Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Old Earth: a possible science fiction anthology

Old Mars and Old Venus are anthologies of new stories set in those worlds, as they were seen in old science fiction.  Martian cities far older
than any on Earth, extensive Venusian seas, etc.  (I suspect some good old tropes have been left out or toned down; for example, racism.)

Old Earth would be an equivalent.  Geology and geography wouldn't be as divergent from current sf norms; but much else would be different:

Humans originated on Mars, or in another solar system.  (Alternatively, our species evolved from Neanderthals.)

In Manhattan, no major buildings will be constructed or demolished during the next thousand years.

England will be a world power forever.   (More common from British than American authors.)

The appallingly efficient Soviet Union will be powerful for centuries to come.

The United States is the only real country in North America.

Hiroshima is afflicted with superhuman mutants.

Tobacco is harmless to humans.  And the smoke causes no problems on spaceships or space stations.

Multiple personality and schizophrenia are the exact same thing.

In the 21st Century:

There are plenty of jobs for washroom attendants and elevator operators in the US.

Men are more intelligent and reasonable than women.  We are in charge, as we should be.  (Or women have taken over and
men are submissive.)

Tin Pan Alley music rules.

The first Black US President was at or near the bottom of the Line of Succession.  He got to the White House after everyone ahead
of him died or otherwise became ineligible. 

US bohemians look, talk, dress, and act like the Beats.

Flying cars took over from ground cars some time in the second half of the 20th Century.

Of course, assumptions common in today's sf won't become similarly old-fashioned.  Will they?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

There are people who believe conservative science fiction and fantasy have been unfairly slighted in the World Science Fiction Society awards (aka the Hugos.)  As some of you know, this year two groups have tried to remedy the problem they see.

Perhaps there should be a list of older sf which Sad Puppies, Mad Puppies, and those inclined to agree with them might find objectionable.  
Here is a start:

Robert A. Heinlein, Revolt in 2100.  A strongly Christian US government is overthrown, with the author's obvious approval.
Robert A. Heinlein, The Puppet Masters.  The future setting has term marriages.
Robert A. Heinlein, "Delilah and the Space Rigger."  Blatant feminism.

H. G. Wells, The Time Machine.  In the far future, descendants of the upper classes are exploited by the dictatorship of the proletariat.  (Marxists might also find this novel objectionable.)

Harry Turtledove, Guns of the South.  A victorious Confederate government deprives many citizens of their property.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Saturday May 29, 2015  Thnidu:  "Let's take a train to Bermuda"?

 Gonna need quite a tunnel for that.

[I was thinking of a bridge.]

Let's Get Away From It All
 And thanks for prompting me to look up the lyrics. I've had bits of this floating around inside my cerebrum for, probably, well over half a  century.)

***Thnidu: "Wednesday May 6, 2015 NYTimes opinion piece on Catholicism had 666 online comments when I looked at it."
When I lived in Massachusetts, my phone number was, no [organic fertilizer], 508 877-6666. My kosher butcher said, "One of my other customers also has a phone number ending in 6666. I'll bet when you moved in, somebody at the phone company looked at your last name and said 'That looks Jewish.  Maybe _they_ won't scream and rant about "6666".'"
For a while I had a real pain-in-the-[rear] caller, a teenage-sounding boy  who would call up and ask "Is Satan there?" Eventually I called the phone company, who set up a trace... but then they said they couldn't get the  number from it because he was calling from a different area. WTF? The  _phone company_ can't trace past their own boundaries? They just  gave me the usual advice, "Don't say anything, just hang up."
Well, for a few more weeks I kept taking it, but it bugged me more and more. (Bugs... six legs... 666... sick, sick, sick...) Finally one time  this dick called, I'd had enough. Unpremeditated, I dropped to a low,  growly, evil voice ( I did <i>lots</i> of voice-acting reading <i>Lord  of the Rings</i> to my kids and playing D&D with them) and answered
Then I hung up the phone.
 And I never heard from the sonofabitch again.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Thursday May 28, 2015  Recommended fantasy story:  Yoon Ha Lee, "Two to Leave" http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com/stories/two-to-leave/

***Fred Lerner:  Dan,

I've often wondered what would happen if one of the states adopted a parliamentary system. So far as I can see there's nothing in the U.S. Constitution to prevent a state from doing this.

[So far, the most radical experiment is Nebraska's unicameral legislature.]

***Lee Gold: On 5/28/2015 3:58 PM, Daniel S. Goodman wrote:
Monday May 4, 2015  One of the other two tenants left, absentmindedly taking the other's car.

How did he get the key?

[Car owner was too trusting to bolt his door while he slept.]

***Thursday May 7, 2015  National Day of Prayer, proclaimed by the President.  Free story idea:  What happens if the US ever has an openly agnostic or atheist President?  The tradition would probably continue.

If you check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_affiliations_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States#The_irreligious you'll find that #27 Taft was Unitarian and -- Before becoming president, Taft was offered the presidency of Yale University, at that time affiliated with the Congregationalist Church; Taft turned the post down, saying, "I do not believe in the divinity of Christ."  On the other hand he apparently wasn't an atheist.  It might be worth researching this.

***Adult Children Anonymous meeting.  This night's talk was on Step Two.

I consider my higher power to be myself as the best I could be.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

"An election is coming.  Universal peace is declared, and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry."  George Eliot; Felix Holt

Thursday, May 28, 2015

***Monday May 4, 2015  One of the other two tenants left, absentmindedly taking the other's car.

***Tuesday May 5, 2015  The bad tenant was back, not bringing the car.

I think this was when I began to feel I was in a soap opera.  Without the sex.

***Wednesday May 6, 2015 NYTimes opinion piece on Catholicism had 666 online comments when I looked at it.

***Freelancers Union event:  "Branding Yourself as an Expert."

***Thursday May 7, 2015  National Day of Prayer, proclaimed by the President.  Free story idea:  What happens if the US ever has an openly agnostic or atheist President?  The tradition would probably continue.

***UK elections.  Whenever I begin thinking the US would be better off with a parliamentary system, either the UK or Canada will helpfully prove this wrong.

***Linden Hills Adult Children Anonymous meeting.

***Sunday May 10, 2015 "The United States could relearn a thing or two from British politics -- specifically, how to relocate the pragmatism that once prevailed on this side of the pond."  Subheading of opinion piece in the Star Tribune (Minneapolis daily paper.)   The continuation is headlined "Polarization is less present in British politics."  Author?  "Lawrence R. Jacobs is director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs."

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Harry Turtledove, Joe Steele.  ROC, 2015

Alternate history:   Stalin's parents emigrate to the US, and he's born here rather than in the Tsarist Empire.  He changes his name to "Steele" rather than the Russian equivalent.

He gets the 1932 Democratic Presidential nomination, after Franklin Roosevelt's unfortunate death.  Wins the election, stays President till his death.

After an interval in which it looks like the US will stop being a dictatorship, a worse man takes over:   J. Edgar Hoover.

Do I recommend it?  If you're a history buff or a political junkie, yes.  Otherwise, worth a look to see if you want to continue reading.