Gods Secular-Progressives and Generals

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Sure, I read Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. But like most people, I only read it to impress a girl. I never was blown away by his prowess as a political mastermind, which looks to be the right reaction in light of Empire, his new novelexcerpt.

What the terrorists aren't counting on, thought Cole, is that America isn't a completely decadent country yet. When you stab us, we don't roll over and ask what we did wrong and would you please forgive us. Instead we turn around and take the knife out of your hand. Even though the whole world, insanely, condemns us for it.

Cole could imagine the way this was getting covered by the media in the rest of the world. Oh, tragic that the President was dead. Official condolences. Somber faces. But they'd be dancing in the streets in Paris and Berlin, not to mention Moscow and Beijing. After all, those were the places where America was blamed for all the trouble in the world. What a laugh—capitals that had once tried to conquer vast empires, damning America for behaving far better than they did when they were in the ascendancy.

"You look pissed off," said Malich.

"Yeah," said Cole. "The terrorists are crazy and scary, but what really pisses me off is knowing that this will make a whole bunch of European intellectuals very happy."

That's really what this book is like. It'd be far more interesting to read a liberal's perspective on this dystopia—"the Colmes Diares," or something, wherein the liberal licks his chops at memories of the Organization marching white evangelicals into detention zones. I could point out that this kind of fantasizing is what conservatives (including me) used to accuse liberals of doing with The West Wing, but the peerless Roy Edroso's already covered that base.

I muddled through some similar attempts to convey the seriousness of our Current Struggle through sci-fi back in September.

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  1. I loved “Ender’s Game”.

  2. There were girls who were impressed by someone reading Ender’s Game?

  3. Looks like something copied off a C-List warblog. There’s less stilted dialog in four-hour North Korean state operas about the Five Year Plan to increase tractor production.

  4. I haven’t read “Ender’s Game”, but that kind of writing as described in the excerpt reminds me more a book written by Ann Coulter than a serious writer. Trite and thoughtless prose.

  5. There were girls who were impressed by someone reading Ender’s Game?

    The better question is what sort of guy would ever attempt to impress such girls.

    “Ender’s Game” was a so-so sci-fi novel that came out during a period when just about everything else was even worse. Card’s work since then? Bleech!

    I haven’t read “Empire,” but let me guess: a plucky band of Mormons save the day at the very end.

  6. Different Ed,

    Very few of the datable girls at my school would have been impressed at my knowledge of any book, let alone a sci-fi one. Something to do with socialization as opposed to isolation.

  7. My question is, do the saviors of the US burn Hollywood to the ground in the book?

  8. If it came down to a blue states vs red states war, who’s side would most libertarians be on? A few decades ago, I would have said red, now I’d say blue.

  9. There’s less stilted dialog in four-hour North Korean state operas about the Five Year Plan to increase tractor production.

    Brian, I’m going to be laughing about this all day long. That’s the best analogy I’ve read in weeks.

  10. I liked Ender’s Game.

    I’m disappointed to hear about Card’s descent into yet more banal Lib/Con stupidity.

    I alway’s liked that he seemed to march to his own drummer. Democrat, conservative, pro-gun control, anti-free market, mormon, complicated views of homosexuality and such.

    Needless to say, I already agreed very little with his politics but they were complicated enough that at least I always thought he was thinking for himself.

    Poof! What a wanker.

  11. A general comment about sci-fi books in general. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but some of the cartoonish cover art on sci-fi and fantasy are practically repellant which really pushes me away from even opening the cover. To me, the better the cover art, the more valuable the publisher sees his writer, which is possibly a reflection on how good the author is. Does anyone else feel that way?

  12. “But like most people, I only read it to impress a girl”

    I wish that were the case. I think I could have gotten laid alot sooner if I put down the likes of Ender’s game, and Dune for something along the lines of Cats Cradle at an earlier date. Which, when I did ultimately wound up resulting in coitus.

  13. I seem to remember co-ed living facilities in Ender’s game with naked tween boys and girls running around. And in a sequel a good secular man comes and delivers all the ignorant catholics from their dirty, sexually repressed, drunken lives.

    I liked Ender’s Game by the way….and not because of the pedophile innuendo. All the sequels sucked though.

    Anyway if you want to read a sci-fi book from the far left I suggest “Oryx and Crake” I think it would make good ol’ revolution biology libertarians vomit uncontrollably.

  14. I really liked Card’s TREASON.
    The ultimate putdown of politicians.

  15. Read Ender’s Game and hated it. Never touched Card again.
    Yes, it is quite popular with girls. It has been on many high school elective reading lists for a while.
    His over the top chest-thumping columns and articles over the last few years have been close to embarrassing, on par with John Norman preaching about how much the Gor series has done for popular SF.

    In a red-blue civil war, Libertarians would sell helmets to both sides.

  16. I’ve never found any sci-fi author consistently engaging. Any suggestions?

  17. Boy when that Cole guy gets angry you’d better watch out!!!

    “Yeah,” said Cole. “The terrorists are crazy and scary, but what really pisses me off is knowing that this will make a whole bunch of European intellectuals very happy.

    I’ve tried but I’m not sure it would be possible to make that sound angry, or even like human speech. It sounds like a line from a blog post.

  18. America isn’t a completely decadent country yet.

    Card is wrong. Actually, the US has been completely decadent for some time now. I for one am willing to live with the fact of our decadence. How many of us really want to live in a militarized Sparta? The question is what to do about it. The right-wing reaction to American decadence lately is to live in a fantasy world, like Card, where there are still a significant number of Americans willing to risk their lives for abstract ideals. Since there clearly are not a significant number of such Americans we need to design a foreign policy that plays to our current strengths (i.e. corrupting our enemies with material goods and bribery), rather than trying to play on our enemies’ playground where 19th century rules of honor and manliness still apply. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being soft and decadent -the Chinese have managed to survive despite a conspicuous lack of any military prowess for the last 1000 years or so.

  19. L-I-T, I agree with you. I make it a policy never to read anything with tinfoil letters for the title, or one with a cutout top cover over a red page, so the red shows through the cutout like blood. This almost always means little plot and lots of gore. Also, anything glossy is probably bad, too.

  20. I’ve never found any sci-fi author consistently engaging. Any suggestions?

    Phillip K Dick.

  21. I must have missed the episode of the West Wing where conservatives are shown slaughtering innocent people and treating with our enemies, and avenging liberals respond by killing them.

    Sick, eliminationist fanties like this are remarkably common among the modern right, and the silence from so-called “mainstream” conservatives is deafening.

  22. Oh boy! Can I jump in on the judging of a book that I haven’t read yet, too?

  23. So, the same childish indulgence on display in the movie version of V for Vendetta; as Alan Moore put it, “a thwarted and frustrated and perhaps largely impotent American liberal fantasy of someone with American liberal values against a state run by neo-conservatives — which is not what [the comic] was about.”

  24. 1) I actually agree with the passage: “Official condolences. Somber faces. But they’d be dancing in the streets in Paris and Berlin, not to mention Moscow and Beijing. After all, those were the places where America was blamed for all the trouble in the world.”

    2) This kind of writing should be celebrated. In fact, with this type of control of the English language he should start a religion. Oh, wait, there is already a religion founded by a failed science fiction writer.

  25. I’ve never found any sci-fi author consistently engaging. Any suggestions?

    Harlan Ellison. Richard Matheson

  26. I’ve never found any sci-fi author consistently engaging. Any suggestions?

    Stanislaw Lem

  27. MarsNeedsWomen:
    If it came down to a blue states vs red states war, who’s side would most libertarians be on? A few decades ago, I would have said red, now I’d say blue.

    Who’s side are we on? We’re on the side of the demons, cheif. We’re evil men in the gardens of paradise. Sent by the forces of death to spread devistation and destruction wherever we go.
    I’m suprised you didn’t know that.

    Bonsu points if you know the reference.

  28. I’ve never found any sci-fi author consistently engaging. Any suggestions?

    David Brin

  29. Nice shout out to BSG, there Grizzly.

  30. I’ve never found any sci-fi author consistently engaging. Any suggestions?

    Off the top of my head:

    Iain Banks

    A. A. Attanasio

    Charles Stross

    Stephen Brust

    Tim Powers

    Steven Erikson

    Sick, eliminationist fanties like this are remarkably common among the modern right,

    The modern left having no need to fantasize, having more than enough real-life examples of extermination campaigns helmed by Marxists and other fellow-travellers to satisfy their bloodlust.

  31. I’ve never found any sci-fi author consistently engaging. Any suggestions?

    Douglas Adams

  32. Will,
    Besides the classics, Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke, I like

    -Tad Williams (atleast his Otherworld 4 book thing, what is that, a qaudrology?)
    -Harry Turtledove, but alternative history wears thin after a while and the plot is fairly simplistic.
    Honestly, I’m more of a fantasy fan than sci-fi. There are many more good fantasy writers than sci-fi writers I’ve found.

    However, one of the most interesting books out there is Clarke’s “In Light of Other Days”. It is complex and thought provoking, along with being easily readable. Clarke is simply one of the best damn writers of sci-fi, period.

  33. I’ve never found any sci-fi author consistently engaging. Any suggestions?

    Neal Stephenson.

  34. I love Card’s work. Period. Ender’s Game was a work of brilliance and the rest of the series have spawned hours of discussion and contemplation among all of my friends. I don’t plan on reading Empire, however. Is there any doubt how a war between left and right would end? Let me just say, when political civil war breaks out in the U.S. I want to be on the side with all the guns …

  35. I’ve never found any sci-fi author consistently engaging. Any suggestions?

    It’s funny – 20-40 years ago there were great scifi writers and all the dramatic film and TV sci fi was dreck. It seems like the wheel has made a complete revolution – Battlestar Galactica and Firefly are far more compelling than any of the sci-fi I’ve read lately and you could certainly make a case for Babylon 5 and Stargate being as good as most books out there.

  36. vanya,

    Adams was terrific, god rest his soul, 🙁

  37. I’ve never found any sci-fi author consistently engaging. Any suggestions?

    Stephen Colbert

  38. The modern left having no need to fantasize, having more than enough real-life examples of extermination campaigns helmed by Marxists

    God…not more silliness equating liberals with Marxist Kmer Rouge-types. And not more garbage about how Commies were worse than Fascists because they killed more people.

    Once you’ve offed more than a million people you’re an arch-evil S.O.B. (as opposed to the merely evil S.O.B. whose scores are between 1 and 1 million souls) and from where I’m sitting there’s just as many death dealers on the far right as the far left.

  39. I’ve never found any sci-fi author consistently engaging. Any suggestions?

    William Gibson

    Neal Stephenson

  40. RC Dean,

    “The modern left having no need to fantasize, having more than enough real-life examples of extermination campaigns helmed by Marxists and other fellow-travellers to satisfy their bloodlust.”

    In order to find something comparable to what is commonly written by Republicans in good standing who are often asked to appear in major media outlets, you have to hearken back to a foreign dictatorship that no contemporary liberal has a good word for.

    Pretty telling how your attempt at a parallel falls apart.

  41. S.M. Stirling

  42. I’ve never found any sci-fi author consistently engaging. Any suggestions?

    Jonathan Lethem is not a purely sci-fi writer, but _Girl in Landscape_ is a sci-fi book. Anything by Iain Banks is also recommended.

  43. Someone told me that Ender’s Game was really good and that I should read it. Damn, I wish I could get those hours of my life back…

  44. “I’ve never found any sci-fi author consistently engaging. Any suggestions?”

    -L. Ron Hubbard

  45. According to Wired, the book is part of a larger franchise that will include video games:
    http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,72093-0.html

  46. I’ve never found any sci-fi author consistently engaging. Any suggestions?

    Heinlein. If you haven’t read it yet, start with “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”

  47. Ken MacLeod is a good SciFi author. His book “The Stone Canal” should appeal to libertarians — better than the stuff than L. Neil Smith writes anyway.

    And going back to the classics, Heinlein is a must read.

  48. joe,

    I think we basically see the rightward tilt in popular literature nowadays. The far left would find it hard to publish a manifesto that would be noticed among all of the center left literature. Whereas the far right find it much easier to stand out among the rather mild and somewhat intellectual centre right material (ever read a book on economic theory, it can make brain cells kill themselves).

  49. The modern left having no need to fantasize, having more than enough real-life examples of extermination campaigns helmed by Marxists and other fellow-travellers to satisfy their bloodlust.

    A great example of how caricature has come to dominate political discourse. If you don’t have something intelligent to say, then please, set an example for others by remaining silent.

  50. Heinlein (like everyone) has his hits and misses.

    His hits are fucking fantastic.

    TANSTAAFL

  51. It was Col. Tigh on BSG, Grizzly.

    I tried to read Ender’s Game, but I just couldn’t get into it. It must have been the fact that all Ender was doing was playing Lazer Tag all day and messing around with computer generated giant’s corpses. I gave up on card entirely when his Church of Mormon (“Joseph Smith was a prophet, Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb…”) inspired delusions prompted him to spit on gays and science.

    I myself have toyed with the notion of writing a Red Vs. Blue Civil War novel where the libertarians throw up their hands, move to Alaska and declare themselves independent from the now dead United States hoping the two sides wipe the other out and leave them alone once and for all.

    Sadly the novels end with a news announcement stating that the newly formed Red and Blue nations have set aside their differences to conduct an joint military action against the secularist, capitalist, pro-gay, pro-gun, pro-drug Alaskan Free State which which doesn’t have a modern military machine of its own.

    Bleak, I know. But that’s that’s just me all other.

  52. L-I-T,

    If a far left author published a book celebrating exterminationist fantasies surrounding a band of bold left-liberals who use violence against conservatives, it would be denounced across the political spectrun, including by very liberal liberals.

    It just isn’t the same for far-right fantasies of violence – they’re a-ok with conservatives. Liberals, after all, need to be physically intimidated.

  53. Oh come on! There’s a link to a one of the most blatant libertarian sci-fi novels (turned graphic novel in this case) right on the right hand and no one here has mentioned it?

    Or has L. Neil Smith become too kooky for most Reason reader’s tastes?

  54. Edit:

    But that’s just me all over.

  55. Edit:… on the right-hand corner of the screen…

  56. Akira,

    Screw Alaska, let’s take Northern California/Oregon/ Washington. Better weather. We will have the western states as buffers and southern California will essentially be Mexico by then, so we will have good trade relations with Canada and Mexico.

  57. If a far left author published a book celebrating exterminationist fantasies

    Read some Stewart Home.

    Granted, he’s not an American author.

  58. I’ve never found any sci-fi author consistently engaging. Any suggestions?

    Vernor Vinge

  59. Joe, have you actually read the book? I think you’re mischaracterizing it. At least, judging by book reviews it doesn’t appear to be “celebrating extermanationist fantasies.” I think you’re burning down a straw man here …

  60. Joe,

    I don’t think a liberal exterminationist book would be so much condemned as it would be ignored. Just like we ignore people who put tinfoil on their heads to keep out CIA brainwaves. Unfortunately with the far right, we gave them their very own TV channel and radio shows and people worry that there’s enough of them to matter. And they’re entertaining is a car wreck sorta way.

  61. According the conservative writer Jacques Barzun: “Decadence is the point at which reform is no longer possible.” It has nothing to do with killing people, but rather the point at which the accumulated weight of vested interests and sclerotic political and cultural mechanisms conspire to prevent a society from adapting to circumstances.

    The Iraq War, allegedly the most important campaign of the War On Terror, soon dissolved into an inept feeding frenzy of corrupt, politically-connected contractors. The US Comptroller and hundreds of economists, businessmen, and actuaries agree that the government’s accumulating liabilities are propelling it towards an Argentina-style currency meltdown. Decadence differs from incompetence only in that everyone can see there’s a problem, but no one is willing to do anything about it. Martial spirit is irrelevent to the process.

    As for gleeful European intellectuals, that’s not how I remember it. I remember the Swedish Prime Minister giving an interview in which he flatly declared that “We are all Americans now.” I doubt they still hold that sentiment, but that’s not because they’re happy about 9/11. Beijing? Our biggest trading partner? Were they pleased with the recession that followed the incident? Not likely. Card’s claim is, for all his chest-thumping, nothing more than a whiny, self-pitying sulk, quite common amongst the rugged individualists that inhabit that particular ring of fringe culture.

  62. I must have missed the episode of the West Wing where conservatives are shown slaughtering innocent people and treating with our enemies, and avenging liberals respond by killing them.

    I do recall Tolbi saying that we should fly an American flag over mecca and that the Muslim world will like us after we win….then there is that whole assassination thing that Bartlet approved.

  63. Who’s side are we on? We’re on the side of the demons, cheif. We’re evil men in the gardens of paradise. Sent by the forces of death to spread devistation and destruction wherever we go.
    I’m suprised you didn’t know that.

    You know that whole 4-5 episode arc really endeared me to the coronal.

  64. LIT-

    That was the exact scenario I developed earlier this decade when we were all dazzled with the idea of seceding out in California (That was before we discovered we lacked an ability to govern ourselves).

  65. “As for gleeful European intellectuals, that’s not how I remember it. I remember the Swedish Prime Minister giving an interview in which he flatly declared that “We are all Americans now.” I doubt they still hold that sentiment, but that’s not because they’re happy about 9/11. Beijing? Our biggest trading partner? Were they pleased with the recession that followed the incident? Not likely. Card’s claim is, for all his chest-thumping, nothing more than a whiny, self-pitying sulk, quite common amongst the rugged individualists that inhabit that particular ring of fringe culture.”

    I think China and a lot of countries would cut off their own noses to spite America. Think about North Korea. A second Korean war would destroy the South Korean economy, put the world into a recession and put God knows how many millions of Chinese out of work. In addition, the continued belligerence of North Korea is creating an increasingly aggressive and eventually probably nuclear Japan. Japan is China’s historic enemy. A return of Japanese militarism would be a disaster for the Chinese. Yet, China continues to support the North Koreans and hamstring all international efforts to control them. It is outright lunacy. All things being equal, it is the Chinese who ought to toppling Kim, not the U.S. The same is true with Russia. Iran is Russia’s historic enemy and rogue Iranian nuke is more likely to end up in the hands of Chechen radicals as it is anywhere else. Yet, the Russians continue to do everything they can to let Iran build nukes. The only explanation I can see for this is the desire to stick it to the US at all costs.

  66. Drat…the parvenu Andrew is about again!

    Joe, there are LOTS of liberal paranoid fantasies circulating in the field of Sci-Fi/ Techno-Thrillers.

    Eclipse by John Shirley, or Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale are fairly representative of the species.

    And that’s just the part that is KNOWN to be fiction. The discount table of B&N or Borders spills over with last year’s best-sellers on how the US is but a step away from the Theocracy to be imposed by Karl Rove and the Evangelicals…and how we must all be prepared to act when the come first for the Jews, next for the Trade Unionists…and so on, through the entire, over-used Niemoller quotation.

    At least conservatives know Ferrigno’s book is a novel. The ugly fantasies featured at Borders – and unmistakebly geared for a Blue-State audience – are taken for real by the liberals who buy them, then recycled through their blogs, and Air America.

  67. I could never get in to an Orson Scott Card book, so I can’t comment on this one.

    However, I have noticed that most science fiction nowadays is little more than a thinly disguised allegory intended to convey a “message.”

    Give me a Heinlein or Anderson book, about people trying to make there way through a situation. Heinlein would take a premise, and then try to see how people would live in that situation. Sometimes it was revolution: “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”, sometimes it was working within the system: “Double Star”. Look at the ideas that Heinlein explored:

    1) Anarcho-Capitalism: “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”
    2) Social Credit & voluntary eugenics: “Beyond this Horizon”
    3) Roman Republic: “Starship Troopers”
    4) liberal Republic: “Methuselah’s Children”
    5) Theocracy: “Revolt in 2100”
    6) Fascism: “Between Planets”
    7) Constitutional Monarchy: “Double Star”

    I can’t recall him exploring a functioning Marxist society, but if he had, it would have been much better than the trite treatments I’ve seen in either the utopic or dystopic books I’ve read.

    Anderson’s “Flandry” novels were the best exploration of a decadent Empire anywhere.

  68. Another book for the reading list: A Canticle for Liebowitz

    And, of course, everything by PKD

  69. I’m halfway through “Ecotopia”, which is about the pacific northwest seceding and building, well, building just what the title would lead you to believe.

    It got 5 stars from the NYT back when it was first published.

    It’s not very good, which is why I’ve been halfway thorugh it for the past year. I pick it up periodically to see if the next layer of cheese is any more ridiculous than the last one.

  70. Wow. Reading the excerpts, either Card’s writing has gone to Hell or he dashed this off in one draft under an absurd deadline. Or both. The exposition is just kinda serviceable (aside from the paragraphs apparently looted from someone’s 2002 blog posts), but the dialogue clunks horrifically.

    As to whether this constitutes “extermanationist [sic] fantasies”, couldn’t say. One of the excerpts has a liberal professor concerned about the possibility of someone starting a Blue/Red civil war and who wants to recruit the protagonist into some conspiracy to prevent that, but there could be some double-crosses along the way.

    As dismayed as I’ve been with Card’s political weirdness the last ten years or so (especially his coming out against the eeevils of homosexuality years after writing a number of quite sympathetic gay characters), I feel the need to hold off on assuming this is some frothing politic fantasy about killing off the liberals, as opposed to a phoned-in techno-thriller meant for a videogame license, until at least someone here reads the thing.

  71. P Brooks,

    I’ve read that one. Wonderful book, a colorful, if sad commentary on humankind, a kind of Vonnegut without all the anger and razor edged sarcasm.

  72. Liberals, after all, need to be physically intimidated.

    Well, since reason is to no avail…

    (P.S. — that’s a joke, joe.)

  73. Thanks for the suggestions. Some of them I’ve read already, but of those mentioned above, which writers really a have an ear for dialogue? I’ve come to have practically zero tolerance for fiction in which the dialogue between characters isn’t really, really, good, and by that I mean avoiding the stilted conversations which are typical in so much fiction, but also the overstylized, Mamet-like, sort of nonsense which some writers aspire to.

    Of course, since the plots are usually not in our present world, or a past world which is known, the demands of writing dialogue are somewhat different, but who would be considered outstanding in this regard?

  74. A similar theme was played out in “A Handmaid’s Tale.”

  75. I stopped reading Card when I realized the series I was in (not Ender, a newer one) was a thinly-disguised retelling of Mormon theology.

    suggestions?

    Octavia Butler
    Ursula K. LeGuin
    Robert Sawyer
    Robert Silverberg
    Dan Simmons

    I think Octavia Butler’s dialogue is pretty good – I really like her prose.

  76. The Grand Master changed my life.

    “I always get the shakes before a drop.”

    “Grokk”

    “TANSTAAFL”

    “Requiem” He is the reason I started learning Latin.

  77. “If it can’t be expressed in figures, it’s opionion.” -Lazarus Long

    RAH RAH RAH

  78. I’ll put in a vote for Vernor Vinge’s writing, incidentally, since nobody had mentioned him yet.

  79. Will Allen,

    Put me down as another vote for Philip K Dick. Read his later works. VALIS trilogy and Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said.

  80. How about this idea for a novel. A terrorist group supported by the Iranians and the Chinese manage to get a nuclear weapon onboard a Chinese satellite. The satellite explodes over North America and acts as an electronic pulse attack and disables piece of electronics in the country. Every automobile and truck in America won’t start. There is no phone service, no television, no power supply, nothing. The country completely breaks down. The Chinese and Russians then send “peace keeping” troupes in to assist the U.S. under the auspices of a U.N. Security Council, which is now meeting in Europe sans the U.S., resolution and occupies the country. The U.S. is powerless to stop them. After a short while, the U.S. divides among those who collaborate with and welcome the occupiers as needed help and also a way to impose a more sophisticated form of government on all of the yokels. Yes, the Chinese are here to take away your guns for your own safety. A Vichy type state is installed in the U.S. and an insurgency breaks out between the collaborators and those who took to the hills and rebelled. Sound interesting?

  81. Robert Silverberg

    I’ll heartily second that. Similarly, Roger Zelazny’s stuff is good, though a lot of his best short work was in the 70s and might come across as dated.

    Hell, Card’s short work in the 80s was excellent. These excerpts dismay me.

  82. John,

    That was already the plot of the ABC-TV Miniseries “Amerika”.

  83. JkP,

    I didn’t watch that. I thought that was when the soviets actually won the war and took over. This would be a bit more subtle than that. The U.S. is disabled and welcomes international occupation and then turns on itself. Perhaps that is Amerika, I don’t know since I didn’t watch it.

  84. JKP,

    I just pulled it out of my ass in about 30 seconds and frankly it sounds just as interesting as this guy’s book, which makes me wonder about Card.

  85. A terrorist group supported by the Iranians and the Chinese manage to get a nuclear weapon onboard a Chinese satellite. The satellite explodes over North America and acts as an electronic pulse attack and disables piece of electronics in the country.

    Firearms aren’t electronic.

    Joe: I must have missed the episode of the West Wing where conservatives are shown slaughtering innocent people and treating with our enemies, and avenging liberals respond by killing them.

    There’s a hitch when it comes to writing the blue state version of this genre. If the blue states did seize dictatorial control of government, I can see red state folks saying, “Okay, get the guns, dust off the Declaration, it’s time to take the law back into our own hands.

    If red states seize dictatorial power, I can only see the blue state folks standing around, wringing their hands, and saying, “The government ought to do something! Oh, wait…”

    The definitive libertarian end-of-civilization novel is Fallen Angels by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael Flynn. Hilariously profound.

  86. In “Amerika” the godless commies exploded several H-bombs above the USA. The EMP knocked out communications, forcing a surrender. A UN peacekeeping force (more or less controlled by the Russkies) occupies the country to restory order in the chaos that follows. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amerika_%28TV_miniseries%29

    Amerika was an oldie but a … well, not really a goodie. Right-wing response to “The Day After”. One of those Cold War things, I suppose.

  87. Firearms aren’t electronic.

    No, but all of the gee whiz weaponry the military has certainly is. M16s yes, M1A1s and F18s, no. Further, you local grocery store has about two days supply of food on hand. An EPC attack would be a diaster. It is really hard to imagine how quickly order and standard of living would deteriorate under those conditions. Yes, everyone would have their hunting rifles and shotguns, but we wouldn’t have a much of a military anymore. The military is terrified of these kinds of attacks and really hasn’t come up with a good sollution to defending against one.

  88. JKP,

    Wow, I did not know that. It doesn’t sound like much of a goodie to me either, but really neither does this Card book, which was kind of my point.

  89. Ursula K. LeGuin is worth a look, especially The Dispossessed. It’s about the flaws of an anarchist society as imagined by someone who favors anarchy.

    Amerika — The Soviets disable American defenses by means of an “electromagnetic pulse,” then take over in a short, sharp military operation. The series takes place about 10 or 20 years down the road, when the US has been organized into soviets and a resistance movement is gathering force. It was a botch of a series but had some fascinating bits — a visit with the figurehead president of the US, who explains about living life with triple and quadruple deceptions; a hospital administrator watching for signs of a power struggle in the party.

  90. i use to really like Card’s ender series, then I read everything that came after Ender’s Game

  91. Andrew the Venerable,

    My point wasn’t about paranoid fantasies; you are correct, they are found all over the spectrum. My point was about bloody, exterminationist revenge fantasies. The women didn’t rise up and assassinate anybody in the Handmaid’s Tale. None of those Borders’ books talks about killing conservatives, that I’ve seen. On the other hand, fantasies about killing a certain segment of their fellow Americans – or God killing them, or some other implausible plot device to make killing them in large numbers seem acceptable or even fun – has become a cottage industry on the right.

  92. Card has always struck me as a regressive authoritarian – you know the kind that used to sterilize certain minorities because they wouldn’t want them breeding more of their kind.

    Now after doing some background reading, I see that I’m not far from the mark.

  93. Card’s best work is still his short fiction, which showed up often in Omni. Some of it was seriously perverse (as is his longstanding insistence that he’s really a Democrat). I enjoyed Ender’s Game but lost interest once he decided the world needed to be told — repeatedly — how horrible the homos are.

  94. Will Allen | November 30, 2006, 1:30pm
    I’ve never found any sci-fi author consistently engaging. Any suggestions?

    The stuff James P. Hogan wrote during the 1970s and 1980s. Small-l libertarianism was a common theme.

  95. Orson Scott Card is, frankly, insane.

  96. I’m not a huge Card fan, but I have enjoyed the Tales of Alvin Maker series. Is that the one you eventually bounced off, Rhywun? I thought the last one got a bit Mormony. Since it’s fantasy not stf, it fits a bit better, as I can just read it as background mythology.

    Vinge? Check. Stirling? Check. Stephenson? Check. I’ve even got a current “favorite pinko” SF writer, Eric Flint, in addition to my old one, John Brunner. Haven’t got to McLeod yet, but people I respect like him fine. For good, crunchy SF-with-the-rivets still in it, I like Greg Bear. Charlie Stross is fun, too.

    Kevin

  97. fantasies about killing a certain segment of their fellow Americans – or God killing them, or some other implausible plot device to make killing them in large numbers seem acceptable or even fun – has become a cottage industry on the right.

    Such as…?

  98. Look on the bright side, instead of a rightwing revenge fantasy, Card could be writing “Ender’s Dog Spot”, the retelling of the same story through a canine’s perspective.

    Now we wouldn’t want that, would we?

  99. “I stopped reading Card when I realized the series I was in (not Ender, a newer one) was a thinly-disguised retelling of Mormon theology.”

    And did you stop reading The Chronicles of Narnia when you realized the series was a thinly-disguised retelling of Christian theology?

  100. This string has very few libertarians and very many leftist tards. Never would have quessed it. Card is a Democrat who doesn’t toe the line with the Democrats usual bullshit. Must be why you all hate him.

  101. Since I’m not ever going to read this shit, can somebody tell me: is it better than The Turner Diaries?

  102. “And did you stop reading The Chronicles of Narnia when you realized the series was a thinly-disguised retelling of Christian theology?”

    Seriously–adults read this shit?

    Jesus Christ….

  103. Iran is Russia’s historic enemy

    John,
    Where did you get that idea? The real resistance to Russian expansion over the last 300 years has always come from the West – first Sweden in the 18th century than Great Britain in the 19th century, then Germany in the first half of the 20th century, finally the US (now together with Germany and Britain) in the second half of the 20th century, and from the Russian POV the US continues to meddle in Russian affairs. Iran does not. Russia has never had any serious conflicts with Iran. If anything maybe Russia’s long term historic enemy is Turkey, but the Persians are certainly no friends of the Turks. You can make a good case that Iranian interests are more closely aligned with Russia’s than with any other major country. Which does not bode well for Russian-US relations.

    How’s that for a tangent?

  104. wingnutx,

    The Left Behind Series comes to mind.

  105. henry,

    As a child, I read it, completely missed the metaphor and loved it. Then, recently having seen it in a movie, I realized how stupid and dogmatic it was. I practically threw up when that lion was resurrected, such was the crudeness of the metaphor. I think I’ll stick to the richness of Tolkiens world compared with the 2 dimensionalism of Lewis’s Narnia.

  106. I stopped reading Ender’s game when I realized it was a thinly-disguised escapism for highschool nerds. (“I might get wedgies because I’m so smart, but if I lived in the future I would be a respected SPACE CAPTAIN!”)

  107. I thought Ender’s Game was good, the rest of the series got progressively less entertaining.

    I’ve been immersing myself in sci-fi this year, and the two best of the genre were The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Heinlein and the as-yet unmentioned The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester.

    Arthur Clarke is great, and I’ve just finished the first book of his (with Stephen Baxter) “Time Odyssey” trilogy. Excellent work. Stephen Baxter’s The Timeships, which is an official sequel to H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine, is quite engaging too.

  108. This was never published:

    Enemy Within
    A Nove of the Next Civil War

    by Caspar W. Weinberger, Peter Schweizer

    Hardcover

    ISBN: 0895262738
    Pub. Date: November 1999

    Product Details

    ISBN: 0895262738
    ISBN-13: 9780895262738
    Format: Hardcover, 380pp
    Publisher: Regnery Publishing, Inc., An Eagle Publishing Company

    From the Publisher

    For more than a century, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, has been the place where the United States prepares its most promising commanders to prepare for the next crisis. Increasingly, they anticipate a domestic role for the military. This year military leaders conducted a hypothetical wargame called Prairie Warrior. The scenario: a rebellion in the continental United States. From this true beginning, best-selling authors Caspar Weinberger and Peter Schweizer spin off the political thriller of the year.

    State leaders in Idaho, Montana, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas have launched referenda in 2012 to reject widespread federal authority. When the initiatives pass with narrow majorities, and governors sympathetic to the movement are elected in these states, a constitutional crisis develops. Newly elected President Morgan Boyd must deal with a Union that appears to be dissolving. Sensing the opportunity to make trouble, America’s friends and enemies get involved, looking for an opportunity to benefit from the domestic political turmoil and the uncertainty in the armed forces.

    This book will not only provide plenty of action, it will also address some profoundly important questions concerning the role of government, and warnings about the apparent trend toward a greater domestic role for the armed forces.

  109. This is an impressive array of comments…have any of you actually read the rest of Empire past what’s posted online? Because the book as a whole is most definitely not a “right-wing revenge fantasy”, nor is it “exterminationist”, or any other such silliness.

  110. Suggest reading anything by Clarke. His earlier stuff is better–I’d say ignore anything he co-authored with anyone.

    Heinlein–yeah, but ignore “A Time For Love” and everything after unless you like a lot of sex which is pretty irrelevant to the story. Larry Niven. Jerry Pournelle (C’mon guys, no one has mentioned A Mote In God’s Eye? Wankers!). I’ve loved Pournelle ever since he said “the Shuttle has the glide ratio of a dead cat.”

    Bester–fantastic.

    Cordwainer Smith: anything he’s written.

    Also would suggest someone not very well known but very good: Melissa Scott.

  111. Aresen

    I can’t recall him (Heinlein) exploring a functioning Marxist society, but if he had, it would have been much better than the trite treatments I’ve seen in either the utopic or dystopic books I’ve read.

    I don’t think he believed in Marxism. Not only that he disaproved of it, he didn’t believe in it. I seem to remember one of his characters arguing that Marx didn’t believe in it, either. (“He didn’t finish his last book. Geniuses just don’t do that, I could cite you cases.” or words to that effect).

  112. I think that “The Iron Dream” by Norman Spinrad should be required reading (particularly for libertarians).

    Of course I read it 25 years ago and could be suffering from nostalgic over-estimation of its worth…

    http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/s/norman-spinrad/iron-dream.htm

  113. The real resistance to Russian expansion over the last 300 years has always come from the West

    *cough*Japan*cough*

  114. Bester–fantastic.

    Nice to see another mention for the man who was the namesake of Walter Koenig’s character on Babylon 5. Alfred Bester was a genius.

  115. David Weigel, did you actually read the Turner Diaries?

  116. As far as Iran and Russia. The Russians have been fighting the Muslims of Central Asia for 100s of years. I can’t imagine why a country at war with chechen radicals would ever want any Muslim country, much less a radical one on its doorstep, to have the bomb. It makes no sense.

  117. Heinlein’s quality is variable after TEFL, but I think many here would enjoy Job: A Comedy of Justice.

    Kevin

  118. As far as Iran and Russia. The Russians have been fighting the Muslims of Central Asia for 100s of years. I can’t imagine why a country at war with chechen radicals would ever want any Muslim country, much less a radical one on its doorstep, to have the bomb. It makes no sense.

    Sounds reasonable enough.

    I tend to think countries like China and Russia don’t worry about proliferation because if Iran or Pakistan hit them it would be suicide.

    Us, on the other hands, might lack the will to destroy them. We’d counterattack, but as soon as the UN started bitching about civillian casualties we’d stop way short of what China or Russia would do.

    There’s no reason that a nuclear North Korea shouldn’t be China and South Korea’s problem and a nuclear Iran shouldn’t be a big problem for Russia. But they’ve learned that we’ll take responsibility for every damn thing that happens in the world and due to that get blamed for everything.

    90% of our problems in foreign relations would go away if we stopped acting like pussies and didn’t try to solve things that are no concern of ours.

  119. Judging by his essays that I’ve seen since 9/11,

    I’d say Card’s politics are of the hand wringing crypto-fascist variety

    danger! danger!

    quick! kill something!

  120. george

    I agree Heinlein did not think Marxism was workable. I’ve always thought that the character of the Philosophy teacher – Mr Dubois [?] – in “Starship Troopers” spoke with Heinlein’s voice, and that character is flatly dismissive of Marxism.

    That being said, Heinlein loved to explore ideas. I think if he had chosen to create a Marxist society as a backdrop for one of his stories, the society would have been far more real and beleivable than any I’ve seen.

  121. If you think “Empire” is a right-wing “kill-all-the-dirty-liberals” fantasy, try “A State Of Disobedience by one Tom Kratman where America is run by an evil lesbian (a point the author constantly drives home as a pejorative) president who bans guns, imposes socialism, and cracks down on antiabortion protesters leading to another “American Revolution.”

  122. “A second Korean war would destroy the South Korean economy, put the world into a recession and put God knows how many millions of Chinese out of work.”

    Yeah, uh, the ROKA would kick the North’s ass in one, maybe two weeks. There’s this thing called will to combat and the North doesn’t have it whereas we do.

    Nukes, you say? The likelihood of a DPRK nuclear weapon working is quite slim.

    Unlike you, we are not afraid.

  123. Kim Yung Kim

    Yeah, uh, the ROKA would kick the North’s ass in one, maybe two weeks. There’s this thing called will to combat and the North doesn’t have it whereas we do.

    That’s what the South said about the North (and vice versa) in the American Civil War. That’s what at least one side, and often both, said before every war, “They won’t fight, they don’t have our spirit.” Don’t kid yourself, your enemy is as brave as you are (whoever you are).

  124. That’s plural, global you.

  125. “I’ve never found any sci-fi author consistently engaging. Any suggestions?”

    I suggest GENE WOLFE

  126. Weigel is a conservative?!?
    I’m not being sarcastic here…it’s just that every post I’ve ever read by him (at least those that I remember) seems to bash those on the right. I skipped past the top of the post, but instantly knew it was Weigel because of whose viewpoint he was mocking. Not saying you have to love everybody who calls themselves a Republican to be a conservative, but still, I was pretty shocked to see the line “conservatives (including me)”. For a while there, I’d thought Weigel was an exchange student visiting Reasonia from Daily Kosland.

  127. Try Kaleidoscope Century by John Barnes

    “Serb” as a verb

    and much much more

  128. I read Ender’s Game years ago, and while I don’t remember it very clearly, Card certainly did predict the influence of bloggers well before most of us were online at all.
    Anybody ever read David Gerrold’s “War against the Chtorr” (spelling?) series? More importantly, does anyone know if he ever finished it? Last time I checked, he stopped writing them just as the story was starting to get interesting. I read them while I was still in middle school, and always thought he was onto something with the idea that people would carry small phones, and instead of calling locations, you would actually be calling the individual you wished to speak to. Imagine! It makes me feel old that I once lived in a time where that was “futuristic”.
    I wish I still owned a copy of “A Rage for Revenge”, a lot of the book centered around a sort of badass self help seminar on steroids. There was a lot about the nature of authority and it’s relationship to responsibility; also some ideas on how you deal with people who don’t recognize your authority and laws. Might be an interesting re-read in the time of Guantanamo terrorist camp.
    Hopefully somebody has a better memory of the book than I. Alas, as this is the billionth post in the thread, nobody will be reading it.

  129. Heinlein is a massively overrated writer. Stranger in a Strange Land is a dreadful book.

    J G Ballard is certainly worth checking out, even if only his early novels are considered to be science fiction.

    Has anyone read Ira Levin’s This Perfect Day?

  130. In order to find something comparable to what is commonly written by Republicans in good standing who are often asked to appear in major media outlets, you have to hearken back to a foreign dictatorship that no contemporary liberal has a good word for.

    Rather concedes my point that there have been, in recent memory, plenty of “exterminationist” regimes headed by Marxists and other lefties that contemporary lefties had no problem with.

    I could also point out that your hard-core lefties still have nice things to say about such paragons as the Communist governments of China (decades into the slow motion cleansing of Tibet), the NORKs, and even Viet Nam, still ruled by the same bunch who killed hundreds of thousands in the name of their leftist ideology. In fact, I rarely hear your more garden variety liberals have a harsh word for any of the three, and I seem to recall the last bunch of liberals to hold power actually collaborating in the advancement of nuclear power in NORK and missile technology in Red China.

    So yeah, I feel pretty comfortable asserting that contemporary liberals have a blind spot when it comes to mass murderers on the left.

  131. I really liked ‘Enders Game’, I also like the story of Bean. Was that soo wrong? Do I really have that bad taste?

    Godamned server squiresl. I thought y’all had fixed that problem.

    And no I don’t want to preview my comment, I’ll just assume I spelled everything right, and that I coherently typed my thoughts.

  132. “It’d be far more interesting to read a liberal’s perspective on this dystopia … I could point out that this kind of fantasizing is what conservatives (including me) used to accuse liberals of doing with The West Wing, but the peerless Roy Edroso’s already covered that base.”

    On that note, I’d recommend Sherri Tepper’s “The Fresco” – it’s basically an aliens-land-on-Earth-and-change-Society wish-fulfillment fantasy novel. Samples: chronic alcohol abusers are rendered unable to drink, the police are given probable-cause-o-meters, traditional women-abusing Afghani males are cursed with wives who appear (to them) ugly [the men are magically prevented from hitting their ugly women], Jerusalem is removed from this plane of existence until the warring parties can come to a peaceful coexistence, &c. Great fun (though nobody will agree 100% with Tepper’s perspectives).

  133. I’m surprised no one has mentioned Gene Wolfe. (Or maybe someone has; I didn’t have time to read every post.)

  134. This string has very few libertarians and very many leftist tards. Never would have quessed it. Card is a Democrat who doesn’t toe the line with the Democrats usual bullshit. Must be why you all hate him.

    Thanks for clearing that one up…and I thought it was because he just published a poorly written book with a lame premise…oh, and he’s an anti-freemarket, anti-NRA homophobe who supports tha Patriot Act.

  135. John,

    The Russians realize that the Chechens are radical because they are Chechens, the fact that they are muslims is a side note, and they are supported by the Saudis not the Iranians. Remember that Iranians are Shiites and the only radical muslims that cause problems in Russia are Sunnis. Also Russia has had a large muslim population for the past 300 years, they aren’t as paranoid about muslims as people in the West. And finally in the minds of the Russian elite, unfortunately, the US is still the real enemy (even though you can argue that China now poses a much greater long term threat to Russian interests than the West), and a number of people in Russia would be perfectly happy to see Iran have the bomb if it would piss of the US.

  136. “Ender’s Game” was a so-so sci-fi novel that came out during a period when just about everything else was even worse.

    Yeah, but the short story it was based on was fantastic. It focuses entirely on the Battle School section, plays up the violence and provides no explanation whatsoever for why these kids are being trained to kill. Extremely creepy.

    Don’t kid yourself, your enemy is as brave as you are (whoever you are).

    They’re also practically starving to death. Hard to fight when you’re hungry and only have whatever weapons you can scrounge from the farming equipment at the local collective.

  137. I will only point out to the fantasists who think that the DPRK is powerful …

    The ROK has more people, more money, better weapons and a much better society to defend. Our conscripts have much more to fight for than the North’s.

    The only way we are like the South in your Civil War is that, yes, we do have greater spirit than our enemies. Not because we are different but because we have something better to fight for. Combine that with the fact that there is zero chance of the ROK conducting an offensive war – we’re not planning to drive North unless attacked.

    To combine material and moral advantage is to ensure victory.

    To paraphrase a Thai, “South Korea is not a domino.”

  138. Clark’s “The City and the Stars” is probably my favorite SF book of all time. It just entranced me as a kid and it still holds up.

    I have enjoyed the Tales of Alvin Maker series. Is that the one you eventually bounced off, Rhywun?

    That’s the one. And it’s too bad cuz I rather enjoyed the first book.

    And did you stop reading The Chronicles of Narnia when you realized the series was a thinly-disguised retelling of Christian theology?

    I never read any of it. But considering that I’m not a Christian and have no desire to be preached at, I’m not likely to read it.

  139. Thank you, Kim Yung Kim, for making points about the DPRK that I have often thought but never expressed.

    The DPRK has a numerous army, but it is poorly equipped and built on the Soviet Model.

    I think in an initial attack, the DPRK might inflict some horrific casualties – I am not so sanguine about their nukes – but they would be driven back very quickly.

    I do not have any idea whether the DPRK would implode following a failed attack, but I would not be surprised.

    Sincerely, for your sake, I hope my thinking on this matter never gets tested in the real world.

  140. yeah funny thing about the Korea conflict. The math I did matches what you two were saying, but on the intel books last time I looked, they had the North winning in less than a week. I wonder why.

    There is a bunch that I think the two of you aren’t aware of. But still.

  141. Mr. Kwais,

    Your intel also told you how powerful the Soviet Army and economy were and about the fighting prowess of the Republican Guard.

    Think of these questions. Of all the artillery the DPRK has when were the recoil mechanisms last checked? How will Type 69 tanks perform against K-1s? How will DPRK riflemen perform under fire? There are many similar questions you can ask and not get a satisfactory answer from intel.

    Intel has a strong bias toward exaggerating the strength of the enemy. If you want to keep USFK there has to be a “need” for it, therefore the DPRK must be a fearsome military power.

    Yours,

    KYK

  142. kwais

    If you have links to the books, I’d be interested.

    However, that sounds suspiciously like the Cold War Era projections that had the Soviet Army at the channel in 3 weeks. It was based on the assumption that every Soviet Division was fully up to strength, fully equipped, competently commanded, properly trained and that the Soviets were able to obtain 100% surprise. Plus the Warsaw Pact countries would be fully committed and cooperative.

    In reality, many Soviet Divisions were “castrated” divisions [the Russian term], morale was disasterous, the equipment was antiquated and poorly maintained, and the command was excreable. As to how they were going to maintain surprise in the presense of spy satellites able to track mobilizations, no one could say.

  143. I stopped reading Ender’s game when I realized it was a thinly-disguised escapism for highschool nerds. (“I might get wedgies because I’m so smart, but if I lived in the future I would be a respected SPACE CAPTAIN!”)

    Wow, way to identify yourself as an idiot to anyone who actually read past the first chapter.

  144. …thinly-disguised escapism for highschool nerds.

    Now why would a bright teenager prone to being given wedgies by bigger, dumber teenagers – but blessed with intellect and imagination – want to escape high school?

  145. “90% of our problems in foreign relations would go away if we stopped acting like pussies and didn’t try to solve things that are no concern of ours.”

    Exactly. I would add that if we stopped trying to solve things that are not our concern we would look a lot less like pussies because we would stop entering situations where our only significant interest is not looking like pussies.

  146. R C Dean,

    Tim Powers is one of my favorite authors, but I don’t know if I’d call any of his novels science fiction (save perhaps for Rust, but good luck finding that one). I’d characterise them as very artfully-written fantasy, or even more thinly as alternate-history.

  147. 80% of life is just showing up Woody Allen

    The other 20% is not looking like a pussy Madpad

  148. “David Weigel, did you actually read the Turner Diaries?”

    –Actually, I’m kind of wondering if he actually read Card’s “Empire”….

  149. I like Asimov, even his weaker stories. Heinlein has some great stuff, but he was also a little weird. And he had an awfully strong authoritarian streak for a libertarian. At least, I think so.

    Ender’s Game isn’t bad, but I haven’t been able to digest much more Card than that. Of more recent authors, I think I’ve liked Dan Simmons’ Hyperion series the best.

  150. Tim Powers is one of my favorite authors, but I don’t know if I’d call any of his novels science fiction

    Me neither, probably, but I gave up long ago trying to keep alt-history, fantasy, and sci-fi in separate boxes.

  151. “The women didn’t rise up and assassinate anybody in the Handmaid’s Tale.” – joe

    Nah, it just advocates eugenics to “cure” the male side of the species by replacing it with a psychic metrosexual eunuch species and setting up a society intended to force the men who live in the Barracks to periodically wipe one another out.

    “On the other hand, fantasies about killing a certain segment of their fellow Americans – or God killing them, or some other implausible plot device to make killing them in large numbers seem acceptable or even fun – has become a cottage industry on the right.” – joe

    Maybe if you are talking about that moronic Left Behind series crap. But that’s just a modern spin on the bloody nonsense in the Bible. Che Guevara, on the other hand, wrote charmingly bad advice on how to conduct guerilla warfare and spoke of how it was necessary to kill one’s countrymen for the greater good. I’d say neither the right nor the left has a monopoly on genocidal fantasies – but the left certainly has the lead in implementing them over the past 100 years or so…

    “God…not more silliness equating liberals with Marxist Kmer Rouge-types. And not more garbage about how Commies were worse than Fascists because they killed more people.

    Once you’ve offed more than a million people you’re an arch-evil S.O.B. (as opposed to the merely evil S.O.B. whose scores are between 1 and 1 million souls) and from where I’m sitting there’s just as many death dealers on the far right as the far left.” – madpad

    No doubt. But anyone who defends one side by pointing at the other is a hypocrite at best. A pox on both houses, etcetcetc.

    Also, IMHO, Card misses frequently, true, but some of his stuff is great.

    Heinlein and Asimov are also damn good authors, certainly better than Tepper. But for some reason Tepper gets assigned as college reading material while Heinlein, Card and Asimov rarely do. Wonder why that is?

  152. No one’s mentioned Larry Niven?

    His early Known Space series and his collaborations are the best, escpecially with Pournelle. “Footfall” has an incredible last 1/3 that you can’t put down.

    The recent Man-Kzin series, written by other authors in the Known Space universe is very good as well.

  153. …or some reason Tepper gets assigned as college reading material.. – rob

    Ms. Tepper lacks a Y chromosome, and she’s too young to have the Stench of Pulp about her.

    RCD: I find it useful to remember that one way to read “SF” is “Speculative Fiction.” It includes all the sub-genres you mentioned.

    [Unless you turn the lens around, embrace the “many-worlds” view of cosmology, and consider fantasy a sub-set of Science Fiction that takes place in alternate universes where physical laws are different enough to allow for magic. 🙂 ]

    Kevin

  154. Re: Tim Powers: Dinner at Deviant’s Palace is definitely science fiction, and I’d say The Anubis Gates is too.

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