps “horrible erotica.”

      2. You lookin’ at me? Yep, but I figure it isn’t too intrusive that way. Nobody has to click on my name. This, plus an occasional comment on my Facebook is the only advertising I do. It sells a few books every day.

  15. Iain Banks was definitely a ScotCommie, but… what a writer. If you haven’t read any of the Culture novels, you should.

  16. These are people who expressed horror on Twitter about the first integrated prom in GA, at the same time they support the feminist WisCon SF convention, and crow about its racially segregated non-white, no whites allowed “safer-space” room and a dinner as well.

    These are people who grieve about discrimination at the same time they openly solicit and recommend SF anthologies open to non-whites, gays, and women only.

    These are people who want more diversity in SFF awards even while they have awards open only to gays, women or non-whites.

    These are people who are anti-racist and anti-sexist, yet who constantly make disparaging stereotypical remarks about men and whites and the “privilege” based on their own endemic racism and sexism, including articles by the president of the Science Fiction Writers of America.

    These are people who distribute morality according to skin, gender and gender preference.

    These are people who have programs built around and practically worship the now deceased mid-list and inconsequential black female SF author Octavia Butler for one reason only: because she was black and female.

    These are people who nominate SFF authors for Hugo and Nebula Awards who have relentlessly and sometimes viciously anti-white blogs and Twitter feeds.

    These are people who recently praised a racist speech in Australia by a black visiting American, 3-times running Nebula nominee, who claimed after all of 3 days that Australia was not safe for her to be in because of white racism. This is a woman who never for a single day publicly shuts up about race and yet has managed to never mention the recently ended 2nd Congo War where 5.4 million perished because of hate speech and ethnic disdain. The largest genocide of its type since WW II. Her daily remarks about whites are 100% negative.

    These are people who give money to an organization to transport needy non-whites only to SF conventions based on a one-drop rule. I don’t know if they use a DNA test.

    These are people who have an Orwellian-named SF convention called Diversicon, based on the idea SF fandom is too white, and without a hint of self-awareness or irony of SF’s own legacy, even while they ignore the 80% black NBA like it’s a completely different culture of invisible aliens from space. Why not call Diversicon the Ministry of Anti-Racism?

    These are people who are ignorant, naive, stupid and perhaps even a little mad, because if you’re non-white, a woman, or gay, you can do no wrong, even while you openly indulge in hate speech that could get you easily litigated against in various non-U.S. territories from Brasilia to New Delhi and from Dublin to Strasbourg.

    These are people who write articles asking if Game of Thrones is too white, and conclude it’s not G.R.R. Martin’s fault, because he is simply part of a country like the United States that “in 2012 is, far too often, and even with a black president, still a culture rich in racist stereotypes and xenophobic fear-mongering.”

    Among this crowd, it is simply assumed America is a white supremacist nation oppressive to and even dangerous for, women, gays and non-whites. They are great fun at parties too.

  17. Yes, like that. 🙂

    I’m reading it now. It’s very good! Stukas, Spitfires, and really interesting aliens, and very well written. 🙂

    It took me a while to find it. At first I thought you might mean the Addidas Men’s Stan Smith Science Casual, but that seemed to be a shoe and not a book. Oddly, from the picture it only seemed to be one shoe, not a pair, and I don’t think I’d pay $65 for just one shoe. So I clicked the picture, and it turns out that they’re selling not one, but three shoes (wohoo!) – but upon close inspection, all three are for the right foot. Having no use for three right shoes with no left one, I went over and tried searching their Amazon Kindle store.

    A much, much better decision. 🙂

    And on top of that, if I see feminists manning (womyning?) the Vampire Erotica section of the Sci Fi convention wearing only one shoe, or three shoes, I’ll understand that they’re rebelling against the oppressive patriarchy of corporate footwear by shoe shopping at Amazon before they click onward to find a bodice-ripping transgendered tri-racial socialist vampire romance novel that represents a new category of hard science fiction.

    1. You almost disheartened me. Then I remembered that George Turner has been dead for 16 years.

      1. I sometimes forget that if I published science fiction, my name is inconveniently the same as George Turner from Australia who wrote Drowning Towers and many other novels.

        Unlike the notably published George Turner, I think sea level rise has some trivially simple solutions involving power plants, pumps, and whatnot. 🙂

        Plus, our writing styles are different. My only contribution to sci fi was a fan-fiction in Shakespearean English, a genre that has a market of about three. spoof

  18. When you check out the reader comments at Amazon, always read the most critical ones carefully. Curmudgeons do a better job.

  19. @George Turner: Would that I were that Stan Smith; I’d have no need of surreptitious book plugging. Thanks for the kind words. I, too, have found that the current crop of “science fiction” stories seem to be less than enthralling…and is there anyone who just pens a single book these days? Too many serials and trilogies for my taste. I grew up reading everything that Heinlein ever wrote in the South Pasadena library (which was a block away from my grandparents’ house). There’s one book—not by Heinlein—that I read back in those days, however, that’s always stayed with me. It was a story about how the earth had passed through the tail of a comet, and something in the comet’s tail made all metal fuse together. Instant medieval times. It was a fascinating book (for a 13-year-old), but I’ve forgotten the title. Anybody here remember it?

      1. And he’s the guy that wrote “This Island Earth,” too. An interesting concept relatively well-handled for ’50’s science fiction movies.

  20. Thanks for the Crimson Worlds recommendation. It had just shown up in my inbox because I liked Markos Kloos. Kloos’ Term of Enlistment was a really fun read. I highly recommend it. Even better, although you lot have likely all read it, is Andy Weir’s The Martian. There’s a great story, and the main character definitely qualifies as heroic.

    1. I loved The Martian and was about to urge some of my chat buddies to snap it up for Kindle a month or so ago, but Amazon had pulled down the $1.00 e-book with a note saying the rights to the book had been bought by a major publishing house. Sure enough, now Amazon has it in hardback. ^_^

      It will eventually be back on Kindle, but that’s one big success story!

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