April 24th, 2015


Interesting Links for 24-04-2015


Not seeing politics in science fiction takes a certain amount of privilege

Some of the stuff to do with the Hugos has had me pondering. Not the stuff to do with Vox Day, who is simply a particularly toxic member of the losing side of the culture wars. But the larger movement of people that feel disenfranchised by their perception that science fiction nowadays is all culture, diversity, and politics, rather than the zapping space battles of the Golden Age.

Which is _obviously_ nonsense. And clearly the kind of opinion that nobody who has actually read, and paid attention to, the science fiction written by the science fiction grand masters can make with a straight face. (see this Heinlein quote, for instance.)

Except that earlier today I bumped into a link to the Asimov short Profession, and while thinking about the politics inherent in it, I realised that a younger me would not really have noticed those politics. And then that an awful lot of the fans who feel disenfranchised can spot the politics of something which points out unfairness to people that aren't them, or that places the blame at the feet of people like them. But political writing that says that they're great, and downtrodden, and that one day their specialness will be recognised, because the world should be arranged so that people who don't fit into neat categories, but instead think special creative thoughts, are the most important - that doesn't feel at all political. It's just a statement of the obvious, after all.

And it's things like this that have made me ever more aware that it's not just that the personal is the political - that _everything_ is political. It's just things don't feel political to people when they embody a situation that feels both normal and right to them. I mean, I bet Friends doesn't look political to most people watching it. But that it feels intensely political for anyone who thinks that every joke about Charles Bing in a dress sets back the cause of LGBT rights.

All of which doesn't explain why the Sad Puppies are raising this _now_. I'm fairly sure that the exact same discussions happened during the New Wave - if we'd had the internet making it easier to organise block votes then would the same thing have happened?

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