This is Why I Try to Know as Little About the Authors I Like as Possible

I’m a huge fan of science fiction but if you ask me about my favorite authors I can seldom tell you more than their name. This is purposeful because I want my relationship with my entertainers to be of one where they provide me entertainment and I give them money. The more you add on top of this the more difficult it becomes to simply enjoy the author’s works on its merit.

One of the series that I greatly enjoyed is Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. The man is a good author, I just want to make that clear before I continue. Scalzi’s philosophy and politics differ from my own. I advocate voluntary association and he advocates using violence to make everybody conform to his person views. As far as I’m concerned a person is entitled to their opinion so I never dwelled on it much. But it wasn’t until last night that I found out how judgmental this supposed advocate for equality really was.

It all started, as many things do, with Twitter. Scalzi decided to start an Internet fight with another of my favorite authors, Larry Correia. For those of you who follow his blog you know that he’s not well liked amongst his fellow authors. Correia’s politics fall under libertarian statism. While I do agree with his staunch stance on gun rights I disagree with a lot of his other political views. Again, he’s entitled to his opinion. But last night Scalzi, seemingly out of the blue, makes the following passive aggressive tweet:

This is in regards to Correia’s post titled The Naive Idiocy of Teaching Rapists Not To Rape. It’s a good article that explains, as only Correia can, why the concept of simply teaching men not to rape won’t actually stop rape. Since he couldn’t find any fault with the content of the post Scalzi decided to criticize the title.

As this point I decided to settle in for a wonderfully entertaining Twitter battle. For the most part it was pretty entertaining but it was pretty obvious that Scalzi hadn’t read Correia’s post and was merely trying to attack him for, well, reasons. But then he decided to get very petty:

You would think that an author who believes himself to be an advocate for equality wouldn’t resort to insulting entire groups of people based solely on their literature preference. But he decided that anybody who reads Correia must “miss a few clues about misogyny”. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I try to avoid learning about the authors I enjoy. Too often I find that people who can write thought provoking science fiction are also judgmental pricks. Of course I can’t resist a good opportunity to take a quick jab at the self-righteous so I did:

Really I was just trying to point out who foolish it is to insult people based on the literature they read because you may very likely be insulting somebody who reads your work, which he did. But by extension Scalzi also admitted that some of his readers “miss a few clues about misogyny” since, not surprisingly, there is some crossover between readers of Scalzi and Correia.

In my experience self-righteous people who have even a modicum of fame don’t bother letting nobodies like me get under their skin. I tweet them and they ignore me. But Scalzi is so full of himself that he actually took the time to tweet back to me:

He’s upfront, I’ll give him that. But I didn’t think he would actually take the time to tweet back if I replied so, well, I replied:

But I was wrong! He couldn’t help but point out that he has plenty of customers already so he doesn’t need the likes of Correia’s readers:

Beautiful. Seriously, I love publicly drawing out the egos of people online. You know a guy who tries to start a fight with somebody over the title of that person’s blog post is already pretty full of himself. But when he has to take time out of his day to point out that he has plenty of customers without needing wretches who dare read a certain other author’s material it really demonstrates how high on the horse he is. Because I’m not actually full of myself I did tell him that he is a good author even though he makes baseless accusations:

After all, there’s no reason I can’t be professional even if the person I’m conversing with isn’t.

But this exchange was an amusing example of three things. First, you need to be the right kind of person to give Scalzi money. Second, Scalzi like to make baseless accusations against people who read authors he doesn’t personally approve of. Third, Scalzi loves to hate on authors who disagree with him even if he has to grasp at straws to do so. I think the real irony here is that Correia receives tons of baseless accusations from the self-described political left (who are fake leftists) even though he’s far less judgmental then they are. Meanwhile Scalzi, who seems to think of himself as a warrior for equality, is judgmental of basically everybody.

Unfortunately this exchange has ensured that I won’t give Scalzi any more money (not that he cares, my application to give him money was obviously found wanting). I like his works but even I can only overlook so much self-righteousness in authors. And I really see no reason to give money to somebody who insults me for something as petty as my choice in fiction not written by him

Everybody was a Communist

We’re used the government labeling everybody terrorists. But the game isn’t new. Before the label of terrorist was applied to everybody the term communist was used. As a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) files on Isaac Asimov we now know that the agency accused Mr. Asimov of being a communist because of his science fiction:

By September 14, 1960, Isaac Asimov had been a professor of biochemistry Boston University for 11 years, and his acclaimed “I, Robot” collection of short stories was on its seventh reprint. This was also the day someone not-so-subtly accused him of communist sympathies in a letter to J. Edgar Hoover.

The FBI’s file on the author, who died in 1992, indicates that the FBI had its own suspicions about Asimov, based primarily on his extensive science fiction corpus and academic ties.

Hoover’s tipster questioned Asimov’s position “with respect to whether the Soviets had the first nuclear power plant.” He enclosed for the Director a letter he had written Asimov on the subject, and two postcards Asimov had sent in reply.

Today we play the same game by a slightly different name. I’m sure the FBI readily accuses anybody who questions America’s glory of being a terrorist. In all likelihood the agency has a file on me and many of my friends. Trying to label an individual as a dissident is the state’s way of isolating potential threats to the status quo from the remainder of society. Fortunately for us, and unfortunately for the state, these labels being to lose their meaning when they being to be applied to anybody and everybody with a dissenting opinion. Willingness to apply the label communist or terrorist to a wide number of people makes the general population realize that the labels are nonthreatening. Once that happens the isolation tactic fails and people often begin listening to the so-called communists and terrorists.

So Long Ray Bradbury

I’m sure, by now, everybody has heard that Ray Bradbury has died. The man was a great writer but an unfortunate luddite. With that said, even though he forsake many great technologies, I must say he was quite the visionary:

You’re known as being anti-politics. Are you still that way?
I don’t believe in government. I hate politics. I’m against it. And I hope that sometime this fall, we can destroy part of our government, and next year destroy even more of it. The less government, the happier I will be.

So long Ray Bradbury, your memory will live on through your writings (unless we make reading books illegal and change firemen from fight fighters to book burners).

Good to Know

It’s good to see the important issues are being covered by the We the People petitions:

Thank you for signing the petition asking the Obama Administration to acknowledge an extraterrestrial presence here on Earth.

The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race. In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public’s eye.

That’s a relief, I was worried a Wraith disguised as a punk was roaming around Las Vegas and feeding off of the life force of my fellow humans. Now I can rest assured that I won’t be dealing with a creature that can heal itself almost instantly from bullet wounds.

The Kurian Invasion Begins

Several people I know were reporting sightings of aliens in the Como area of St. Paul last night. Normally I’m just as skeptical as the next guy but when I put it all together it makes sense. Think about it for a second; we’re experiencing massive natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and tornadoes during a time of economic downturn. That must mean the Kurian invasion has begun!

It’s been nice knowing all of you but I’m off to the Ozarks to jump start the resistance.

* I really need more opportunities to make Vampire Earth references on this blog.

The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Dreadnaught is Out Today

The Lost Fleet is one of my favorite new science fiction series. Quite some time ago I did a brief review/overview that hardly did the series justice but I’m not good at doing such articles without also giving away spoilers which would just make reading the series less entertaining.

Last year The Lost Fleet series was concluded in the book Victorious but fortunately Jack Campbell (actually the pen name for author John G. Hemry) announced two split off series; Beyond the Frontier and The Phoenix Star. Dreadnaught is the first in the Beyond the Frontier series which will follow the continuing story of The Lost Fleet’s main character John Geary.

My advice, get a copy.

Science Fiction and Libertarianism

I love science fiction and I am a hardcore libertarian. I’ve noticed that many science fiction novels contain very libertarian ideals which may be part of what attracted me to science fiction or libertarianism (I haven’t a clue which one came first honestly, maybe they just went hand in hand).

Well I’m not the only one to notice such a connection as Jeff Riggenbach has a great article up today on the Mises Daily. I also need to get a copy of The Weapon Shops of Isher as I really like the idea behind the following technology:

And what about McAllister — the reporter from the mid-20th-century American Midwest? Well, as I mentioned, he found himself living 7,000 years in the future, on an Earth ruled by a single monarchical government; the Empire of Isher it was called. And scattered throughout this empire were what the imperial citizens knew, simply, as “the Weapon Shops.” They were everywhere — in major cities and in small towns. And, even by the standards of the time in which they flourished, they were equipped with amazing technology.

Their front doors would not admit any government employee. Anyone else could enter freely and buy a high-quality energy weapon that could be used only defensively.

Emphasis mine. Where can I get one of these amazing doors that bars government employees from entering but will allow anybody else through? This may be the greatest technological device I’ve ever heard of! Hell I’ll take a dozen right now.

Things like this are probably the reason I love science fiction so much.

Vampire Earth: March in Country Out Today

Speaking of birthdays I think I just received one of the most awesome gifts ever. Today is the release date of Vampire Earth: March in Country. I already have it downloaded on my Kindle and expect to be completely worthless for the next few days while I read through it. Do yourself a favor and go pick up a copy for your own bookshelf or electronic reading device.

Tron: Legacy

I saw Tron: Legacy at the IMAX on Saturday. To sum up the movie I can say it kicks major amounts of ass. Even if you haven’t seen the first film there is a lot to like in the new movie. It kicks all sorts of ass and frankly you really just need to go watch it. Legacy does a great job of having throwbacks to the original movie without being reliant on the nostalgia factor.

Oh and apparently the movie is in 3D. Being a man without any depth perception I wouldn’t have known this except for the fact that if I didn’t wear the glasses they gave us I the movie would be really blurry.

I Have a Simpler Explanation

Apparently Syfylus channel has canceled the new Battlestar Galactica prequel, Caprica, and somebody wrote up a long discussion on why it was done. Mostly the post is about the eminent extinction of cable television companies due to competition.

I have a simpler explanation of why Caprica was canceled. It’s the same reason Stargate Universe will probably (hopefully) be canceled in a short while, it’s not very good.

I admit that I’ve watched every episode of Stargate Universe so far and I honestly can’t tell you why. Out of the episodes released so far I think there were two that I enjoyed. I can’t say the same for Caprica because unlike Stargate Universe, I have no prior love for the Battlestar Galactica series. I really liked Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis which is probably why I keep watching Universe (hoping the entire series so far was a big joke and it will revert to a classic Stargate series… a man can dream right?). I tried watching two episodes of Caprica and frankly they were damned boring. Both were great examples of nothing happening.

The ultimate problem these series have is the lack of exploration. Science fiction has always been about exploring new ideas and concepts. If you read any science fiction novel there is generally a huge “what if” scenario going on. What if humans coexisted with aliens? What if time travel was possible? What if humans created sentient robots? The list goes on. The problem with prequel and sequel series is you are already familiar with the universe the series falls in. Once you’re familiar with the universe there is a lot less exploration that will be done as the major rules have already been described.

Stargate Atlantis was able to great a new sense of exploration by moving everything to another galaxy and introducing a new enemy species, the Wraith. The Wraith were completely different and separate from the previous alien bad guys, the Goa’uld. This gave whole new avenues for exploration and discovery. Stargate Universe on other hand just threw a ton of people onto a ship they can’t control and slowly (gruelingly slow) unveil little pieces here and there. Hell in the two and a half seasons they’ve introduced two alien species which we’ve not heard much of since.

Capria is in the same boat. We already know the Cylons are bad guys and there was a war brewing between the humans and the robots. What can you possibly do in a prequel to that? Everybody already knows the outcome is going to be war and thus you really leave little in the form of exploration. There aren’t going to be any real “what ifs.”

Good television shows can survive on network television. Although I never liked it and can’t consider it good we can look a Lost as an example. How long did that series go? How many people tuned in to watch it? It was damned popular. Why? I really have no idea honestly, I found it a confusing mess. But there was a sense of discovery and exploration. Nobody knew what the Hell the island was nor why a fucking polar bear was hanging out on it, but you tuned in hoping to find the answer.

If television producers want to create good science fiction shows they need original ideas and things to explore. Once those two things are accomplished the foundation is ready and a show can be built upon it.