A political history of science fiction


Fascinating little bit that popped up while I was looking up more info on Pournelle and Vietnam. :)

Very cool, Jason. This also explains my affinity for hard SF :D

I read that as vietnamese porn.


As a major headfuck, I only noticed now that it’s Eric Raymond. Augh!

Who is Eric Raymond and why does he matter?

Jason and Eric had an on again, off again romance in the late 90s that ended tragically. Jason is still reeling from losing the one person who might have been his soulmate. I guess this brought up some old wounds… :cry:

I just think he’s kind of a goofball on technology. Still a great article.

I liked it, but no mention of Niven?


It ended when Jason went to go work for Microsoft. :lol:

… thus betraying his inner child for Mammon! :lol:

Interesting piece. I would have liked to have seen more discussion of the links between militarism and the “libertarianism” that the author sees at the heart of hard SciFi, though. Given the works that make up the author’s canon, it seems hard to divorce them from the glorification of viiolence that pervades them. He tries to ghettoize Pournelle and Drake and their ilk as the “carnographic” wing of SciFi, but I think Heinlein in particular certainly priviliged military force over many other forms of conflict resolution in his works too (not to mention a fair degree of misogyny, which Raymond doesn’t address either).

You’re kidding, right? I really don’t see much misogyny in Heinlein’s work, at least any more than contextually matches characters and settings within the stories where it’s present. If you want to talk about a writer having strong female leads, both physically, mentally, and sexually aware long before most other writers in his field, then you’re going to talk about Heinlein. Hardly smacks of misogyny.

The Heinlein misogyny discussion is weird to me. People reference it all the time as though it were commonly accepted, but there aren’t a lot of places where you see it cogently argued.

Probably something to do with all that consensual enjoyable sex stuff filtered through a Sontag mindset.

I guess my feeling that Heinlein has a misogynist streak (and hey, it’s been a while since I read him, so I’m certainly open to the suggestion I’m misremembering stuff) has to do with my recollection of his glorification of war, military action, military service, and “masculinity” to the extent of even making his strong female leads more like men with boobs. But again, eh, I could be wrong here. I’m more interested in the relationship between his libertarianism, as identified here, and militarism really.

Ah. I think you may be remembering a lot of the strengths of his female characters, but little of their feminimity. Most of his female and male characters shared certain middle ground–quick wit, brilliance, strict adherence to personal codes, ethics, morals, out spoken and independent. However, the men were often very, very masculine, while the women were very, very feminine. Sharing that middle ground, though, makes many think he’s writing the women like men. He’s not. He’s writing them as true equals where it counts, but belonging very much to their sex, and acting as such.

True that. I was definitely surprised when, after casually picking up a sci fi book out of a random book care package sent to us, I found material that was not only shocking but scary. EL Modesitt’s “Ethos Effect” blew my mind in a very negative way, advocating as it did genocide as a legitimate means of dealing with threats to one’s people. Starship Troopers was a veritable joy ride by comparison, although I found the idea of restricting the vote to the military a hilarious conceit.

The weird thing is, I like reading Modesitt’s stuff, even though his politics scare the hell out of me :) For some reason, I love his Recluse stuff, and his SciFi protagonists have some odd appeal for me, especially in books like The Parafaith War. But you’re right, his Ecolitans and other groups that triumph via preemptive mass destruction (of whole worlds often) make the Dorsai look like pacifists.

Seeing this posted on the Internet has made my day :)