June 29, 2011

DAVID BRIN: Milestones Leading Up To The Good Singularity?

UPDATE: Some readers object to Brin’s politics. Meh. He’s a smart guy — learn what you can and don’t let the politics distract you from that.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Ken Norlie emails:

I realize that you link many people whose politics are left-of-center. This isn’t a problem. I think that the strong dislike of David Brin comes mostly from science fiction fans like myself. We see the way leftists have taken over sf in the past few years, with disastrous results, ranging from “radical hard sf” (basically New Wave that gets the science right) on the accessible end, to “New Weird” on the even more unreadable end. Brin, like it or not, is heavily identified with sf culture as a whole, and his nasty, uninformed, and categorical rejection of anyone to the right of Bill Clinton sends the message that conservatives don’t fit into the sf world.

This is utterly ahistorical. John Campbell, editor of Astounding and Analog, was the most influential editor ever, and his politics could best be described as far right. Robert A. Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Jerry Pournelle, and Larry Niven were all politically right-of-center; even less conservative authors like Gregory Benford and Ben Bova are heavily influenced by Campbellian pro-free enterprise views. In fact, it was stories like Heinlein’s “The Man Who Sold the Moon” that set the stage for the current free enterprise boom in space, with entrepreneurs like Elon Musk.

Basically, when we get angry about Brin, we’re getting angry at the anti-libertarian trends in sf as a whole.

Well, don’t buy the stuff you don’t like, and make a point of buying the stuff you do like. It should sort itself out.

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