Anders Monsen

Lost worlds and ports of call

Month: February 2007 (page 1 of 2)

NIN concept album?

I am not very familiar with NIN beyond a couple of songs from more than a decade ago, but I found an interesting link to a site linking to some viral marketing for a possible future album, including a “resistance” site.

What happened to the Prometheus Awards?

James Nicoll asks this almost rhetorical question in a forum, with a bevy of replies, some from people familiar with the Prometheus Awards, some from individuals hostile to libertarian ideas. Nicoll, no friend of libertarians, closes with this question:

I understand why SF is increasingly not an American genre but Libertarian SF seems ideally suited to the US. Why, then, is the Prometheus Award going to people who aren’t libertarians (left or right) and not American?

The debate makes interesting reading. There are many points I could try to rebut, such as the statement that the Prometheus Award is marginal (why, then, do winners of this award seek to state “Winner of the Prometheus Award” on their novels, or other writers when writing about winners often mention how many Prometheus Awards that writer has won? Among other points, of course.)

John C. Wright interviewed

Over at Sci Fi Weekly, Nick Gevers has a long interview with John C. Wright, author of (among others) The Golden Age trilogy, two Everness books (so far), and the recently completed Orphans of Chaos trilogy.

Political history of SF

Someone reprinted Eric S. Raymond’s essay in their LiveJournal, spurring a lengthy debate. I reprinted this essay in Prometheus a few issues ago, and while I don’t agree with all the points, it’s a very interesting essay.

Free speech in America sighs another death-rattle

How long before this much maligned and restricted right dies completely? The most recent example is grim: convicted and arrested for a joke about Scientology? Give me a freakin’ break.

Libertarian writer?

Here’s an interview with novelist Scott Nicholson, who apparently describes himself as a libertarian writer. However, in the response to this question, he demurrs, stating:

“Well, libertarianism just plain won’t work in the human world. It would only work if we each lived alone, in a vacuum, where our actions didn’t affect other people. But we live in communities that are bubbles inside larger communities. And I also diverge from the traditional party line: for example, while I favor the legalization of most drugs, I don’t favor unlimited access to guns. The government’s role could be much smaller in our lives, but it also can do good things. Libertarians are mostly out on the extreme fringes of both major U.S. political parties, and if you really press them on their beliefs, a mass of contradictions emerges. So I don’t articulate that so much in my fiction.”

And, in the other corner, we have Claire Wolfe, who does seeks some solitude in her life, stating something quite the opposite in a blog entry:

“So many things can bind us to a place. Family. Work. Inertia. Fear. History. Money is a big factor, considering leaving the country. But the ties can be so intricate, so multi-layered, so difficult to convey to anyone who isn’t walking that mile in one’s own moccasins. Being part of a community like this one — where people help each other so freely and with such enthusiasm — is a little miracle (especially for people like me who grew up rootless and unattached to the places we lived and the people who lived there). So I speculate often about getting out of this going-to-hell country. Then I think I’d have to be mad to leave a place like this, a place that embodies the essence of real, old-fashioned community, a place that is what America was at its best and ought to be again.”

Judge for yourself. Libertarianism: an atomistic impossibility, or the true spirit of a voluntary community?

When fictioneers bite politicians

The vision of real politicians squirming from seeing themselves potryed in a bad light warms my heart. The fact that this is happening in Great Britain and that it’s Labor politicos makes me raise an eyebrow or two in surprise. Then you read further and you see the real cause –

“I didn’t mind a little betrayal of socialist ideals,” says Beaton, “but the war was it.”

Still a healthy dose of disrepect of public figures is always a good thing.

Note: I am far from pro-war, but I wonder if the motives had been non-socialist whether this would have reached the airwaves.

Transhumanism

Interesting interview with a leading transhumanist, Nick Bostrom. According to conservative historian Francis Fukuyama, transhumanism is “the greatest threat to the future of humanity” so you know it has to be interesting and probably a good idea. It’s definitely a hot topic in modern sf, viz the novels and short stories of Charles Stross, Vernor Vinge, Chris Moriarty, and countless others.

Libertarian pseudo-novels?

A not easily identifiable person writes a LiveJournal essay on what he/she calls two libertarian pseudo-novels – Henry Hazlitt’s Time Will Run Back and J. Neil Schulman’s The Rainbow Cadenza. I think the writer is spot on in terms of the Hazlitt book, which is one of the dullest works of ‘fiction’ that I’ve ever read, but I can’t remmber Schulman’s book being as much a ‘p o r n’ novel as alluded to in the review. Sure, there’s sex in the book (some of it not very pleasant), and it’s been almost two decades since I read the book, but I thought it was a decent work of fiction then. I’ll have to re-read the novel to refresh my memory, but I came away thinking more about the musical sections than the erotica or sex scenes.

Wolfe recommends

Claire Wolfe recommends a book that I think I will need to hunt down – The Secret of Santa Vittoria.

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