_Childhood's End_, Etc.

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David O'Bedlam

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Feb 5, 2004, 11:48:44 PM2/5/04
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Man, I'm like 80% through this, the only Arthur C. Clarke I've read
outside the _2001_ series, and all I can say is that this guy wrote
some hokey geeky sci-fi. It might be true that Clarke's writing did
improve since this was written (1953 was it?) but I'm not going to
go re-read _2061_ just to double-check. If it weren't for a few SF
*writers* -- writers who know some science, like Philip K. Dick and
John Barnes -- rather than frustrated scientist-candidates like
Clarke and Asimov, I'd've given up on this genre entirely long ago.

I'm sure there's a *Point* to _Childhood's End_, one I might find
out before the end, because there's got to be *something* to it --
there's sure as hell very little story, and the writing's as stiff
as the characters. It reads like a mid-season episode of "Star Trek:
Voyager", only without the big tits and the Borg devices.

What explains Science Fiction's popularity anyway? I must be missing
something.


The

--
"I'm near the end, and I just ain't got the time."
---------------------------------------------------------------------
(C) 2004 by `TheDavid^TM' | David, P.O. Box 21403, Louisville, KY 40221

Wayne Throop

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Feb 5, 2004, 11:56:21 PM2/5/04
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: "David O'Bedlam" <thed...@shell.rawbw.com>
: If it weren't for a few SF *writers* -- writers who know some science,

: like Philip K. Dick and John Barnes -- rather than frustrated
: scientist-candidates like Clarke and Asimov, I'd've given up on this
: genre entirely long ago.
: What explains Science Fiction's popularity anyway?
: I must be missing something.

Maybe because most people don't care what you like
before deciding what they like?

Minorly interesting troll. The silly Followup-To to try tripping up
any responding Billygoats Gruff was lame, though.


Wayne Throop thr...@sheol.org http://sheol.org/throopw

palmer.william

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Feb 6, 2004, 1:19:06 AM2/6/04
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"David O'Bedlam" <thed...@shell.rawbw.com> wrote in message
news:102675c...@corp.supernews.com...


>
> Man, I'm like 80% through this, the only Arthur C. Clarke I've read
> outside the _2001_ series, and all I can say is that this guy wrote
> some hokey geeky sci-fi. It might be true that Clarke's writing did
> improve since this was written (1953 was it?) but I'm not going to
> go re-read _2061_ just to double-check. If it weren't for a few SF
> *writers* -- writers who know some science, like Philip K. Dick and
> John Barnes -- rather than frustrated scientist-candidates like
> Clarke and Asimov, I'd've given up on this genre entirely long ago.
>
> I'm sure there's a *Point* to _Childhood's End_, one I might find
> out before the end, because there's got to be *something* to it --
> there's sure as hell very little story, and the writing's as stiff
> as the characters. It reads like a mid-season episode of "Star Trek:
> Voyager", only without the big tits and the Borg devices.

> What explains Science Fiction's popularity anyway? I must be missing
> something.

You are. There are many science fiction novels
from the Fifties which hold up far better than
Clarke's famous story. Try Theodore Sturgeon's
THE DREAMING JEWELS; Alfred Bester's
THE STARS MY DESTINATION and THE
DEMOLISHED MAN; Algis Budrys'
ROGUE MOON; Clifford Simak's TIME
IS THE SIMPLEST THING; and Brian
Aldiss' STARSHIP (NON-STOP in the British
edition) for instance. All of them hold up
far better than CHILDHOOD'S END, and,
at least for my money, so does Van Vogt's
SLAN, which was actually written in Forties.

(By the way, not long ago I read Eric
Frank Russell's SINISTER BARRIER and
it scared the heck out of me. Though
written in the Forties, when it must have
seemed incredibly "far out," we have
learned things since than that make it
much more likely something horrifyingly
akin to what Russell describes could
actually be occurring.)

By the way, while I don't agree with you
assessment of Clarke and Asimov, I
will add that none of the writers I
mentioned above were scientist
types. Bester, in fact, was an editor
for HOLIDAY magazine for, as I seem
to recall reading, about ten years.


Mr. Palmer
Room 314

Pete McCutchen

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Feb 6, 2004, 10:05:24 AM2/6/04
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On Fri, 06 Feb 2004 04:48:44 -0000, "David O'Bedlam"
<thed...@shell.rawbw.com> wrote:

> If it weren't for a few SF
>*writers* -- writers who know some science, like Philip K. Dick and
>John Barnes

Some trolls are just not believable. Dick one of those writers who
knows science? Please.

P.S. *plonk*
--

Pete McCutchen

Jon Meltzer

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Feb 6, 2004, 11:42:31 AM2/6/04
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"David O'Bedlam" <thed...@shell.rawbw.com> wrote in message
news:102675c...@corp.supernews.com...

>
> Man, I'm like 80% through this, the only Arthur C. Clarke I've read
> outside the _2001_ series, and all I can say is that this guy wrote
> some hokey geeky sci-fi.

Oh, God. They have a cave troll.

<plonk>


Shawn H

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Feb 6, 2004, 12:11:19 PM2/6/04
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In rec.arts.sf.written David O'Bedlam <thed...@shell.rawbw.com> wrote:

: I'm sure there's a *Point* to _Childhood's End_, one I might find


: out before the end, because there's got to be *something* to it --
: there's sure as hell very little story, and the writing's as stiff
: as the characters. It reads like a mid-season episode of "Star Trek:
: Voyager", only without the big tits and the Borg devices.

The Childhood's End I remember dealt with a lot of themes. The Nieztschean idea
of the superman, fears for future generations, hopes for human transcendence.
That the alien Overlords shepharding the evolution of our species resembled
nothing so much as the Christian devil added a layer of myth and religion to
the story, with the possible symbolism of the original Fall, and the
implication that this time the apple would be readily accepted by everyone,
unavoidable.

: What explains Science Fiction's popularity anyway? I must be missing
: something.

The entire genre, you mean? Why do people like it?

Why do people read fiction at all?

Shawn

Taki Kogoma

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Feb 6, 2004, 12:28:30 PM2/6/04
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palmer.william

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Feb 6, 2004, 12:31:35 PM2/6/04
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"Pete McCutchen" <p.mcc...@worldnet.att.net> wrote in message
news:rfj620pu3374oimrj...@4ax.com...

Obviously Clarke knows hard science. On the other
hand, Dick not only had the sort of imagination which
mkaes a writer great, but he had an amazing intuitive
grasp of science which makes his stories popular
with scientific people as well as with all sorts of
other readers. It is quite clear that Dick's books
far outsell Clarke's these days. On the other
hand, if you want hard science, read the Dean
of Hard Science writers, Hal Clement, of
MISSION OF GRAVITY FAME.
>
> P.S. *plonk*

Well, I think David has a newsgroup and he is
trying to promote it the wrong way, by pulling
stunts like fiddling with the newsgroup line
to misdirect messages to his group and
so on. That is not going to win him any
readers, but--being fair--I have seen far more
trivial posts in this group than his Clarke post.

One fault with this group is that certain readers
are a bit to "cliqued up.". They tend to respond
mainly to one another, and--worse--they confuse
having an encyclopediac knowledge of science
fiction with creative thinking on the topic. When
challenged, they become very angry.

Let me put my cards on the line: I am not
particularly interested in who can spew the
most data: after all, most of it is in THE
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SCIENCE FICTION.
What interests me more, and what I try to
achieve in my posts here, is stirring up
creative thinking by seeing things from a
new angle.

For instance, when I recently
posted on Eric Frank Russell, I got the
old "we've talked about him" treatment.
Yes, Russell has been discussed often,
but generally when he has been discussed,
it has looked like a competition to see can
spew the most detail from Clute!

What I tried to do was pinpoint aspects
of SINISTER BARRIER which make that
story (which must have seemed comfortably
incredible to most readers when Russell
wrote it) terrifyingly possible in view of
what is what is known today. I thnk it is
high time a few people in the clique here
stop echoing data back and forth, stop
telling one another only what they want
to hear, and work on coming up with
some creative thinking about written sf.
Nothing sadder than a group filled
with ossified intellects...


Mr. Palmer
Room 314
> --
>
> Pete McCutchen


palmer.william

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Feb 6, 2004, 2:39:56 PM2/6/04
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"Shawn H" <shill#@fas.harvard.edu> wrote in message
news:c00hrn$c5f$1...@news.fas.harvard.edu...

Actually, David's comments shows how far removed
he is from changes in the way people are viewing
literature itself nowadays. Whatever you think of
Clarke, it is good to remember that when CHILDHOOD'S
END was written, most critics in the literary establishment
would not deign to review a sf book. Well, as things
turned out, most of the books the critcs of that time were
reviewing are now deservedly forgotten, while more
and more readers are discovering Bester, Sturgeon,
Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Russel, Van Vogt, Simak,
etc.

As to whether David is a troll, I neither know no care.
I always look at the content of the message, and I never
have subscribed to this, "Don't read this guy he is a
troll, read me instead," rubbish that you get from pushy
little incrowds in many newsgroups whenever a post
by someone perceived as an outsider has the potential
for stirring up sluggish newsgroup waters.. As I said
in an earlier post, troll or no, David's post had more
food for thought in it than many other posts I have
seen pass without criticism in this group.

Mr. Palmer
Room 314

Thomas Lindgren

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Feb 6, 2004, 3:02:56 PM2/6/04
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"palmer.william" <palmer....@sbcglobal.net> writes:

> As I said in an earlier post, troll or no, David's post had more
> food for thought in it than many other posts I have seen pass
> without criticism in this group.

Really? Let's break that post down then.

* ACC "wrote some hokey geeky sci-fi";

* the original poster believes Philip K Dick knew some science but
Isaac Asimov (PhD chemistry, if memory serves) was a "frustrated
scientist-candidate";

* David O'Bedlam would have given up on the genre if it wasn't for
PKD or John Barnes;

* CHILDHOOD'S END has no story, has stiff writing and has no big tits
in it;

* "What explains Science Fiction's popularity anyway? I must be missing
something.".

That's quite some food for thought, all right. Would one dare to call
such insights profound? Inspired?

I do recall the "David O'Bedlam" moniker though: one of the desperate
attention seekers on some newsgroup or newsgroups some years ago.
Apparently he's still around.

Best,
Thomas
--
Thomas Lindgren
"It's becoming popular? It must be in decline." -- Isaiah Berlin

palmer.william

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Feb 6, 2004, 3:24:57 PM2/6/04
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"Thomas Lindgren" <***********@*****.***> wrote in message
news:m3llnf5...@localhost.localdomain...

Well, David hasn't learned much because he is
resulting to sophomoric tactics such as fiddling
with followup lines. That is not going to win him
any fans. Even so, do you not realize that it would
be very easy to break many, or even most, posts
to this group down in the same manner you have
employed with David's? I have seen that sort of
thing done so many times that, frankly, I consider
it a stunt, maybe the next level up from typo-
pouncing. I am not saying David's post was
"profound," but how many profound posts do
you get here? I would call it run-of-the-mill
rec.arts.sf.written. You see better posts
every day, but you see worse ones too.
I responded to him merely because he got
me thinking about about Clarke and 50's
sf a bit. I could care less whether he is a
troll or anything else. I take or leave each
post strictly on the basis of its content.


Bill Palmer
Room 314

James Nicoll

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Feb 6, 2004, 3:54:45 PM2/6/04
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In article <g4SUb.20990$5t4....@newssvr27.news.prodigy.com>,

palmer.william <palmer....@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
>
>while more
>and more readers are discovering Bester, Sturgeon,
>Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Russel, Van Vogt, Simak,
>etc.

How?

OK, Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein all have books that are still in
print, in MMPK no less but it seems to me that at the moment there are not
a lot of books by EFR, VV or Simak in print. EFR has a NESFA collection or
two and VV has some Orb editions, but neither is as far as I know in MMPK.
Simak was almost completely out of print when I did my Novels of on him.

So how are the readers encountering the more obscure authors on
your list? Library?

This is where Mr. Pelan can point out his Simak project, of course.
--
"Unless there are slaves to do the ugly, horrible, uninteresting work, culture
and contemplation become almost impossible. Human slavery is wrong, insecure,
and demoralizing. On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, the
future of the world depends." -Oscar Wilde, "The Soul of Man Under Socialism"

James Nicoll

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Feb 6, 2004, 4:02:33 PM2/6/04
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In article <c00uul$bq8$1...@panix3.panix.com>,

James Nicoll <jdni...@panix.com> wrote:
>In article <g4SUb.20990$5t4....@newssvr27.news.prodigy.com>,
>palmer.william <palmer....@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
>>
> >while more
>>and more readers are discovering Bester, Sturgeon,
>>Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Russel, Van Vogt, Simak,
>>etc.
>
> How?
>
> OK, Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein all have books that are still in
>print, in MMPK no less but it seems to me that at the moment there are not
>a lot of books by EFR, VV or Simak in print. EFR has a NESFA collection or
>two and VV has some Orb editions, but neither is as far as I know in MMPK.
>Simak was almost completely out of print when I did my Novels of on him.
>
> So how are the readers encountering the more obscure authors on
>your list? Library?

And of course the fine editions offered by the SFBC, he added hastily.

palmer.william

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Feb 6, 2004, 5:01:56 PM2/6/04
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"James Nicoll" <jdni...@panix.com> wrote in message
news:c00uul$bq8$1...@panix3.panix.com...

> In article <g4SUb.20990$5t4....@newssvr27.news.prodigy.com>,
> palmer.william <palmer....@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> >
> >while more
> >and more readers are discovering Bester, Sturgeon,
> >Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Russel, Van Vogt, Simak,
> >etc.
>
> How?
>
> OK, Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein all have books that are still in
> print, in MMPK no less but it seems to me that at the moment there are not
> a lot of books by EFR, VV or Simak in print. EFR has a NESFA collection
or
> two and VV has some Orb editions, but neither is as far as I know in MMPK.
> Simak was almost completely out of print when I did my Novels of on him.
>
> So how are the readers encountering the more obscure authors on
> your list? Library?

Actually, many of them have been reprinted in trade
sized paperbacks within the past few years. The
first book by Simak that really grabbed me, TIME
IS THE SIMPLEST THING, I got at a Barnes and
Noble a few years back in a trade-sized p.b. put
out by Collier. My two Random House/Vintage
Sturgeons came from the same store. Russell,
I must admit, I read in a very old paperback which
I chanced across in a used bookstore. SLAN,
though, I first read in a reprint obtained at one
of the chains. Van Vogt was also reprinted in
trade-sized p.b.s in recent years.

Now, if it were just me reading those, that would
not mean much, except that maybe I had odd
tastes in reading.. But I also hang out in writing
and book groups, and I can assure you that the sf
greats of the Fifties are better known to most readers
of those groups than many non-sf authors the critics
of the Fifties drooled over and whom are long
forgetten. I am not talking about great writers
like Kerouac--who was scarcely "drooled over"
by the fifties critical establishment ("spat at" was
more like it) in the first place.

Sometimes it seems almost like--and, again,
I am talking about what I see in non-sf writing
and book groups--that sf, which was marginalized
almost into non-existence by the Fifties critical
establishment, has in some ways become the
"50's mainstream" in retrospect. Or do I kid
myself?

Mr. Palmer
Room 314

Thomas Lindgren

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Feb 6, 2004, 5:31:25 PM2/6/04
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"palmer.william" <palmer....@sbcglobal.net> writes:

> Even so, do you not realize that it would
> be very easy to break many, or even most, posts
> to this group down in the same manner you have
> employed with David's? I have seen that sort of
> thing done so many times that, frankly, I consider
> it a stunt, maybe the next level up from typo-
> pouncing. I am not saying David's post was
> "profound," but how many profound posts do
> you get here? I would call it run-of-the-mill
> rec.arts.sf.written.

I'd call the original post needlessly irritating. A number of errors,
some provocation, a bit of abrasive low-brow opinion. Just maybe a bit
of a trawl. I don't see why that sort of posting needs defending,
whoever posted it. (So, what was the "food for thought" you saw in it,
by the way?)

A thought strikes me: maybe your main point is that rasfw normally
doesn't rise much above that level? In that case, I'll put it down to
a matter of taste.

Pete McCutchen

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Feb 6, 2004, 6:43:22 PM2/6/04
to
On Fri, 06 Feb 2004 17:31:35 GMT, "palmer.william"
<palmer....@sbcglobal.net> wrote:

>>
>> P.S. *plonk*
>
>Well, I think David has a newsgroup and he is
>trying to promote it the wrong way, by pulling
>stunts like fiddling with the newsgroup line
>to misdirect messages to his group and
>so on. That is not going to win him any
>readers, but--being fair--I have seen far more
>trivial posts in this group than his Clarke post.

I don't object if people say interesting or creative things. Or even
stupid things. However, the combination of a ridiculous claim made in
an insulting manner with his modification of the newsgroup line earned
him a plonking. The post alone would not have.

>
>One fault with this group is that certain readers
>are a bit to "cliqued up.". They tend to respond
>mainly to one another, and--worse--they confuse
>having an encyclopediac knowledge of science
>fiction with creative thinking on the topic. When
>challenged, they become very angry.

Well, I don't read every post, but it's my sense that most members of
this newsgroup enjoy vigorous disputation. Perhaps you mistake
frankly-expressed disagreement for anger.

>
>Let me put my cards on the line: I am no

>particularly interested in who can spew the
>most data: after all, most of it is in THE
>ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SCIENCE FICTION.
>What interests me more, and what I try to
>achieve in my posts here, is stirring up
>creative thinking by seeing things from a
>new angle.

Fine, go ahead.

>
>For instance, when I recently
>posted on Eric Frank Russell, I got the
>old "we've talked about him" treatment.

I don't recall your original post, or the responses to it. It did
spark a fairly long thread, I seem to recall.

>Yes, Russell has been discussed often,
>but generally when he has been discussed,
>it has looked like a competition to see can
>spew the most detail from Clute!
>
>What I tried to do was pinpoint aspects
>of SINISTER BARRIER which make that
>story (which must have seemed comfortably
>incredible to most readers when Russell
>wrote it) terrifyingly possible in view of
>what is what is known today. I thnk it is
>high time a few people in the clique here

If you want to discuss a particular topic, post on it. But you know,
I don't think that this newsgroup is particularly cliquish, as
newsgroups go. It may have a few running jokes which are
incomprehensible to a newcomer, but cliquish newsgroups tend to have
post after post of idiotic insider interchange. For example, I recall
dropping in one newsgroup in which people would routinely post
messages consisting entirely of a quotation from a prior message
followed by the word "FROG!" Not only was it incomprehensible to a
newcomer; it was stupid even once the joke was explained. Or perhaps
I should say especially once the joke was explained. Another group
which I once frequented from time to time was taken over almost
entirely by people playing an idiotic fantasy role-playing game which
was utterly irrelevant to the group's mandate.

>stop echoing data back and forth, stop
>telling one another only what they want
>to hear, and work on coming up with
>some creative thinking about written sf.

Create away, dude!

>Nothing sadder than a group filled
>with ossified intellects...

Perhaps your insights would be greeted with greater enthusiasm if you
refrained from gratuitous insults. Just a thought.
--

Pete McCutchen

Niall McAuley

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Feb 7, 2004, 3:51:36 AM2/7/04
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"palmer.william" <palmer....@sbcglobal.net> wrote in message
news:ulGUb.10020$k12....@newssvr29.news.prodigy.com...
> Mr. Palmer
> Room 314

It's a classier address than alt.stupid-ass.bill-palmer, I suppose.
--
Niall [real address ends in net, not ten.invalid]


palmer.william

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Feb 6, 2004, 11:01:22 PM2/6/04
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"Thomas Lindgren" <***********@*****.***> wrote in message
news:m3d68r4...@localhost.localdomain...

>
> "palmer.william" <palmer....@sbcglobal.net> writes:
>
> > Even so, do you not realize that it would
> > be very easy to break many, or even most, posts
> > to this group down in the same manner you have
> > employed with David's? I have seen that sort of
> > thing done so many times that, frankly, I consider
> > it a stunt, maybe the next level up from typo-
> > pouncing. I am not saying David's post was
> > "profound," but how many profound posts do
> > you get here? I would call it run-of-the-mill
> > rec.arts.sf.written.
>
> I'd call the original post needlessly irritating. A number of errors,
> some provocation, a bit of abrasive low-brow opinion. Just maybe a bit
> of a trawl. I don't see why that sort of posting needs defending,
> whoever posted it. (So, what was the "food for thought" you saw in it,
> by the way?)

Well, if you don't find indications of that in any of
my several follow-ups on this very thread, what
more can I say?


>
> A thought strikes me: maybe your main point is that rasfw normally
> doesn't rise much above that level? In that case, I'll put it down to
> a matter of taste.

My point was that sometimes people get
so comfortable in "their" groups, that they
forget about trying to make their own postings
interesting or informative or challenging or
even amusing to anyone outside their
particular clique. My threory is that if
somebody has made a couple of dozen
posts in the past couple of months that
any casual reader would see as
meaningless banter, then the poster
should not worry about trolls as much
as about his or her own post content.
I don't have anyone here in mind, but I
am just talking about a self-satisfied,
cliquy behavior that is all too common
in Usenet. It is sort of like, "*I* can post
all the banter I want to, but if someone
else wanders in here and *I* find his
post not to my liking, I'm going after
him hammer and tongs." They don't
say that outright, but their posting
behavior indicates it.

John Andrew Fairhurst

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Feb 7, 2004, 2:23:52 AM2/7/04
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In article <c00uul$bq8$1...@panix3.panix.com>, jdni...@panix.com says...

> EFR has a NESFA collection or
> two
>

And the Gollancz republications (see below :-)). A Simak in that as well.
--
John Fairhurst
In Association with Amazon worldwide:
http://www.johnsbooks.co.uk/Books/Gollancz
More Classic SF

Matt Ruff

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Feb 7, 2004, 4:05:22 AM2/7/04
to
Thomas Lindgren wrote:
>
> Really? Let's break that post down then.
>
> * ACC "wrote some hokey geeky sci-fi";
>
> * the original poster believes Philip K Dick knew some science but
> Isaac Asimov (PhD chemistry, if memory serves) was a "frustrated
> scientist-candidate";
>
> * David O'Bedlam would have given up on the genre if it wasn't for
> PKD or John Barnes;
>
> * CHILDHOOD'S END has no story, has stiff writing and has no big tits
> in it;
>
> * "What explains Science Fiction's popularity anyway? I must be missing
> something.".
>
> That's quite some food for thought, all right. Would one dare to call
> such insights profound? Inspired?

Well, I think he's right about _Childhood's End_ sucking.

-- M. Ruff

Nancy Lebovitz

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Feb 7, 2004, 7:52:38 AM2/7/04
to
In article <4024AA61...@worldnet.att.net>,

Matt Ruff <storyt...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
>
>Well, I think he's right about _Childhood's End_ sucking.

I reread it recently, and I still like it, but I was amazed that
Clarke had managed to write a novel which has appealed to a great
many people who like plots, but in which no human character makes a
decision that makes any difference and the only alien decision that
matters happens completely offstage.
--
Nancy Lebovitz na...@netaxs.com www.nancybuttons.com
Now, with bumper stickers

Using your turn signal is not "giving information to the enemy"

David O'Bedlam

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Feb 7, 2004, 12:13:35 PM2/7/04
to
In rec.arts.books Wayne Throop <thr...@sheol.org> wrote:
> : "David O'Bedlam" <thed...@shell.rawbw.com>
[...]

> : What explains Science Fiction's popularity anyway?
> : I must be missing something.

> Maybe because most people don't care what you like
> before deciding what they like?

Well, obviously. So?

> Minorly interesting troll.

Oh I see, so someone who questions your assumptions, or
even says something you don't like right away, is a troll
whose ideas can simply be discounted! What a neat-o idea!
Advertisers, credit-card companies and politicians love
people like you, dipshit.


> The silly Followup-To to try tripping up any responding
> Billygoats Gruff was lame, though.

I set the followups (at first) to my very own "vanity"
newsgroup, alt.thedavid, which actually exists -- don't
blame me that you have a defective news feed, dipshit.
Even Google Groups carries alt.thedavid!

It was simply that, at first, I presumed few people will
want to have their taste in "literary genres" questioned,
as another dipshit recent got upset enough to launch his
very own Hate Crusade because I said Miles Davis' album
"Bitches Brew" (that's "jazz", have you heard of jazz?)
really sucked, so I meant to spare people's "regular"
newsgroups another silly example of "philopolemcizing."

Let me know when you grow up enough to *think*, whether
you can manage thoughts of your own or not.

Have a shitty day!


TheDavid

Wayne Throop

unread,
Feb 7, 2004, 2:04:07 PM2/7/04
to
: "David O'Bedlam" <thed...@shell.rawbw.com>
: Oh I see, so someone who questions your assumptions, or even says

: something you don't like right away, is a troll whose ideas can simply
: be discounted!

Not at all. Someone who's every line in an initial post
is flame-bait, basically the equivalent of walking into a bar
and loudly exclaiming about the low tastes and ancestry of
the inhabitants thereof, is a troll who's ideas can simply
be discounted.

David O'Bedlam

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Feb 7, 2004, 3:22:43 PM2/7/04
to
palmer.william <palmer....@sbcglobal.net> wrote:

[...]

> Well, I think David has a newsgroup and he is
> trying to promote it the wrong way, by pulling
> stunts like fiddling with the newsgroup line
> to misdirect messages to his group and
> so on. That is not going to win him any
> readers,

As I said in <102a75v...@corp.supernews.com>,

I set the followups (at first) to my very own "vanity"

newsgroup, alt.thedavid [...]

It was simply that, at first, I presumed few people will
want to have their taste in "literary genres" questioned,
as another dipshit recent got upset enough to launch his
very own Hate Crusade because I said Miles Davis' album
"Bitches Brew" (that's "jazz", have you heard of jazz?)
really sucked, so I meant to spare people's "regular"
newsgroups another silly example of "philopolemcizing."

(Of course I meant, to typo-flame myself, `philopolemicizing.')

But, as you people find fault with me inviting people who are
interested in conversing with me about this, as well as trolls
and lamers and flamers, to my very own newsgroup -- instead of
here where such-like might bother y'all hardcore SF-heads, okay
then. So don't blame me if some loser from rec.arts.books wastes
*your* bandwidth with goofy personal flames, since I got flamed
and plonked and dismissed for trying to spare you the trouble.

Now, if y'all folks in rec.arts.sf.written want to back-track
this thread a bit in rec.arts.books, you'll find that I do in
fact have an idea or two I seriously discuss, and that there
is at least one serious person who takes this thread seriously
(and who incidentally corrects me on a point or two, and tells
someone else what I meant by comparing Clarke & Asimov to Dick
& Barnes). It might take a willingness on your parts to discuss
SF as literature, and maybe compare it to other literary genres,
but I'm pretty sure there must be at least two or three people
among y'all hard-core SF-heads who are capable of that.

C'mon, you'll live through it. I promise!


Sheesh.

D.

David O'Bedlam

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Feb 7, 2004, 3:25:09 PM2/7/04
to
In rec.arts.sf.written Wayne Throop <thr...@sheol.org> wrote:
[...]

> basically the equivalent of walking into a bar

What do you know? You can't be legally old enough to go in bars yet.


D.

anxious triffid

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Feb 7, 2004, 3:28:34 PM2/7/04
to
jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) wrote in
news:c00uul$bq8$1...@panix3.panix.com:

> In article <g4SUb.20990$5t4....@newssvr27.news.prodigy.com>,
> palmer.william <palmer....@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
>>
> >while more
>>and more readers are discovering Bester, Sturgeon,
>>Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Russel, Van Vogt, Simak,
>>etc.
>
> How?
>

Well, I was stirred to read Eric Frank Russell for the first time these
week due to the discussion of him on this very newsgroup. He is the only
one on the list I hadn't read before, and for some reason had always
dismissed him as not worth the effort. I definitely enjoyed "Next Of Kin"
AKA "The Space Willies" and have since picked up "Sinister Barrier" and
"With A Strange Device" AKA "The Mindwarpers", which are currently sitting
towards the top of the to-be-read-pile.

My source for these: second hand bookshops and charity shops.

David O'Bedlam

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Feb 7, 2004, 4:17:42 PM2/7/04
to
Thomas Lindgren <***********@*****.***> wrote:
> "palmer.william" <palmer....@sbcglobal.net> writes:

> > As I said in an earlier post, troll or no, David's post had more
> > food for thought in it than many other posts I have seen pass
> > without criticism in this group.

> Really? Let's break that post down then.

> * ACC "wrote some hokey geeky sci-fi";

Okay, maybe I should have found a better way to put that.

> * the original poster believes Philip K Dick knew some science

Didn't he? It's been a while since I read a bio: I'm a reader,
not a fan of the authors. (Though I'd love to meet Donna Tartt.)


> but Isaac Asimov (PhD chemistry, if memory serves)

Again: I do not habitually memorize biographical data on authors.
I don't need to know their lives to appreciate their work. Shoot me.

> was a "frustrated scientist-candidate";

Try this: Asimov is better known for his WRITING than his CHEMISTRY.
True or false? I simply did not know, as most people don't, that the
guy who write _I, Robot_ has a PhD in *anything*, not would I need
to know that to read and appreciate _I, Robot_ (which I quite liked
when I read it when I was 15, by the way).

Do you need to know I wear a size 10 cowboy boot to understand and
evaluate *this* post? Look up "extraneous", child.

As to what you took as a slur on Asimov, I apologize to his shade
for the incontinence of my remark, but it is true that at the fork
in the road between Chemistry and Literature he chose the latter.

Besides, as a visit to any library might show you, there's not a
lot of room for hard scientists to make a living -- but through
some inexplicable twist of pop-culture "fate" we have Anne Rice.
With enough luck, any literate idiot can be a Published Author.
(And yes, I do rate Asimov higher than Anne Rice, so relax.)


> * David O'Bedlam would have given up on the genre if it wasn't
> for PKD or John Barnes;

Right: I expressed my personal taste. I happen to prefer Dick and
Barnes to the majority of other SF authors I've read.


> * CHILDHOOD'S END has no story, has stiff writing and has
> no big tits in it;

Again, try this: _Childhood's End_ strikes me as one of those SF
books where the story serves to explicate the idea, rather than
the other way around. Contrast it with, say, _Earth Made of Glass_,
which could be just as easily set in the Mayan Yucatan in 150 AD,
except for all the hi-tech devices that make it *science* fiction.

And where in _Childhood's End_ do *you* find big tits? In the
context of the original post, I was lumping it in with "a mid-
season episode from _Star Trek: Voyager_," which caught on as
well as it did because the Borged-up chick was hugely stacked.


Do you have the same problems with my ideas reformulated thus?
You may *disagree*, but that does *not* mean I'm "only trolling."
What happed to that acronym from the Star Trek books, something
"In Diversity"? I'm sure somebody recalls it already. ("IDIC"?)

Guess what: I just offered rec.arts.sf.written some diversity.


> * "What explains Science Fiction's popularity anyway? I must
> be missing something.".

One could say the same about any genre that is not one's favorite.
And note, `I must be missing something' explicitly states my own
willingness to be shown what I'm missing.


> That's quite some food for thought, all right. Would one dare
> to call such insights profound? Inspired?

Who cares? If everyone were required to post only profound or
inspired insights to Usenet there would be several "zillion"
fewer Usenet posts -- yours I'm responding to wouldn't make it
either. How profound or inspired is it to call someone a ninny?
(Even *I* can do *that*, you ninny!)


> I do recall the "David O'Bedlam" moniker though: one of the
> desperate attention seekers on some newsgroup or newsgroups
> some years ago. Apparently he's still around.

So apparently my "desperate attention seek[ing]" of some years
ago must have worked *some* magic on you, since you remembered.

So, like, assuming we've insulted one another enough, are you
able, willing and ready (the *proper* order, cliche be damned)
to contribute to this discussion? If so, do so; if not, don't.


D.

P.S. It is true, however, that geeky chicks dig me, and some
SF fans even send me money. But that ain't why I post. Really.

P.P.S. Thank you, O fellow genius. I owe you one.

David O'Bedlam

unread,
Feb 7, 2004, 4:28:00 PM2/7/04
to
palmer.william <palmer....@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
[...]

> sophomoric tactics such as fiddling with followup lines.

Again, I "fiddled with" the followup line to be *polite*.
But as you see, I saw I was wrong, and corrected it, as
clearly politeness is not a virtue on rec.arts.sf.written.

D.

David O'Bedlam

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Feb 7, 2004, 6:06:29 PM2/7/04
to
On Sat, 7 Feb 2004, jonah thomas wrote:
> David O'Bedlam wrote:
[...]

> > The implication from Dick is that it's a Bad Thing, from Gibson that
> > it's inevitable But Can Be Used For Good, and from Barnes to Abandon
> > Hope For Hell Is Us.
>
> This is the sort of thing I meant. These are all nice comfortable
> conclusions. None of them suggest that you do anything in particular
> except find more books by those authors to enjoy. If they encouraged
> you to, say, write a letter to your state representatives urging them
> to switch to paper ballots or voting machines that use open-source
> software, that's something I'd consider an implication. It's a Bad
> Thing, Abandon Hope is MOTS.

Ah, I see. Point taken. But couldn't it be said that, say, Barnes'
Meme novels might encourage people to think that direct-to-brain
interfaces are a bad idea, especially when combined with two-way
wireless networking, and try to prevent that kind of future? Say,
by trying to convince people not to develop them, or not to buy
them if they do come out? You show them What Can Easily Go Wrong.

Kinda like Sinclair's _The Jungle_.

Brandon

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Feb 7, 2004, 7:19:57 PM2/7/04
to

Wayne Throop wrote:
>
> Not at all. Someone who's every line in an initial post
> is flame-bait, basically the equivalent of walking into a bar
> and loudly exclaiming about the low tastes and ancestry of
> the inhabitants thereof, is a troll who's ideas can simply
> be discounted.

Wayne, if you feed them they don't ever go away.

--
Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable
from malice. -- seen on Usenet, 10/22/03 (with apologies to
Arthur C. Clarke)

Thomas Lindgren

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Feb 7, 2004, 6:59:22 PM2/7/04
to

"palmer.william" <palmer....@sbcglobal.net> writes:

> "Thomas Lindgren" <***********@*****.***> wrote in message
> news:m3d68r4...@localhost.localdomain...
> >

> > I'd call the original post needlessly irritating. A number of errors,
> > some provocation, a bit of abrasive low-brow opinion. Just maybe a bit
> > of a trawl. I don't see why that sort of posting needs defending,
> > whoever posted it. (So, what was the "food for thought" you saw in it,
> > by the way?)
>
> Well, if you don't find indications of that in any of
> my several follow-ups on this very thread, what
> more can I say?

I must have missed them. Oh well.

> > A thought strikes me: maybe your main point is that rasfw normally
> > doesn't rise much above that level? In that case, I'll put it down to
> > a matter of taste.
>

...


> I am just talking about a self-satisfied,
> cliquy behavior that is all too common
> in Usenet. It is sort of like, "*I* can post
> all the banter I want to, but if someone
> else wanders in here and *I* find his
> post not to my liking, I'm going after
> him hammer and tongs." They don't
> say that outright, but their posting
> behavior indicates it.

I wouldn't say rasfw is a good example of a clique-dominated
group. There seems to be enough difference of opinion about guns,
politics, Starship Troopers, or what have you to keep the flames
merrily fed. Not only newcomers get singed, either.

Personally, I'd prefer a better quality of banter to a wider circle of
banterers, though. (As, I suppose, do you from what you wrote in a
paragraph I cut.)

BPRAL22169

unread,
Feb 7, 2004, 7:13:45 PM2/7/04
to
Anxious triffid

The best of Eric Frank Russell IMO is in a book called "The Great Explosion."
He wrote a series of comic novelets collected here about earth trying to regain
hegemony after a great diaspora hundreds of years in the past. The novelette
"And then There Were None," is the funniest of them all.

There is also a short story "Minor Ingredient" which I found very memorable --
it's in the Astounding-Analog reader (along with a host of other memorable ASF
stories from the gold and silver ages), but this is a very hard book to find.
Bill

Brandon

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Feb 7, 2004, 8:18:54 PM2/7/04
to

Thomas Lindgren wrote:
>
> I wouldn't say rasfw is a good example of a clique-dominated
> group. There seems to be enough difference of opinion about guns,
> politics, Starship Troopers,

And that's just one thread! ;)

Thomas Armagost

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Feb 7, 2004, 9:41:13 PM2/7/04
to
In message <102675c...@corp.supernews.com>,

"David O'Bedlam" <thed...@shell.rawbw.com> wrote:

> Man, I'm like 80% through this, the only Arthur C. Clarke I've read
> outside the _2001_ series, and all I can say is that this guy wrote
> some hokey geeky sci-fi. It might be true that Clarke's writing did
> improve since this was written (1953 was it?) but I'm not going to
> go re-read _2061_ just to double-check. If it weren't for a few SF
> *writers* -- writers who know some science, like Philip K. Dick and
> John Barnes -- rather than frustrated scientist-candidates like
> Clarke and Asimov, I'd've given up on this genre entirely long ago.


>
> I'm sure there's a *Point* to _Childhood's End_, one I might find
> out before the end, because there's got to be *something* to it --
> there's sure as hell very little story, and the writing's as stiff
> as the characters. It reads like a mid-season episode of "Star
> Trek: Voyager", only without the big tits and the Borg devices.

You're David O'Bedlam from talk.bizarre? I think? 80% through
Childhood's End. LOL. The irony has got to be intentional.

BTW, I like The City and the Stars better. Sir Arthur made important
contributions to science and the British war effort in World War II.
Which are accomplishments that Philip K. Dick never achieved.

> What explains Science Fiction's popularity anyway? I must be
> missing something.

Sturgeon's Law is very much in force on the Sci-Fi Channel. But
watch Fritz Lang's Metropolis, Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451, Stanley
Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange and 2001, John Carpenter's Dark Star
and They Live, Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, the original Planet of
the Apes, Soylent Green, A Boy and His Dog, Rollerball... The list
goes on. Watching SF adaptations is like playing a slot machine.
The jackpot is big, but the wait for a winner is long.

--
blog <http://www.well.com/user/silly/> new stuff soon

Bill Van

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Feb 7, 2004, 9:39:00 PM2/7/04
to
In article <silly-8FF691....@corp.supernews.com>,
Thomas Armagost <si...@well.com> wrote:

> Sir Arthur made important
> contributions to science and the British war effort in World War II.
> Which are accomplishments that Philip K. Dick never achieved.
>

Well, he was 11 years old and American ....

ville terminale

unread,
Feb 7, 2004, 9:52:11 PM2/7/04
to
"David O'Bedlam" <thed...@shell.rawbw.com> wrote in message news:<102675c...@corp.supernews.com>...

> Man, I'm like 80% through this, the only Arthur C. Clarke I've read
> outside the _2001_ series, and all I can say is that this guy wrote
> some hokey geeky sci-fi. It might be true that Clarke's writing did
> improve since this was written (1953 was it?) but I'm not going to
> go re-read _2061_ just to double-check. If it weren't for a few SF
> *writers* -- writers who know some science, like Philip K. Dick and
> John Barnes -- rather than frustrated scientist-candidates like
> Clarke and Asimov, I'd've given up on this genre entirely long ago.
>
> I'm sure there's a *Point* to _Childhood's End_, one I might find
> out before the end, because there's got to be *something* to it --
> there's sure as hell very little story, and the writing's as stiff
> as the characters. It reads like a mid-season episode of "Star Trek:
> Voyager", only without the big tits and the Borg devices.
>
> What explains Science Fiction's popularity anyway? I must be missing
> something.
>
>
> The

was this made into a movie?

Miles Bader

unread,
Feb 7, 2004, 10:19:09 PM2/7/04
to
Thomas Lindgren <***********@*****.***> writes:
> I wouldn't say rasfw is a good example of a clique-dominated
> group. There seems to be enough difference of opinion about guns,
> politics, Starship Troopers, or what have you to keep the flames
> merrily fed. Not only newcomers get singed, either.

I agree -- I only rarely post to this group, but don't feel at any
disadvantage because of that. This seems to fit my impression of
SF-type people too (generally sort of egalitarian).

If you want to see a clique-dominated newgroup, check out rec.arts.books.
[There are some genuinely insightful, well-educated, and witty people that
post there, but there are many more wannabes, and where there are
wannabes, there are cliques....]

-Miles
--
97% of everything is grunge

William December Starr

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Feb 7, 2004, 11:12:53 PM2/7/04
to
In article <102aid5...@corp.supernews.com>,

"David O'Bedlam" <thed...@shell.rawbw.com> said:

> In rec.arts.sf.written Wayne Throop <thr...@sheol.org> wrote:
> [...]
>
>> basically the equivalent of walking into a bar
>
> What do you know? You can't be legally old enough to go in bars yet.

You are very boring. Plonk.

-- William December Starr <wds...@panix.com>

David O'Bedlam

unread,
Feb 8, 2004, 1:11:14 AM2/8/04
to
On Sat, 7 Feb 2004, William December Starr wrote unto moi:

> You are very boring. Plonk.

Oh wow, that was witty. Somebody tell the poor bastard I'm truly
impressed. Really, sincerely.

I can't remember being plonked for being boring recently either.

David O'Bedlam

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Feb 8, 2004, 1:46:31 AM2/8/04
to

My sources say _The Cassini Division_ is part of a series starting
with _The Star Fraction_ (which the library doesn't have) and _The
Stone Canal_ (which they do). I requested those by their web site.


D.

J.B. Moreno

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Feb 8, 2004, 1:53:26 AM2/8/04
to
David O'Bedlam <thed...@shell.rawbw.com> wrote:

> Try this: Asimov is better known for his WRITING than his CHEMISTRY.
> True or false?

He's probably best known for his writing on chemistry...

--
JBM
"Everything is futile." -- Marvin of Borg

Michael Siemon

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Feb 8, 2004, 1:58:19 AM2/8/04
to
In article <1g8td16.ugoj4iqz5qh5N%pl...@newsreaders.com>,
pl...@newsreaders.com (J.B. Moreno) wrote:

> David O'Bedlam <thed...@shell.rawbw.com> wrote:
>
> > Try this: Asimov is better known for his WRITING than his CHEMISTRY.
> > True or false?
>
> He's probably best known for his writing on chemistry...

I seriously doubt that, though his papers on thiotimoline are
truly classic..

Mark Atwood

unread,
Feb 8, 2004, 3:48:07 AM2/8/04
to
David O'Bedlam <thed...@shell.rawbw.com> writes:
> On Sat, 7 Feb 2004, William December Starr wrote unto moi:
>
> > You are very boring. Plonk.
>
> Oh wow, that was witty. Somebody tell the poor bastard I'm truly
> impressed. Really, sincerely.
>
> I can't remember being plonked for being boring recently either.

Well, you just got plonked again for it.

Goodbye.

--
Mark Atwood | When you do things right,
m...@pobox.com | people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
http://www.pobox.com/~mra

Kater Moggin

unread,
Feb 8, 2004, 3:57:05 AM2/8/04
to
[follow-ups set]

David O'Bedlam <thed...@shell.rawbw.com>:

> It was simply that, at first, I presumed few people will
> want to have their taste in "literary genres" questioned,
> as another dipshit recent got upset enough to launch his
> very own Hate Crusade because I said Miles Davis' album
> "Bitches Brew" (that's "jazz", have you heard of jazz?)
> really sucked

To set the record straight, a fella in RAB corrected David
when he aimed some bizarre accusations at Israel, insisting
that it's a Syrian-style dictatorship for gentiles and claiming
voting rights for non-Jews exist only on paper, similar to
the situation for blacks in Mississippi ca. 1935 (an analogy he
got from his pal Jonah). When questioned, David became
hysterical, ranting and raving in dozens of posts, some of them
including comments about greedy Jews, matzoh made with the
blood of Christian kids, and not-too-sly insinuations about the
"Elders."

Around the same time, David declared "I rue the day anyone
got Miles to plug anything in," making himself into a
hypocrite, since he was also complaining about "aggrieved
little souls" who insist on only "the RIGHT KIND of Miles Davis
music!" As somebody pointed out (o.k., it was me), David
obviously has one of those "aggrieved little souls" he attacked.

Why he's bringing this up again, I dunno, but I've set the
follow-ups back where it started.

-- Moggin

to e-mail, remove the thorn

Nancy Lebovitz

unread,
Feb 8, 2004, 8:02:44 AM2/8/04
to
In article <102alfm...@corp.supernews.com>,

David O'Bedlam <thed...@shell.rawbw.com> wrote:
>Thomas Lindgren <***********@*****.***> wrote:
>
>> * the original poster believes Philip K Dick knew some science
>
>Didn't he? It's been a while since I read a bio: I'm a reader,
>not a fan of the authors. (Though I'd love to meet Donna Tartt.)
>
>> but Isaac Asimov (PhD chemistry, if memory serves)
>
>Again: I do not habitually memorize biographical data on authors.
>I don't need to know their lives to appreciate their work. Shoot me.

No, but it's nice to have some information if you talk about their
science backgrounds. By the way, Asimov is also notable for writing
huge amounts of popular science (popular in the sense of being addressed
to the general public). I'd be willing to bet a small amount of money
that Dick never did anything of the sort.

>Besides, as a visit to any library might show you, there's not a
>lot of room for hard scientists to make a living -- but through
>some inexplicable twist of pop-culture "fate" we have Anne Rice.
>With enough luck, any literate idiot can be a Published Author.
>(And yes, I do rate Asimov higher than Anne Rice, so relax.)

Huh? Very few people make money from writing fiction. Hard scientists
make their livings by getting professional salaries for doing science
at universities, companies, and governments. Their books aren't very
likely to show up at most libraries.

>> * David O'Bedlam would have given up on the genre if it wasn't
>> for PKD or John Barnes;
>
>Right: I expressed my personal taste. I happen to prefer Dick and
>Barnes to the majority of other SF authors I've read.

Interesting choices, since I don't see much that they have in common--
medium high angst levels, I suppose. Other than that, Dick is a
fundamentally chaotic writer with klutzy prose, and Barnes wants
one thing to follow logically from another and is pretty smooth.

Which Barnes books do you like most? He's written quite a variety
from the fairly gentle (_One for the Morning Glory_) to the civilized
(_Duke of Uranium_, _The Sky So Big and Black_) to the just plain nasty
(_Mother of Storms_, _Kaleidoscope_).

>Do you have the same problems with my ideas reformulated thus?
>You may *disagree*, but that does *not* mean I'm "only trolling."

I don't think you're only trolling. I think you're also trolling.

>What happed to that acronym from the Star Trek books, something
>"In Diversity"? I'm sure somebody recalls it already. ("IDIC"?)
>

David O'Bedlam

unread,
Feb 8, 2004, 11:31:56 AM2/8/04
to
On Sun, 8 Feb 2004, Mark Atwood wrote back to me:

> > I can't remember being plonked for being boring recently either.
>
> Well, you just got plonked again for it.

Oh boy! It's a plonkfest! These silly boys took time out from
bursting their zits to tell me I'm boring!

Three down, 6 million to go!


Delightedly,
The

David O'Bedlam

unread,
Feb 8, 2004, 11:43:59 AM2/8/04
to
On Sun, 8 Feb 2004, Nancy Lebovitz wrote:
> David O'Bedlam <thed...@shell.rawbw.com> wrote:

[...]

> >Again: I do not habitually memorize biographical data on authors.
> >I don't need to know their lives to appreciate their work. Shoot me.
>
> No, but it's nice to have some information if you talk about their
> science backgrounds.

I had enough information on Asimov to class him as a scientist-who-
writes rather than a writer-of-(science)-fiction. Get the idea?

> By the way, Asimov is also notable for writing huge amounts of
> popular science (popular in the sense of being addressed to the
> general public).

He also wrote thick commentaries on the Bible and Shakespeare.


> I'd be willing to bet a small amount of money that Dick never did
> anything of the sort.

Not that I know of. As I said, Dick, unlike Asmov, was not a scientist.


> >Besides, as a visit to any library might show you, there's not a
> >lot of room for hard scientists to make a living -- but through
> >some inexplicable twist of pop-culture "fate" we have Anne Rice.
> >With enough luck, any literate idiot can be a Published Author.
> >(And yes, I do rate Asimov higher than Anne Rice, so relax.)
>
> Huh? Very few people make money from writing fiction. Hard scientists
> make their livings by getting professional salaries for doing science
> at universities, companies, and governments. Their books aren't very
> likely to show up at most libraries.

The point was that it's not easy to become a scientist, but any literate
fool can write popular fiction (yes, I know what "popular" in the sense
you used it means).

[...]


> Which Barnes books do you like most? He's written quite a variety
> from the fairly gentle (_One for the Morning Glory_) to the civilized
> (_Duke of Uranium_, _The Sky So Big and Black_) to the just plain
> nasty (_Mother of Storms_, _Kaleidoscope_).

The "just plain nasty ones." Though I wonder why you called them that.


D.

Joshua P. Hill

unread,
Feb 8, 2004, 2:03:02 PM2/8/04
to
On 7 Feb 2004 18:52:11 -0800, termin...@hotmail.com (ville
terminale) wrote:

No, that was The Sentinel, which inspired 2001: A Space Odyssey.


--

Josh

To reply by email, delete "REMOVETHIS" from the address line.

jonah thomas

unread,
Feb 8, 2004, 2:06:08 PM2/8/04
to
David O'Bedlam wrote:
> On Sun, 8 Feb 2004, Nancy Lebovitz wrote:

>>Huh? Very few people make money from writing fiction. Hard scientists
>>make their livings by getting professional salaries for doing science
>>at universities, companies, and governments. Their books aren't very
>>likely to show up at most libraries.

> The point was that it's not easy to become a scientist, but any literate
> fool can write popular fiction (yes, I know what "popular" in the sense
> you used it means).

It isn't that easy to make a living writing fiction. Part of the
problem is that too many people are trying to do it, so it's a buyer's
market. Readers tend to pick authors they know they like rather than
newcomers, which makes it hard for newcomers to break into that
market. It's easiest to get published as a new writer after you have
proved that you can finish two good books a year for at least four years.

>>Which Barnes books do you like most? He's written quite a variety
>>from the fairly gentle (_One for the Morning Glory_) to the civilized
>>(_Duke of Uranium_, _The Sky So Big and Black_) to the just plain
>>nasty (_Mother of Storms_, _Kaleidoscope_).

> The "just plain nasty ones." Though I wonder why you called them that.

What would you call _Kaleidoscope Century_? I have read nastier books
but not many.

David O'Bedlam

unread,
Feb 8, 2004, 3:25:43 PM2/8/04
to
On Sun, 8 Feb 2004, jonah thomas asked me:
[...]

> What would you call _Kaleidoscope Century_?

Okay, well, I'd have to read it again to discuss it, and probably
a detailed biography of John Barnes listing all his non-literary
achievements to discuss it to the satisfaction of the plonking
zit-poppers on rec.arts.sf.written, but off-hand I'd agree that
yes, that one was "nasty" (or "yucky", for lack of better words
at the moment). It's not one of my favorite of Barnes'. It's a
bit...pointless. The ending made me want to slap him.


> I have read nastier books but not many.

But Barnes does "nasty" so well. Perhaps that's why he and Kara
ain't together anymore; if the art shows the person I'm not sure
I'd want to be married to him either.

I just found out about his "Time Raider" series -- neither the
library nor Amazon has it, and Amazon's "Marketplace" charges a
flat fee of $3.49 for standard (slow) shipping on books, even a
used $0.03 paperback. And Powell's ain't got it listed; maybe
eBay eventually... Anyway, few of those who reviewed that for
Amazon were fond of it either, which naturally makes me curious.

I don't suppose anybody would want to post a scan of "Wartide"
to alt.binaries.ebook anytime soon, eh?


--
"Dumbbells are ringing, ringing in my ears." - Blue Oyster Cult
...................................................................
(C) 2004 TheDavid^TM | David, P.O. Box 21403, Louisville, KY 40221

Nancy Lebovitz

unread,
Feb 8, 2004, 6:18:37 PM2/8/04
to
In article <2004020808...@shell.rawbw.com>,

David O'Bedlam <thed...@shell.rawbw.com> wrote:
>On Sun, 8 Feb 2004, Nancy Lebovitz wrote:

>> Which Barnes books do you like most? He's written quite a variety
>> from the fairly gentle (_One for the Morning Glory_) to the civilized
>> (_Duke of Uranium_, _The Sky So Big and Black_) to the just plain
>> nasty (_Mother of Storms_, _Kaleidoscope_).
>
>The "just plain nasty ones." Though I wonder why you called them that.

Lots of violence. IIRC, both have non-consensual s&m.

anxious triffid

unread,
Feb 8, 2004, 6:44:58 PM2/8/04
to
bpral...@aol.com (BPRAL22169) wrote in
news:20040207191345...@mb-m07.aol.com:

Thanks. I'll bear those in mind.

I think you might mean 'Prolog to Analog', rather than the 'Astounding-
Analog Reader' though, unless you are thinking of the story 'the
Waitabits'.

At some point I did have a copy of Prolog to Analog, but whether it is
still somewhere on my shelves remains to be discovered.

Emperor Norton Gojira III/I

unread,
Feb 8, 2004, 8:05:36 PM2/8/04
to
On Sat, 07 Feb 2004 21:17:42 -0000, in message
<<102alfm...@corp.supernews.com>>,
David O'Bedlam <thed...@shell.rawbw.com> spleniated...
>Thomas Lindgren <***********@*****.***> wrote:
>> "palmer.william" <palmer....@sbcglobal.net> writes:
>> > As I said in an earlier post, troll or no, David's post had more
>> > food for thought in it than many other posts I have seen pass
>> > without criticism in this group.

...shut up, Palmjob.

>> Really? Let's break that post down then.
>> * ACC "wrote some hokey geeky sci-fi";
>Okay, maybe I should have found a better way to put that.

No, you're on point there. You think Childhood's end was hokey and
geeky. That's fine.

>> * the original poster believes Philip K Dick knew some science
>Didn't he? It's been a while since I read a bio: I'm a reader,
>not a fan of the authors. (Though I'd love to meet Donna Tartt.)

No. He was a record clerk and then he wrote fiction and then
SF. Disposable SF (which turned out not so disposable). He tended to write
what is more likely to be called 'fantasy' then SF, set in SF style
enviroments. After all his big theme was reality - or is it? and what that
means to people, particularly people who have problems with their grasp on
reality...like PKD.

>> but Isaac Asimov (PhD chemistry, if memory serves)

>Again: I do not habitually memorize biographical data on authors.
>I don't need to know their lives to appreciate their work. Shoot me.

That's pretty widely known from the jacket notes.

>> was a "frustrated scientist-candidate";


>Try this: Asimov is better known for his WRITING than his CHEMISTRY.
>True or false?

Irrelevant.

>I simply did not know, as most people don't, that the
>guy who write _I, Robot_ has a PhD in *anything*, not would I need
>to know that to read and appreciate _I, Robot_ (which I quite liked
>when I read it when I was 15, by the way).

Jacket notes. Read them. Love them. Live them.

>Do you need to know I wear a size 10 cowboy boot to understand and
>evaluate *this* post? Look up "extraneous", child.

Like your ad hominem there.

>As to what you took as a slur on Asimov, I apologize to his shade
>for the incontinence of my remark, but it is true that at the fork
>in the road between Chemistry and Literature he chose the latter.

Ah. But actually, he started writing SF when he was 15, and he
went to Columbia when he was 18, and he got a Ph.D. (in chem) and wrote
SF the whole time. Stopped writing SF during WWII when he was working
in a lab, with a bunch of other SF writers. Kept up the dual career until
the 50's, I think.

The point was is that you were slamming Asimov and Clark
for being wannabe scientists, when they weren't, and holding up one
non-scientist, Barnes and (later) Gibson, a mucho non-scientist, as
examples of people who were BOTH scientists and good writers (presumably
because they were scientists). Which is exactly backwards from the truth
(about being scientists).

>Besides, as a visit to any library might show you, there's not a
>lot of room for hard scientists to make a living

Indeedy. A lot of them used to write SF, but you would probably
not like it. (Like Robert L. Forward, who (self-admittedly) turned a physics
lecture on neutron stars into a book called 'Dragon's Egg'. I happened
to like that book, even though it is about as far from 'literature' as you
can get. It was fun.)

> -- but through
>some inexplicable twist of pop-culture "fate" we have Anne Rice.

Goth, dude. 'I yam an immortal Masquerade player!'

>With enough luck, any literate idiot can be a Published Author.

With ghostwriting, any idiot, literate or otherwise can be
a Published Autuwer. See, current Democratic presidential candidates;
Clinton, Hillary; O'Reilly, Bill; etc.

>(And yes, I do rate Asimov higher than Anne Rice, so relax.)

If she'd committed suicide after the first vampyre book, everything
would have been fine.

>> * David O'Bedlam would have given up on the genre if it wasn't
>> for PKD or John Barnes;
>Right: I expressed my personal taste. I happen to prefer Dick and
>Barnes to the majority of other SF authors I've read.

Well, yes. Evidently, stories about evil mind control machines
and completely unreal reality seem highly realistic to you.
Perfectly reasonable, but not exactly a literary criticism.

>> * CHILDHOOD'S END has no story, has stiff writing and has
>> no big tits in it;
>Again, try this: _Childhood's End_ strikes me as one of those SF
>books where the story serves to explicate the idea, rather than
>the other way around.

Which was typically the case, along with many other genres. See
also, modern lit; 19th century lit.

>Contrast it with, say, _Earth Made of Glass_,
>which could be just as easily set in the Mayan Yucatan in 150 AD,
>except for all the hi-tech devices that make it *science* fiction.

Which makes the hi-tech devices irrelevant frippery. See also,
Star Trek; Star Wars; Opera, Space.

>And where in _Childhood's End_ do *you* find big tits?

>> * CHILDHOOD'S END has no story, has stiff writing and has
>> no big tits in it;
^^

>In the
>context of the original post, I was lumping it in with "a mid-
>season episode from _Star Trek: Voyager_," which caught on as
>well as it did because the Borged-up chick was hugely stacked.

Hardly complementary. Hardly true either.

>Do you have the same problems with my ideas reformulated thus?
>You may *disagree*, but that does *not* mean I'm "only trolling."

>What happed to that acronym from the Star Trek books, something
>"In Diversity"? I'm sure somebody recalls it already. ("IDIC"?)

Your political talents remained unsurpassed.

>Guess what: I just offered rec.arts.sf.written some diversity.
>> * "What explains Science Fiction's popularity anyway? I must
>> be missing something.".
>One could say the same about any genre that is not one's favorite.
>And note, `I must be missing something' explicitly states my own
>willingness to be shown what I'm missing.

Fair enough.

>> That's quite some food for thought, all right. Would one dare
>> to call such insights profound? Inspired?
>Who cares? If everyone were required to post only profound or
>inspired insights to Usenet there would be several "zillion"
>fewer Usenet posts -- yours I'm responding to wouldn't make it
>either. How profound or inspired is it to call someone a ninny?
>(Even *I* can do *that*, you ninny!)

How inspiring!

>> I do recall the "David O'Bedlam" moniker though: one of the
>> desperate attention seekers on some newsgroup or newsgroups
>> some years ago. Apparently he's still around.
>So apparently my "desperate attention seek[ing]" of some years
>ago must have worked *some* magic on you, since you remembered.

Black Magic Disability.

>So, like, assuming we've insulted one another enough, are you
>able, willing and ready (the *proper* order, cliche be damned)
>to contribute to this discussion? If so, do so; if not, don't.

It's all very silly.

>P.S. It is true, however, that geeky chicks dig me, and some
>SF fans even send me money. But that ain't why I post. Really.

The question is, is can people pay you not to post? You haven't
worked this angle hard enough.

>P.P.S. Thank you, O fellow genius. I owe you one.

ash
['Fifty bucks and your newsgroup won't suffer any untimely accidents.']

--
"We shoulda drank th' cognac an' walked to git gas."
_________________________________________________________________
Give me Liberty or give me a nice house in France from whence I
can hunt some Liberty down. Or you can eat lead. Get off my wave.
Two|Riven against a Black Sun|six|...that which we are we are|One

Emperor Norton Gojira III/I

unread,
Feb 8, 2004, 8:08:59 PM2/8/04
to
On Sun, 08 Feb 2004 08:48:07 GMT, in message <<m3r7x6d...@marka.linux.digeo.com>>, Mark Atwood <m...@pobox.com> spleniated...

>Well, you just got plonked again for it.
>Goodbye.

That's so early 90's!

ash
['I feel all nostalgic now!']

Steve Hayes

unread,
Feb 8, 2004, 9:22:28 PM2/8/04
to
On 7 Feb 2004 23:12:53 -0500, wds...@panix.com (William December Starr)
wrote:

>In article <102aid5...@corp.supernews.com>,
>"David O'Bedlam" <thed...@shell.rawbw.com> said:
>
>> In rec.arts.sf.written Wayne Throop <thr...@sheol.org> wrote:
>> [...]
>>
>>> basically the equivalent of walking into a bar
>>
>> What do you know? You can't be legally old enough to go in bars yet.
>
>You are very boring. Plonk.

Wow!

A sudden rash of people I've never heard of nefore all saying "plonk".

I presume they drink the stuff behind the toolshed if they're too young to go
into bars.


--
Steve Hayes
E-mail: haye...@hotmail.com
Web: http://www.geocities.com/hayesstw/stevesig.htm
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/books.htm

Leonard F. Wheat

unread,
Feb 8, 2004, 9:43:34 PM2/8/04
to
"palmer.william" <palmer....@sbcglobal.net> wrote in message news:<ulGUb.10020$k12....@newssvr29.news.prodigy.com>...
> "David O'Bedlam" <thed...@shell.rawbw.com> wrote in message
> news:102675c...@corp.supernews.com...

> >
> > Man, I'm like 80% through this, the only Arthur C. Clarke I've read
> > outside the _2001_ series, and all I can say is that this guy wrote
> > some hokey geeky sci-fi. It might be true that Clarke's writing did
> > improve since this was written (1953 was it?) but I'm not going to
> > go re-read _2061_ just to double-check. If it weren't for a few SF
> > *writers* -- writers who know some science, like Philip K. Dick and
> > John Barnes -- rather than frustrated scientist-candidates like
> > Clarke and Asimov, I'd've given up on this genre entirely long ago.
> >
> > I'm sure there's a *Point* to _Childhood's End_, one I might find
> > out before the end, because there's got to be *something* to it --
> > there's sure as hell very little story, and the writing's as stiff
> > as the characters. It reads like a mid-season episode of "Star Trek:
> > Voyager", only without the big tits and the Borg devices.
>
> > What explains Science Fiction's popularity anyway? I must be missing
> > something.
>
> You are. There are many science fiction novels
> from the Fifties which hold up far better than
> Clarke's famous story. Try Theodore Sturgeon's
> THE DREAMING JEWELS; Alfred Bester's
> THE STARS MY DESTINATION and THE
> DEMOLISHED MAN; Algis Budrys'
> ROGUE MOON; Clifford Simak's TIME
> IS THE SIMPLEST THING; and Brian
> Aldiss' STARSHIP (NON-STOP in the British
> edition) for instance. All of them hold up
> far better than CHILDHOOD'S END, and,
> at least for my money, so does Van Vogt's
> SLAN, which was actually written in Forties.

Of the books you name, I've read only the last two. But I certainly
agree with what you say about SLAN vis-a-vis CHILDHOOD'S END (a boring
tale).

I recently reread SLAN, which I first read more than 50 years ago.
Though basically pulp fiction, and though silly at its core, it has
redeeming qualities that deserve recognition. One is that it is a
rollicking good adventure story, thoroughly entertaining - something
you can't say about most of the science-oriented science fiction. A
second redeeming quality is van Voght's effective substitution of
imagination for science. The author adeptly exploits the idea of a
human subspecies' evolving into a being with telekinetic powers.

But the thing I found most intriguing was van Voght's use of
symbolism. On the copyright page was this interesting blurb: "This is
a work of fiction. All the
characters and events portrayed in this novel are either fictitious OR
ARE USED FICTITIOUSLY." That amounts to an acknowledgment that the
novel has characters based on people who are real but are used
fictitiously. I
decided to be alert.

The protagonist is John "Jommy" Cross, a slan (mutant) who is 9 years
old at the start and 15 at the end (but with an IQ of perhaps 500).
The leader of the humans, but secretly also the leader of the hunted
slans, is Kier Gray. Gray presides over a council. In chapter 3 we
learn that the council has factions of 3 + 4 + 3 + 2 = 12 members, but
I didn't initially pick this up. Then, in chapter 8, a situation
arises where 7 council members are present and 5 are away "in the far
corners of the world." 7 + 5 = 12. This time I made the connection:
Jesus's 12 apostles.

This deduction relies on more than the number 12 and van Vogt's
acknowledgement that his novel has some characters based on real
people. One of the "apostles" is a traitor who, early in the novel,
betrays Keir Gray and tries to have him killed. Now the pieces start
to fall in
place. One of the twelve betrays their leader. The betrayer
represents Judas. Confirmation comes from his name: John Petty. The
initials JP suggest the popular epithet "Judas Priest!" And, though
this next interpretation is more of a stretch, "Petty" suggests the
petty
integrity of a betrayer.

One other consideration supports the 12-apostles interpretation.
Symbolism generally, though not invariably, involves subtlety.
Authors and auteurs using symbols don't try to whack you with a 2 x 4;
they challenge you to grasp and analyze hidden or disguised details.
Correspondingly, van Vogt doesn't refer to "twelve councilors." He
instead mentions three who think this, four who think that, three who
think something else, and two who are enigmas. You have to notice
that these numbers add up to twelve . . . and then make the
connection.

If we have the 12 apostles, including Judas, then Jesus should be
around somewhere. From a strictly logical standpoint, Jesus should be
the leader of the apostles, Keir Gray. But van Vogt isn't entirely
consistent in his symbolism. I suspected that John (Jommy) Cross, as
the main character, was the Jesus character. If JP stands for
something (Judas Priest), maybe John Cross has meaningful initials
too. The initials are familiar: JC. We can choose between Junior
College, J. C. Dithers, and Jesus Christ. When we focus on the name
Cross, the choice is easy. Jesus Christ, JC, died on The Cross.

Keir Gray's role places him above Jommy in authority. Despite the
logic saying that the leader of the apostles should be Jesus, the rest
of the plot makes it clear that Keir Gray is the most powerful figure
in the universe. Gray, in other words, seems to be based on God.
Neither the name Keir nor the name Gray seems to have any association
with God, but the initials KG just might. K could stand for King and
G for God. "King" is a title often given to God. For example, in the
song "America" (American words sung to the tune of "God Save the
Queen"), the last line is "Protect us with all thy might, great God
our King." Another hymn has the words "King of Kings, and Lord of
Lords." I should add that, if Keir Gray IS based on God, we don't
have a fictional character based on a real one; we have one fictional
character based on another.

Gray has a ward, a slan girl named Kathleen Layton. She his
daughter, but nobody (not even Kathleen) knows this. At a certain
point in the plot, Keir Gray can no longer protect her from the
villainous John Petty. So he arranges to put her in a situation where
she will be killed. After she dies, he secretly retrieves her body
and uses super-advanced slan technology (hidden in secret rooms in
Gray's palace) to bring her back to life. The Resurrection! One
could argue, of course, that her being resurrected makes her the
Christ symbol. But that interpretation is overwhelmed by four
counterarguments: (1) JC = Jesus Christ, (2) Cross = crucified on the
Cross, (3) Jommy Cross is the main character in the novel, as is Jesus
in Christianity, and (4) Kathleen is a female. My conclusion is that
Kathleen Layton does not symbolize a PERSON. Instead, she symbolizes
an EVENT from Christian mythology - the Resurrection.

I can't make anything from the name Kathleen Layton, but perhaps
someone else in the AMK forum can. Conceivably van Vogt intended that
the initials KL stand for Killed-Living = Crucified-Resurrected, but
that really isn't convincing.

The slans have evolved from humans. Christianity evolved from
Judaism. Arguably, then, the slans represent Christians.

The novel has another important character, a human woman named Joanna
Hillory. She is at first an enemy of Jommy but later decides to help
him. Neither her role in the novel nor her name suggests that her
character is based on a real person. Conceivably, though, she more
abstractly represents a generic convert to Christianity. Or she could
(despite being of the wrong sex) more specifically represent Paul of
Tarsus (St. Paul), who began as an opponent of Christianity but, after
a vision on the road to Damascus, became Christianity's leading
proselytizer. If anyone else has a better idea, I'd like to hear it.

I'm not suggesting that SLAN is an allegory, a surface story that
tells a hidden story. The plot has several features that are
inconsistent with a retelling of Christianity's story. For example,
11 of the 12 original council members (all but Petty) die an early
death, which is not what happened with the 12 apostles. God (Keir
Gray) rather than Jesus (Jommy Cross) as the leader of the apostles
(the council) is another example. Jommy's mother's name is Patricia;
if this were allegory it would probably be Mary (or is that too much
like hitting the reader with a 2 x 4?). But SLAN does display what is
called "allegorical tendency," or occasional allusion to an antecedent
work or idea. In this instance, the antecedent is an idea,
Christianity.

So, SLAN is not an allegory. But it does contain symbolism, symbolism
whose presence van Voght himself acknowledges. I'd be interested in
hearing comments from anyone who has read SLAN and has picked up any
Christianity-related association I may have missed. The names Keir
Gray, Kathleen Layton, and Joanna Hillory deserve particular
attention.

Meanwhile, my point is that SLAN's clever symbolism is one of several
things that elevates it above the level of routine pulp fiction.


[snip]

David O'Bedlam

unread,
Feb 8, 2004, 10:12:39 PM2/8/04
to
On Sun, 8 Feb 2004, it was written:

> David O'Bedlam <thed...@shell.rawbw.com> spleniated...
> >Thomas Lindgren <***********@*****.***> wrote:

> >> but Isaac Asimov (PhD chemistry, if memory serves)

> >Again: I do not habitually memorize biographical data on authors.
> >I don't need to know their lives to appreciate their work. Shoot me.
>
> That's pretty widely known from the jacket notes.

Okay, I don't fucking memorize the jacket notes either. I don't care
how many degrees in what the writer has; I care if s/he writes well.

In my opinion Asimov wrote better non-fiction, and Clarke probably
wrote really nifty chemistry papers. Good ideas, but ungood writing.
"Ars gratia artis," y'know.

On the other hand, Dick wrote like someone who was a bit off, and,
as I hinted to him, I think Barnes really does have problems too.
Brilliant guys, but ... off.

(Whereas I'll bet Asimov and Clarke were so sane and rational.)


[...]

The point was is that you were slamming Asimov and Clark
> for being wannabe scientists, when they weren't,

That's not what they're KNOWN for. And screw jacket notes; as I said
before, I'm a *reader*, not a Fan. I don't care *who* the author is,
except as someone who writes stories I like more often than not.


> and holding up one non-scientist, Barnes and (later) Gibson, a mucho
> non-scientist, as examples of people who were BOTH scientists and good
> writers (presumably because they were scientists).

Actually, no, go back and re-read my original post: I was holding Dick
and Barnes up as *writers* who knew *some* science -- and maybe *faked*
lots more. Like I said, I emphasize the *fiction*, not the science. As
if I'd know much about the science stuff anyway.

I'm used to people not liking what I say, but I hate it when people jump
in my shit for what they *think* I said. There's a difference. I do say
enough mean or stupid shit, nobody's got to squint too hard.

And yes, "evil mind-control machines" seem more or less realistic to me.
I've got these *fillings* in my teeth see, that....Never mind.

And most fiction, of any kind by anyone, is crap; the harder it tries to
*Make A Point*, whatever the *Point* is, the likelier it is to be crappy.

Actually, come to think of it, my favorite writers are the "*writerly*
writers" as we called 'em in my youth, whose main point seems to be to
show off how well they write. It doesn't have to be *about* anything,
or if it is that seems accidental. The other stuff is some species of
propaganda: I prefer my preaching straight-up, thank you.

See? Like that.


D.

Justin Bacon

unread,
Feb 9, 2004, 1:14:54 AM2/9/04
to
haye...@hotmail.com (Steve Hayes) wrote in message news:<4026838c...@news.saix.net>...

> On 7 Feb 2004 23:12:53 -0500, wds...@panix.com (William December Starr)
> wrote:
>
> >In article <102aid5...@corp.supernews.com>,
> >"David O'Bedlam" <thed...@shell.rawbw.com> said:
> >
> >> In rec.arts.sf.written Wayne Throop <thr...@sheol.org> wrote:
> >> [...]
> >>
> >>> basically the equivalent of walking into a bar
> >>
> >> What do you know? You can't be legally old enough to go in bars yet.
> >
> >You are very boring. Plonk.
>
> Wow!
>
> A sudden rash of people I've never heard of nefore all saying "plonk".

You get that when trolls crosspost to bizarre newsgroups. I'm
hard-pressed to think of *any* post which needs to be simultaneously
sent to rec.arts.books, rec.arts.sf.written, and alt.angst.

Justin Bacon
tria...@aol.com