SF Predictions that ain't funny anymore

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Nyrath the nearly wise

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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As a tribute to far-sighted SF writers, I've noticed a couple of
stories that were pretty funny when they came out,
but which are not funny anymore. The writers had more foresight
than we gave them credit for.

Two examples:

"The Price of Peril" by Robert Sheckly (1959)
In this story, we are shown a live-action audience participation show.
For $10,000 , the contestant has to survive for an entire week,
while being hunted by armed killers, and while being constantly
followed by TV camera crews. If the contestant lives, they get
the money. "Good Samaritans" can phone into the show with helpful
info and get their name mentioned on the air.

This was pretty silly in 1959. After watching "Survivor" on TV,
it isn't quite so funny anymore.

"The Marching Morons" by C.M. Kornbluth (1951)
In this story, we see the result of generations of humanity's
breeding habits: the intelligent people have no or one child
per family, the unintelligent people have six or more.
The end result is a world where the average IQ is 45.
The small amount of people with IQs of around 100 are desperately
trying to run a world full of billions of morons.
Lots of bread and circuses, with games shows in which
contestants compete, seeing who can be the first to put the
triangle shape in the triangle hole, and the square into the
square hole. Mindless TV entertainment, and advertisements
with heavy sexual inuendos.

This was pretty silly in 1951.
I personally don't find it quite so funny anymore.

-----------------

Does anybody have any other examples of stories with unusually
accurate foresight?

Nancy Lebovitz

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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In article <395DEE0C...@clark.net>,

Nyrath the nearly wise <nyr...@clark.net> wrote:
>As a tribute to far-sighted SF writers, I've noticed a couple of
>stories that were pretty funny when they came out,
>but which are not funny anymore. The writers had more foresight
>than we gave them credit for.
>
>"The Marching Morons" by C.M. Kornbluth (1951)
>In this story, we see the result of generations of humanity's
>breeding habits: the intelligent people have no or one child
>per family, the unintelligent people have six or more.
>The end result is a world where the average IQ is 45.
>The small amount of people with IQs of around 100 are desperately

No--the minority were super-geniuses.

>trying to run a world full of billions of morons.
>Lots of bread and circuses, with games shows in which
>contestants compete, seeing who can be the first to put the
>triangle shape in the triangle hole, and the square into the
>square hole. Mindless TV entertainment, and advertisements
>with heavy sexual inuendos.
>
>This was pretty silly in 1951.
>I personally don't find it quite so funny anymore.
>

The average ability to do IQ tests is going *up*. This is called the
Flynn Effect--no one is sure what's causing it or what it means.
--
Nancy Lebovitz na...@netaxs.com www.nancybuttons.com

The calligraphic button website is up!

mike stone

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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>From: na...@unix3.netaxs.com (Nancy Lebovitz)

>The average ability to do IQ tests is going *up*. This is called the
>Flynn Effect--no one is sure what's causing it or what it means.

Are they the *same* tests as in 1951 ?
--
Mike Stone - Peterborough England

"The English people are like the English beer.

Froth on top, dregs at the bottom, the middle excellent" - Voltaire

mike stone

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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>From: Nyrath the nearly wise nyr...@clark.net

>As a tribute to far-sighted SF writers, I've noticed a couple of
>stories that were pretty funny when they came out,
>but which are not funny anymore. The writers had more foresight
>than we gave them credit for.

Can this perhaps be said about a whole category of SF?

When I was young, there seemed to be a lot of stories in which the hero,
getting into danger, would flee into the slum quarter behind the spaceport,
perhaps being assisted by a Thieves Guild or Beggars Union or the like.

By the late 1960s, the sophisticates were mocking this stuff. The idea of a
high-tech, Galaxy-spanning civilisation, still having slums and beggars -
ridiculous! Yet by the 1980s, this was not to far from what was actually
happening. High technology on the one hand, old-fashioned squalor on the other
- often within a few hundred yards of each other. It is as if the *bad* sf has
come nearer to fulfilment than the good

Martha H Adams

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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Among such foresighted stories, I'd think of Fred Pohl, Gravy Planet.

Cheers -- Martha Adams

Martha H Adams

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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People finding things in the slums, in sf stories, embodies a well-known
origin of social change. Change and development does not happen in middle
and upper society -- people there are too locked-in and unwilling to change.
It originates in the *fringes*. For instance, follow the change over the
past thirty years in the acceptability by mass media of science fiction.

For a *real* slum, a Victorian slum, read Jack London, The People of the
Abyss. Maybe the most interesting part of this is his description early in
the book of how he made preparations to venture into some English slums.
Namely: he went to an English supplier of travel supplies. This supplier
knew much more about Africa than about the slum a few blocks down the
street.

Cheers -- Martha Adams

Chuck Bridgeland

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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On Sat, 01 Jul 2000 09:11:40 -0400, Nyrath the nearly wise
<nyr...@clark.net> wrote:

>As a tribute to far-sighted SF writers, I've noticed a couple of
>stories that were pretty funny when they came out,
>but which are not funny anymore. The writers had more foresight
>than we gave them credit for.
>

>Two examples:
>
>"The Price of Peril" by Robert Sheckly (1959)
>In this story, we are shown a live-action audience participation show.
>For $10,000 , the contestant has to survive for an entire week,
>while being hunted by armed killers, and while being constantly
>followed by TV camera crews. If the contestant lives, they get
>the money. "Good Samaritans" can phone into the show with helpful
>info and get their name mentioned on the air.
>
>This was pretty silly in 1959. After watching "Survivor" on TV,
>it isn't quite so funny anymore.

There's an old story I recall, by Fritz Leiber I think. It opens with an
Englishman new to New York City. One of the first things he witnesses is an
old woman being run down by some thugs in a car. When she realizes what's
happening and that she has no hope of surviving she pulls a pistol from her
purse and shoots at them until she's run down. Tell me that's science
fiction now.

--
The Beast of the Apocalypse could be stamping 666 on everybody's
foreheads and beheading the faithful and the American news media would
tell us that we the people just want to "get on with our lives."
Chuck Bridgeland, chuckbri@mwci-dot-net
http://users.mwci.net/~chuckbri/PGPKEYS.TXT

Lucy Kemnitzer

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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On 01 Jul 2000 14:04:37 GMT, mws...@aol.com (mike stone) wrote:

>>From: na...@unix3.netaxs.com (Nancy Lebovitz)
>
>>The average ability to do IQ tests is going *up*. This is called the
>>Flynn Effect--no one is sure what's causing it or what it means.
>
>Are they the *same* tests as in 1951 ?

No, they're equivalent. They have to change them because nobody
ever sees blocks of ice delivered by a man with tongs anymore, and
that kind of thing. They try to make them more purely cognitive
and less culture-bound, though that's a difficult thing. I
personally think the scores are going up because of the
globalisation of culture -- more people are more clued in to the
particular sorts of thinking tested by the tests -- but I've seen
arguments denying that this could be the case.

The college entry tests in the US are considerably harder than
they used to be: they have to be, because the test has to be
normed so that the curve is shaped the same all the time.
Whenever you hear "test scores have gone down" it's because the
test has been recently redone, and whenever you hear "test scores
are going up" it's because the kids have caught on to the new
test.

Lucy Kemnitzer

Anne M. Marble

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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Lucy Kemnitzer <rit...@cruzio.com> wrote:
> On 01 Jul 2000 14:04:37 GMT, mws...@aol.com (mike stone) wrote:
>
> >>From: na...@unix3.netaxs.com (Nancy Lebovitz)
> >
> >>The average ability to do IQ tests is going *up*. This is called
the
> >>Flynn Effect--no one is sure what's causing it or what it means.
> >
> >Are they the *same* tests as in 1951 ?
>
> No, they're equivalent. They have to change them because nobody
> ever sees blocks of ice delivered by a man with tongs anymore, and
> that kind of thing.

Intelligence is hard to measure. It's easy see a lot of people doing
stupid things and decide that society is getting dumber. But there are
a lot of factors. First, we're more likely to hear about people doing
stupid things than we are to hear about them doing dumb things. (Who
would buy a book called "America's Smartest Crooks"? Or even "Crooks
with Above Average Intelligence"?) Second, how do you measure
intelligence? Not everybody excels at the same thing. A lot of people
judge others because they are dumb about some things, without
realizing that they excel in other areas. I know some _brilliant_
people who can't spell their way out of a "payper bagg" ;-> and who
couldn't write a grammatical sentence if you held a gun to their
heads.

It's hard to measure intelligence now, but we truly stunk at measuring
intelligence in the past. I saw excerpts from some old intelligence
tests -- decades old tests. I'm not sure if these were IQ tests or
something else. Anyway, they were really scary. One of the questions
showed a picture of a slender young woman and a plain (OK, homely)
older woman and asked, "Which woman is pretty?" Now what does _that_
have to do with intelligence? That's a very subjective question. What
if the kid taking the tests liked homeley older women? A lot of
younger kids might pick the older woman if she reminded them of their
mother or grandmother.

When you hear about people flunking intelligence tests in the past,
remember that those tests were biased. So were the doctors who were
called on to make decisions. Especially if the individual being tested
was poor. This isn't political correctness -- it's a fact. There was a
famous case where the court declared that a poor young woman was
mentally incompetent, and they sterilized her. Yet years later, when
historians found her school records, they realized that this woman was
an above-average student!

Reverend Sean O'Hara

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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Nyrath the nearly wise wrote:
>
> "The Marching Morons" by C.M. Kornbluth (1951)
> In this story, we see the result of generations of humanity's
> breeding habits: the intelligent people have no or one child
> per family, the unintelligent people have six or more.
> The end result is a world where the average IQ is 45.

Isn't that technically impossible? I thought IQ tests were designed
so that 100 was always average.

> The small amount of people with IQs of around 100 are desperately

> trying to run a world full of billions of morons.
> Lots of bread and circuses, with games shows in which
> contestants compete, seeing who can be the first to put the
> triangle shape in the triangle hole, and the square into the
> square hole. Mindless TV entertainment, and advertisements
> with heavy sexual inuendos.
>
> This was pretty silly in 1951.
> I personally don't find it quite so funny anymore.
>

He forgot to include people who are sterile being given fertility
treatments so that they not only make one contribution to the gene
pool, but six or seven, all at once.

--
Reverend Sean O'Hara
You two can be an ordained minister: http://www.ulc.org/ulc
Staff Writer for EXPULSION: http://www.expulsion.org
"I am amazed that Time Warner with a huge cash flow and really
wonderful assets should swap 55 percent of them for 45 percent
of a 22 to 25 million-strong Internet service provider with only
significant presence in the United States. We are certainly not
frightened of that merger."

Infozombie

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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ama...@abs.net said...

> Lucy Kemnitzer <rit...@cruzio.com> wrote:
> > On 01 Jul 2000 14:04:37 GMT, mws...@aol.com (mike stone) wrote:
> >
> > >>From: na...@unix3.netaxs.com (Nancy Lebovitz)
> > >
> > >>The average ability to do IQ tests is going *up*. This is called
> the
> > >>Flynn Effect--no one is sure what's causing it or what it means.
> > >
> > >Are they the *same* tests as in 1951 ?
> >
> > No, they're equivalent. They have to change them because nobody
> > ever sees blocks of ice delivered by a man with tongs anymore, and
> > that kind of thing.
>
> Intelligence is hard to measure. It's easy see a lot of people doing
> stupid things and decide that society is getting dumber. But there are

Snip stuff about intelligence tests and their validity.

ObNonfiction _The Mismeasure of Man_ by Stephen J. Gould. It's an
interesting and sometimes appalling history of intelligence testing.

--
Lisa

Infozombie

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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nyr...@clark.net said...

> As a tribute to far-sighted SF writers, I've noticed a couple of
> stories that were pretty funny when they came out,
> but which are not funny anymore. The writers had more foresight
> than we gave them credit for.
>
> Two examples:
>
> "The Price of Peril" by Robert Sheckly (1959)
> In this story, we are shown a live-action audience participation show.
> For $10,000 , the contestant has to survive for an entire week,
> while being hunted by armed killers, and while being constantly
> followed by TV camera crews. If the contestant lives, they get
> the money. "Good Samaritans" can phone into the show with helpful
> info and get their name mentioned on the air.
>
> This was pretty silly in 1959. After watching "Survivor" on TV,
> it isn't quite so funny anymore.
>
> "The Marching Morons" by C.M. Kornbluth (1951)
> In this story, we see the result of generations of humanity's
> breeding habits: the intelligent people have no or one child
> per family, the unintelligent people have six or more.
> The end result is a world where the average IQ is 45.
> The small amount of people with IQs of around 100 are desperately
> trying to run a world full of billions of morons.
> Lots of bread and circuses, with games shows in which
> contestants compete, seeing who can be the first to put the
> triangle shape in the triangle hole, and the square into the
> square hole. Mindless TV entertainment, and advertisements
> with heavy sexual inuendos.
>
> This was pretty silly in 1951.
> I personally don't find it quite so funny anymore.
>
> -----------------
>
> Does anybody have any other examples of stories with unusually
> accurate foresight?
>

At the American Library Association conference in New Orleans last
year, there was a fascinating panel discussion called something like
"Reading Science Fiction to Predict Technological Change" The
panelists were Orson Scott Card, Vernor Vinge, and someone else who
escapes me at the moment. The whole session was taped, and the tapes
could be purchased afterward. Certainly ALA members could still get
hold of a copy, but it is also possible that one could get the tape
through interlibrary loan by visiting one's local library. It was a
riveting discussion which anyone who reads this newsgroup would have
enjoyed.

Some of the obvious examples of SFnal foresight were travel to the
moon and the internet, but various medical advances were also
discussed, and IIRC palm computers were half-seriously compared to
tricorders. Sorry I can't remember any others at the moment.

--
Lisa

Lawrence Person

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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In article <Fx0x9...@world.std.com>, m...@world.std.com (Martha H Adams) wrote:

> People finding things in the slums, in sf stories, embodies a well-known
> origin of social change. Change and development does not happen in middle
> and upper society -- people there are too locked-in and unwilling to change.


Yes, well that would explain why no one in the middle and upper classes
has adopted any new technology in the last fifty years, wouldn't it?

--
Lawrence Person
lawrenc...@jump.net
Lame Excuse Books Now Online at: http://www.abebooks.com
Nova Express Website: http://www.delphi.com/sflit/novaexpress/

Lawrence Person

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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In article <slrn8lr8po....@kosh.bridgeland.org>, chuc...@mwci.net
(Chuck Bridgeland) wrote:

> There's an old story I recall, by Fritz Leiber I think. It opens with an
> Englishman new to New York City. One of the first things he witnesses is an
> old woman being run down by some thugs in a car. When she realizes what's
> happening and that she has no hope of surviving she pulls a pistol from her
> purse and shoots at them until she's run down. Tell me that's science
> fiction now.

"X-Marks the Pedwalk." Part of a ritualized, ongoing "Feet vs. Wheels"
class war. And yes, still SF now, since the average gangbanger has access
to a car and is more likely to shoot his competitors than old ladies...

Nancy Lebovitz

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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In article <HLp75.84$l5.1...@news.abs.net>,

Anne M. Marble <ama...@abs.net> wrote:
>Lucy Kemnitzer <rit...@cruzio.com> wrote:
>> On 01 Jul 2000 14:04:37 GMT, mws...@aol.com (mike stone) wrote:
>>
>> >>From: na...@unix3.netaxs.com (Nancy Lebovitz)
>> >
>> >>The average ability to do IQ tests is going *up*. This is called
>the
>> >>Flynn Effect--no one is sure what's causing it or what it means.
>> >
>> >Are they the *same* tests as in 1951 ?
>>
>> No, they're equivalent. They have to change them because nobody
>> ever sees blocks of ice delivered by a man with tongs anymore, and
>> that kind of thing.
>
>Intelligence is hard to measure. It's easy see a lot of people doing

Note that I phrased my point rather carefully.

>stupid things and decide that society is getting dumber. But there are

>a lot of factors. First, we're more likely to hear about people doing
>stupid things than we are to hear about them doing dumb things. (Who
>would buy a book called "America's Smartest Crooks"? Or even "Crooks

I think a lot of people would. The problem is that the smartest crooks
don't get caught.

>with Above Average Intelligence"?) Second, how do you measure
>intelligence? Not everybody excels at the same thing. A lot of people
>judge others because they are dumb about some things, without
>realizing that they excel in other areas. I know some _brilliant_
>people who can't spell their way out of a "payper bagg" ;-> and who
>couldn't write a grammatical sentence if you held a gun to their
>heads.
>

And if you examine a lot of complaints about "stupid people", they're
actually complaints about public spaciness--not the sort of thing
that gets measured by IQ tests.

Nancy Lebovitz

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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In article <395e14f7...@enews.newsguy.com>,

Lucy Kemnitzer <rit...@cruzio.com> wrote:
>On 01 Jul 2000 14:04:37 GMT, mws...@aol.com (mike stone) wrote:
>
>>>From: na...@unix3.netaxs.com (Nancy Lebovitz)
>>
>>>The average ability to do IQ tests is going *up*. This is called the
>>>Flynn Effect--no one is sure what's causing it or what it means.
>>
>>Are they the *same* tests as in 1951 ?
>
>No, they're equivalent. They have to change them because nobody
>ever sees blocks of ice delivered by a man with tongs anymore, and
>that kind of thing. They try to make them more purely cognitive
>and less culture-bound, though that's a difficult thing. I
>personally think the scores are going up because of the
>globalisation of culture -- more people are more clued in to the
>particular sorts of thinking tested by the tests -- but I've seen
>arguments denying that this could be the case.
>
I've seen an argument that most of the improvement is in the
visual part of the test, and it's a result of kids growing
up in a more visually complex environment. I'm merely reporting
this--I don't know if the premise is true, let alone the conclusion.

Other possibilities: Better nutrition? Especially if, as I've heard,
it can take generations for the effects of malnutrition to go away.

Less exposure to lead?

Mark Atwood

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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na...@unix3.netaxs.com (Nancy Lebovitz) writes:
>
> Other possibilities: Better nutrition? Especially if, as I've heard,
> it can take generations for the effects of malnutrition to go away.

It may take generations, but I would bet that "other effects" swamp
anything happening in the 2nd G and beyond.

I am told by people who are watching the "first generation" effect in
some parts of South America that the different between the kids and
their parents, for size and smarts, is eye-popping.

--
Mark Atwood | It is the hardest thing for intellectuals to understand, that
m...@pobox.com | just because they haven't thought of something, somebody else
| might. <http://www.friesian.com/rifkin.htm>
http://www.pobox.com/~mra

Estraven

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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Anne M. Marble <ama...@abs.net> wrote in message
news:HLp75.84$l5.1...@news.abs.net...
<snip>

> (Who
> would buy a book called "America's Smartest Crooks"? Or even "Crooks
> with Above Average Intelligence"?)

Well, I would. It would be interesting to see their methods, for one
thing.

Estraven

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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Nyrath the nearly wise <nyr...@clark.net> wrote in message
news:395DEE0C...@clark.net...

> As a tribute to far-sighted SF writers, I've noticed a couple of
> stories that were pretty funny when they came out,
> but which are not funny anymore. The writers had more foresight
> than we gave them credit for.
<snip examples>

Vonnegut's _Harrison Bergeron_ (1961).

I'm not sure if it counts, since, being a Vonnegut story, it's funny
despite not being funny at all.

Kyri

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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Nyrath the nearly wise <nyr...@clark.net> wrote:
>As a tribute to far-sighted SF writers, I've noticed a couple of
>stories that were pretty funny when they came out,
>but which are not funny anymore. The writers had more foresight
>than we gave them credit for.
>
>Two examples:
>
>"The Price of Peril" by Robert Sheckly (1959)
>In this story, we are shown a live-action audience
participation show.
>For $10,000 , the contestant has to survive for an entire week,
>while being hunted by armed killers, and while being constantly
>followed by TV camera crews. If the contestant lives, they get
>the money. "Good Samaritans" can phone into the show with
helpful
>info and get their name mentioned on the air.
>
>This was pretty silly in 1959. After watching "Survivor" on TV,
>it isn't quite so funny anymore.
>
"Survivor" made me think of King's The Running Man and The Long
Walk, which would seem to have been inspired by the story you
mention above, given the date.

--K


-----------------------------------------------------------

Got questions? Get answers over the phone at Keen.com.
Up to 100 minutes free!
http://www.keen.com


Estraven

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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Infozombie <infoz...@fwi.com.invalid> wrote in message
news:MPG.13c80008c...@news.fwi.com...
<snip>

> At the American Library Association conference in New Orleans last
> year, there was a fascinating panel discussion called something like
> "Reading Science Fiction to Predict Technological Change" The
> panelists were Orson Scott Card, Vernor Vinge, and someone else who
> escapes me at the moment. [...]

You mean you've captured Card and Vinge? Cool!

May I suggest forcing them to write a collaboration while you've got
them in your power? 'Twould be ... an interesting read.

james_the_gray

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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Using new technology is not really change in the sense
of "Social Change".
I belive what he was meaning was that social change in usually
started within middle and upperclass groups, why would it the
middle and upperclass are suceeding and this tends to makes
them to invested to desire change "in general".
The true changes start out from the poor mainly.

lawrenc...@jump.net (Lawrence Person) wrote:
>In article <Fx0x9...@world.std.com>, m...@world.std.com >

>Yes, well that would explain why no one in the middle and upper
classes
>has adopted any new technology in the last fifty years,
wouldn't it?

-----------------------------------------------------------

Katie Schwarz

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
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mike stone <mws...@aol.com> wrote:
>
>When I was young, there seemed to be a lot of stories in which the hero,
>getting into danger, would flee into the slum quarter behind the spaceport,
>perhaps being assisted by a Thieves Guild or Beggars Union or the like.
>
>By the late 1960s, the sophisticates were mocking this stuff. The idea of a
>high-tech, Galaxy-spanning civilisation, still having slums and beggars -
>ridiculous! Yet by the 1980s, this was not to far from what was actually
>happening. High technology on the one hand, old-fashioned squalor on the other
>- often within a few hundred yards of each other. It is as if the *bad* sf has
>come nearer to fulfilment than the good

_Citizen of the Galaxy_ uses that setting (though it's not *bad* sf!).
I find the slave market and beggars next to the spaceport to be quite
plausible.

--
Katie Schwarz
"There's no need to look for a Chimera, or a cat with three legs."
-- Jorge Luis Borges, "Death and the Compass"

Infozombie

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Jul 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/1/00
to
estr...@netcom.ca said...

> You mean you've captured Card and Vinge? Cool!
>
> May I suggest forcing them to write a collaboration while you've got
> them in your power? 'Twould be ... an interesting read.
>
'Twould. Alas, 'twas only for a three hour span in July of '99.

--
Lisa

Joe Slater

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
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pci...@antiabuseworld.std.com (Paul Ciszek) wrote:
>[W]ould slavery for the purpose of general labor really
>be practical once technology got above a certain level? Aside from sex
>slavery and personal servants as a sort of status symbol, anything a
>slave can do a machine can do cheaper.

I disagree. The automation necessary to replace the function of a
chef, for instance, would be incredible.

In any event, you don't appreciate just how cheap labor is in
third-world countries, nor the sort of social pressures that act
against automation. I was in Nepal recently and had to help get goods
out of customs. We had a huge trolley, the sort that airlines use to
move luggage. It took a team of twelve men (who all had to be paid) to
move it fifty metres over broken paving.

Why didn't anyone repair the paving? I suspect that the laborers would
have protested and found some way to sabotage it. In any event, who
would benefit? Only the final customer, who has little incentive to
complain about a relatively low fee (compared to the price of air
cargo). By having these laborers around they have a workforce for the
times when they really do need people to help; and by having broken
paving they justify the labor charges which keep those laborers fed.

jds

--
"Omes and palones of the jury, vada well the eek of the poor ome who stands
before you, his lallies trembling."
Sandy, _Round the Horne_

Phil Fraering

unread,
Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
Nyrath the nearly wise <nyr...@clark.net> writes:

> As a tribute to far-sighted SF writers, I've noticed a couple of
> stories that were pretty funny when they came out,
> but which are not funny anymore. The writers had more foresight
> than we gave them credit for.
>
> Two examples:
>
> "The Price of Peril" by Robert Sheckly (1959)
> In this story, we are shown a live-action audience participation show.
> For $10,000 , the contestant has to survive for an entire week,
> while being hunted by armed killers, and while being constantly
> followed by TV camera crews. If the contestant lives, they get
> the money. "Good Samaritans" can phone into the show with helpful
> info and get their name mentioned on the air.
>
> This was pretty silly in 1959. After watching "Survivor" on TV,
> it isn't quite so funny anymore.

Well, I'm going to be pitching my series idea to Fox next week,
for a competitor series to "Survivor." The working title is
"Donner Party Of Five."


> "The Marching Morons" by C.M. Kornbluth (1951)
> In this story, we see the result of generations of humanity's
> breeding habits: the intelligent people have no or one child
> per family, the unintelligent people have six or more.
> The end result is a world where the average IQ is 45.
> The small amount of people with IQs of around 100 are desperately
> trying to run a world full of billions of morons.
> Lots of bread and circuses, with games shows in which
> contestants compete, seeing who can be the first to put the
> triangle shape in the triangle hole, and the square into the
> square hole. Mindless TV entertainment, and advertisements
> with heavy sexual inuendos.
>
> This was pretty silly in 1951.
> I personally don't find it quite so funny anymore.
>

> Does anybody have any other examples of stories with unusually
> accurate foresight?

Just about every other episode of Pinky and the Brain.

--
Phil Fraering "One day, Pinky, A MOUSE shall rule, and it is the
p...@globalreach.net humans who will be forced to endure these humiliating
/Will work for tape/ diversions!"
"You mean like Orlando, Brain?"

Michael Matthew Fragassi

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
In article <8jlde6$r...@netaxs.com>,

Nancy Lebovitz <na...@unix3.netaxs.com> wrote:
>>>>From: na...@unix3.netaxs.com (Nancy Lebovitz)
>>>
>>>>The average ability to do IQ tests is going *up*. This is called the
>>>>Flynn Effect--no one is sure what's causing it or what it means.

>I've seen an argument that most of the improvement is in the


>visual part of the test, and it's a result of kids growing
>up in a more visually complex environment. I'm merely reporting
>this--I don't know if the premise is true, let alone the conclusion.

A good paper discussing the effect and this explanation is "Rising Scores
on Intelligence Tests", Ulric Neisser, American Scientist, Sept.-Oct.
1997. The full text is online:
http://www.amsci.org/amsci/articles/97articles/Neisser.html

--
"I have no mouth, and I must scream."
-- Hello Kitty


Jake Kesinger

unread,
Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
Nancy Lebovitz (na...@unix3.netaxs.com) wrote:
: In article <395DEE0C...@clark.net>,
: Nyrath the nearly wise <nyr...@clark.net> wrote:
: >"The Marching Morons" by C.M. Kornbluth (1951)

: >In this story, we see the result of generations of humanity's
: >breeding habits: the intelligent people have no or one child
: >per family, the unintelligent people have six or more.
: >The end result is a world where the average IQ is 45.
: >The small amount of people with IQs of around 100 are desperately
: No--the minority were super-geniuses.

That's what they *said*, but they always struck me as being slightly
dense.

==Jake ``or at least insufficiently creative'' K.

Cambias

unread,
Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
In article <87aeg1d...@globalreach.net>, Phil Fraering
<p...@globalreach.net> wrote:

> Nyrath the nearly wise <nyr...@clark.net> writes:
>
> > As a tribute to far-sighted SF writers, I've noticed a couple of
> > stories that were pretty funny when they came out,
> > but which are not funny anymore. The writers had more foresight
> > than we gave them credit for.
> >
> > Two examples:
> >
> > "The Price of Peril" by Robert Sheckly (1959)
> > In this story, we are shown a live-action audience participation show.
> > For $10,000 , the contestant has to survive for an entire week,
> > while being hunted by armed killers, and while being constantly
> > followed by TV camera crews. If the contestant lives, they get
> > the money. "Good Samaritans" can phone into the show with helpful
> > info and get their name mentioned on the air.
> >
> > This was pretty silly in 1959. After watching "Survivor" on TV,
> > it isn't quite so funny anymore.
>
> Well, I'm going to be pitching my series idea to Fox next week,
> for a competitor series to "Survivor." The working title is
> "Donner Party Of Five."
>

Well, I sure was disappointed when I found out the people on "Survivor"
got food and could leave and stuff. I thought it would be much better to
put them on a real desert island, monitored by cameras but no way to
escape, and give the money to the last one left alive. Cannibalism would
be far less degrading than some of the things on "The Real World." As it
is, they're selling the sizzle, but no steak. The bastards.

Cambias

Matt Ruff / Lisa Gold

unread,
Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
Chuck Bridgeland wrote:
>
> There's an old story I recall, by Fritz Leiber I think. It
> opens with an Englishman new to New York City. One of the
> first things he witnesses is an old woman being run down by
> some thugs in a car. When she realizes what's happening and
> that she has no hope of surviving she pulls a pistol from her
> purse and shoots at them until she's run down. Tell me that's
> science fiction now.

It just sounds silly. She's got the time -- and the reflexes -- to fish
around in her purse for a gun, but not enough to duck out of the car's
way?

-- M. Ruff

Nancy Lebovitz

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
In article <395F501E...@worldnet.att.net>,
Her nervous system and hands might have been in better shape than
her legs.

Matt Ruff / Lisa Gold

unread,
Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
Infozombie wrote:
>
> Some of the obvious examples of SFnal foresight were travel to the
> moon and internet

I know there were many stories predicting travel to the moon, but were
there any predicting that the initial race to the moon would be followed
by a public loss of interest in space travel?

-- M. Ruff

Sea Wasp

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to


Jocularity aside, I thought they could at the very least have "who
leaves" determined the old-fashioned way: by whoever breaks first.
"AAAAAA! I can't stand it! I want my hot showers, I want my stove and
cooking utensils, and I want to see living, CLEAN people!"

And the winner, if they wanted to set a specific time limit (so that
it didn't become a long, drawn out staring contest) would be
determined by who managed to survive in the most comfortable/advanced
way.

Note that I would also require that they not work in teams. They
might be able to trade items, but not effort, with other people.

Robinson Crusoe, not the Swiss Family Robinson.

--
Sea Wasp http://www.wizvax.net/seawasp/index.html
/^\
;;; _Morgantown: The Jason Wood Chronicles_, at
http://www.hyperbooks.com/catalog/20040.html

Jordan S. Bassior

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
Mike Stone said:

>By the late 1960s, the sophisticates were mocking this stuff. The idea of a
>high-tech, Galaxy-spanning civilisation, still having slums and beggars -
>ridiculous! Yet by the 1980s, this was not to far from what was actually
>happening. High technology on the one hand, old-fashioned squalor on the
>other - often within a few hundred yards of each other. It is as if the *bad*
sf
>has come nearer to fulfilment than the good

If you're talking about the developed world, this is largely a matter of
perception ... our present-day "poor" actually live quite well by historic or
even modern global standards. If you're talking about the Third World, this is
the deitrus of war or very rapidly developing or administered societies ...

And y'know something? This is usually how Andre Norton or Poul Anderson did it
too. Maybe they knew what they were talking about?


Sincerely Yours,
Jordan
--
"Not in vain the distance beckons. Forward, forward let us range
"Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change"
(Tennyson)

Jordan S. Bassior

unread,
Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
James the Gray said:

>Using new technology is not really change in the sense
>of "Social Change".
>I belive what he was meaning was that social change in usually
>started within middle and upperclass groups, why would it the
>middle and upperclass are suceeding and this tends to makes
>them to invested to desire change "in general".
>The true changes start out from the poor mainly.

Except that's not really true. _Stylistic_ changes (like new musical forms)
often originate from the poor, but most important social change comes from the
middle and upper classes. Where else do you imagine most artists and writers
originate?

Jordan S. Bassior

unread,
Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
Joe Slater said:

>Why didn't anyone repair the paving? I suspect that the laborers would
>have protested and found some way to sabotage it. In any event, who
>would benefit?

The society as a whole, which would be able to move traffic faster over the
broken paving. But you're right about the likely behavior of the laborers. Good
argument against labor violence!

Jordan S. Bassior

unread,
Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
Chuck Bridgeland said:

>There's an old story I recall, by Fritz Leiber I think. It opens with an
>Englishman new to New York City. One of the first things he witnesses is an
>old woman being run down by some thugs in a car. When she realizes what's
>happening and that she has no hope of surviving she pulls a pistol from her
>purse and shoots at them until she's run down. Tell me that's science
>fiction now.

That's science fiction now. New York City's _nowhere NEAR_ that violent. I
speak with some authority, having lived there about 30 years and quitted the
city only 4 years ago. And NYC is _less_ violent now than it was when I lived
there.

James Nicoll

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
In article <395F51BD...@worldnet.att.net>,

Matt Ruff / Lisa Gold <Storyt...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
_All the Bridges Rusting_, Larry Niven. Although you have
to replace 'Moon' with 'Alpha Centauri'.

I'd have been interested in seeing more stories in that mileau
by the young Niven than he actually wrote.
--
"Sure, Len, just because something is old doesn't mean it's
engraved in stone. We know a lot more about entertainment now than they
did back then. Look at Lawrence Olivier! You think he was in any of
Shakespeare's original productions? No! They added him years later!"

Jordan S. Bassior

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
Matt Ruff said:

>I know there were many stories predicting travel to the moon, but were
>there any predicting that the initial race to the moon would be followed
>by a public loss of interest in space travel?

Yes! Isaac Asimov wrote one back in the late 30's or early 40's.

Jordan S. Bassior

unread,
Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
Cambias said:

>Cannibalism would
>be far less degrading than some of the things on "The Real World."

Oh, _much_ less degrading :)

Larry M Headlund

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
In article <395F51BD...@worldnet.att.net>,
Matt Ruff / Lisa Gold <Storyt...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
>Infozombie wrote:
>>
>> Some of the obvious examples of SFnal foresight were travel to the
>> moon and internet
>
>I know there were many stories predicting travel to the moon, but were
>there any predicting that the initial race to the moon would be followed
>by a public loss of interest in space travel?

None of these examples were right on target but in broad outlines
they fit the description:

Asimov's _The Martian Way_ is about opposition to space travel. The opponents
use an environmental concern as one reason for their opposition.

Heinlein's _The Man Who Sold the Moon_ is all about reviving space
travel after it had been aborted for technical reasons. Public
interest before the publicity campaign is pretty much underwhelming.

Heinlein also has a character allude to the Earth "giving up"
space travel in _Methuselah's Children_.

RAH, now that I think of it, frequently has characters being dismissive
of space travel. This is of course more of a reflection of contemporary,
contemporary to the time of writing, attitudes than a prediction.

--
--
Larry Headlund l...@world.std.com Mathematical Engineering, Inc.
(617) 242 7741
Unix, X and Motif Consulting

Speaking for myself at most.

mike stone

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
>From: jsba...@aol.com (Jordan S. Bassior)

>
>If you're talking about the developed world, this is largely a matter of
>perception ... our present-day "poor" actually live quite well by historic or
>even modern global standards.

Maybe it was amatter of perception in the SF stories as well

If you're talking about the Third World, this
>is
>the deitrus of war or very rapidly developing or administered societies ...
>
>And y'know something? This is usually how Andre Norton or Poul Anderson did
>it
>too. Maybe they knew what they were talking about?
>

I'm sure they did. But the "sophisticates" i had in mind - the "new wave"
enthusiasts who regarded JG Ballard and Michael Moorcock as the greatest -
frequently mocked Norton and Anderson as well.

Indeed I recall buying Anderson's "Three Worlds to Conquer" as a consequence of
this. It got a bad review in Moorcock's "New Worlds", which was enough to
convince me that it must be all right
--
Mike Stone - Peterborough England

"The English people are like the English beer.

Froth on top, dregs at the bottom, the middle excellent" - Voltaire

mike stone

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
>From: l...@world.std.com (Larry M Headlund)

>were
>>there any predicting that the initial race to the moon would be followed
>>by a public loss of interest in space travel?
>
>None of these examples were right on target but in broad outlines
>they fit the description:
>
>Asimov's _The Martian Way_ is about opposition to space travel. The
>opponents
>use an environmental concern as one reason for their opposition.
>
>Heinlein's _The Man Who Sold the Moon_ is all about reviving space
>travel after it had been aborted for technical reasons. Public
>interest before the publicity campaign is pretty much underwhelming.
>
>Heinlein also has a character allude to the Earth "giving up"
>space travel in _Methuselah's Children_.

Also Poul Anderson's "Question and Answer" and (in a more distant future)
Murray Leinster's "The Last Space Ship" and Clarke's "City and the Stars"

In fact Istr it as quite a common theme in 1950s sf - that society just "didn't
want to know", and space had to be conquered by some solitary genius in his
backyard workshop

Mark Atwood

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
jsba...@aol.com (Jordan S. Bassior) writes:
>
> If you're talking about the developed world, this is largely a matter of
> perception ... our present-day "poor" actually live quite well by historic or
> even modern global standards.

In _Diamond Age_, was Nell's mother "poor"?

How much would having a MC in your house be worth, today?

--
Mark Atwood | It is the hardest thing for intellectuals to understand, that
m...@pobox.com | just because they haven't thought of something, somebody else
| might. <http://www.friesian.com/rifkin.htm>
http://www.pobox.com/~mra

Del Cotter

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
On Sun, 2 Jul 2000, in rec.arts.sf.written,
Cambias <cam...@SPAHMTRAP.heliograph.com> wrote:

>Phil Fraering <p...@globalreach.net> wrote:
>> Well, I'm going to be pitching my series idea to Fox next week,
>> for a competitor series to "Survivor." The working title is
>> "Donner Party Of Five."
>
>Well, I sure was disappointed when I found out the people on "Survivor"
>got food and could leave and stuff. I thought it would be much better to
>put them on a real desert island, monitored by cameras but no way to
>escape, and give the money to the last one left alive. Cannibalism would
>be far less degrading than some of the things on "The Real World." As it
>is, they're selling the sizzle, but no steak. The bastards.

^^^^^
YM "pork". HTH.

--
. . Del Cotter d...@branta.demon.co.uk . .
JustRead:Sense&SensibilityJaneAusten:TheHundredDaysPatrickOBrian:TakeBa
ckPlentyColinGreenland:BadLandJonathanRaban:TheRoadToMarsEricIdle:ToRea
d:Apocalypses&ApostrophesJohnBarnes:HelloSummerGoodbyeMichaelConey:StLe

Mark Atwood

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
Del Cotter <d...@branta.demon.co.uk> writes:
> >escape, and give the money to the last one left alive. Cannibalism would
> >be far less degrading than some of the things on "The Real World." As it
> >is, they're selling the sizzle, but no steak. The bastards.
> ^^^^^
> YM "pork". HTH.

Mmmm. Long pig.

Jorj Strumolo

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
>> It just sounds silly. She's got the time --
>> and the reflexes -- to fish around in her purse for
>> a gun, but not enough to duck out of the car's way?

Nancy Lebovitz:
NL> Her nervous system and hands might have


> been in better shape than her legs.

Location comes into it as well. If this is an alley
or elevated roadway or something, there may be no place
to go sideways, and no hope of running away.


John S. Novak, III

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
On Sun, 02 Jul 2000 10:16:56 -0400, Cambias
<cam...@SPAHMTRAP.heliograph.com> wrote:

>Well, I sure was disappointed when I found out the people on "Survivor"
>got food and could leave and stuff. I thought it would be much better to
>put them on a real desert island, monitored by cameras but no way to

>escape, and give the money to the last one left alive. Cannibalism would
>be far less degrading than some of the things on "The Real World." As it
>is, they're selling the sizzle, but no steak. The bastards.

That was the idea we came up with at work, just a few days ago. I
believe my final rant on the subject was something along the lines of:

"'Survivor' my ass! None of those people are Survivors, they get
<waggles fingers> voted off the Island <waggles fingers> before
anything bad can happen to them. They have too many escape routes,
and their exits are too contrived. As far as I'm concerned, just ship
their asses off to a _real_ desert island, and tell them that if more
than one person is still alive at the end of two weeks, _no one_ gets
any money."

--
John S. Novak, III j...@concentric.net
A source of pride on the Internet

Reverend Sean O'Hara

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
Well, they'd have to test as super-geniuses for a small group to
balance out the low-end scores and keep the median at 100.

> ==Jake ``or at least insufficiently creative'' K.

IQ tests do not test for creativity. In fact, a great many creative
people have had average intelligences, while a great many intelligent
people have had the creativity of a Jerry Bruckheimer film.

ObSF: Lawrence Waterhouse's military intelligence test in
"Cryptonomicon"
ObNonSF: Howard Gardner's "Creating Minds".

--
Reverend Sean O'Hara
You two can be an ordained minister: http://www.ulc.org/ulc
Staff Writer for EXPULSION: http://www.expulsion.org
"I am amazed that Time Warner with a huge cash flow and really
wonderful assets should swap 55 percent of them for 45 percent
of a 22 to 25 million-strong Internet service provider with only
significant presence in the United States. We are certainly not
frightened of that merger."

Terrell Miller

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
"Matt Ruff / Lisa Gold" <Storyt...@worldnet.att.net> wrote in message
news:395F51BD...@worldnet.att.net...

> I know there were many stories predicting travel to the moon, but were


> there any predicting that the initial race to the moon would be followed
> by a public loss of interest in space travel?

Clarke's "Sands of Mars" from 1951. The Martian colony is in danger of
having its supply pipeline cut (and therefore having to come back home)
because of lack of profit and increasing public apathy. Almost eerie...

Funny how ACC could be so completely prescient about some things, and so
dumb about others. For instance, the sf-writer protagonist of that novel
spends most of the journey between space station and Mars pecking away at a
manual typewriter!

--
Terrell Miller, Ordo Pantheris
terrel...@mindspring.com

"On Time. No Defects. Pick One"
-Scott Adams

Jason Bontrager

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to

Nyrath the nearly wise wrote:

<snip stories that used to be funny but now cut too close to home>

_Lipidleggin'_ by F. Paul Wilson.

Food with lipids in it (dairy products mostly) has been outlawed due to
adverse health concerns (heart disease) and the fact that Society must
bear the costs of medical care.

Story originally published in Isaac Asimov's SFM, May-June 1978.
Reprinted in _Survival of Freedom_, edited by Jerry Pournelle.

Jason B.


Jordan S. Bassior

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
Mike Stone said:

>>From: jsba...@aol.com (Jordan S. Bassior)
>
>>

>>If you're talking about the developed world, this is largely a matter of
>>perception ... our present-day "poor" actually live quite well by historic or
>>even modern global standards.
>

>Maybe it was amatter of perception in the SF stories as well

That may well be true ... a lot of the vices in Andre Norton's "Dipples" or in
that slum quarter Flandry meets the crimelord and the gypsy girl in look pretty
upscale.

>I'm sure they did. But the "sophisticates" i had in mind - the "new wave"
>enthusiasts who regarded JG Ballard and Michael Moorcock as the greatest -
>frequently mocked Norton and Anderson as well.

Ironically, of the New Wavers, Moorcock was probably the only truly good writer
... and _his_ best stuff was inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs and Jack Vance
more than by any of the other New Wavers.

Anna Feruglio Dal Dan

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
Infozombie <infoz...@fwi.com.invalid> wrote:

> Snip stuff about intelligence tests and their validity.
>
> ObNonfiction _The Mismeasure of Man_ by Stephen J. Gould. It's an
> interesting and sometimes appalling history of intelligence testing.

ObSF : an article in "Foundation", some years ago, by IIRC John Sladek,
on The Marching Morons. Illuminating.

--
Cut out the attention signal in my address to mail me
Togliete l'avvertimento nel mio indirizzo per scrivermi

Mark Atwood

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
Omixochitl <omixo...@hotmail.com> writes:
>
> Banks' _Feersum Endjinn_ is about the people who stayed on Earth long
> after most people left

It is? Who?

The Iridian War took place around 1200 Earth CE.

_State Of The Art_ is around 1970 Earth CE

Nyrath the nearly wise

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
Matt Ruff / Lisa Gold wrote:
> I know there were many stories predicting travel to the moon, but were
> there any predicting that the initial race to the moon would be followed
> by a public loss of interest in space travel?

Asimov wrote that one.

He also noted in an article that while there were thousands
of SF stories about the first manned landing on the moon,
not a single one of them predicted that when it actually
happened, the entire world would watch the event on TV.

The article was about the occupational hazards of predicting
the future.

Terrell Miller

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
"Nyrath the nearly wise" <nyr...@clark.net> wrote in message
news:395DEE0C...@clark.net...

> Does anybody have any other examples of stories with unusually
> accurate foresight?

Other side of the coin: I'm finally getting around to reading Bova's The
High Road, which is a collection of his essays from the Carter
Administration.

When I was in high school I vividly remember writing many term papers on
space exploration, and I would save years' worth of Omni and Planetary
Society newsletters to get quotes for my papers. Stuff like the essays here
were manna back then.

Now it hurts to read them. I know Bova had been a marketing shill for the
aerospace industry, and he was inclined to paint a rosy picture, but in
hindsight it's hard to imagine how one man could have gotten so many facts
wrong.

Case in point: he devotes a chapter to solar power satellites (SPS). They
are wonderful, they are the salvation of mankind allowing us to break the
shackles of fossil fuel, etc. etc. Bova figures it would take roughly 200
payloads on a heavy-lift launcher (with roughly 13 times the capacity of the
shuttle) to assemble the materials for *one* SPS. And that's just the
collectors in orbit, you'd need a receiver array on the ground that would be
five square miles, which would also need to be built.

To show just how badly the popular science press swallowed NASA's hype about
the shuttle: Bova then determined the time to assemble an SPS: "Figuring two
flights per week, that is roughly two years".

I think he should win some kind of award for that one. How about a Brother
electric typewriter with detachable memory and font cartridges?

Leif Magnar Kj|nn|y

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
In article <395FA61A...@rcn.com>,

Reverend Sean O'Hara <oha...@rcn.com> wrote:
>
>Well, they'd have to test as super-geniuses for a small group to
>balance out the low-end scores and keep the median at 100.

ITYM "mean", not "median"; if the vast majority of people were testing
way below 100 you couldn't get a median of 100 anyhow.

And if the vast majority *were* testing way below 100, that would mean
that the assumption of IQ being normally distributed was shot anyway,
so never mind about demanding an arithmetic mean of 100...

--
Leif Kj{\o}nn{\o}y | "Its habit of getting up late you'll agree
www.pvv.org/~leifmk| That it carries too far, when I say
Math geek and gamer| That it frequently breakfasts at five-o'clock tea,
GURPS, Harn, CORPS | And dines on the following day." (Carroll)

Elisabeth Carey

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
Reverend Sean O'Hara wrote:
>
> Jake Kesinger wrote:
> >
> > Nancy Lebovitz (na...@unix3.netaxs.com) wrote:
> > : In article <395DEE0C...@clark.net>,
> > : Nyrath the nearly wise <nyr...@clark.net> wrote:
> > : >"The Marching Morons" by C.M. Kornbluth (1951)
> > : >In this story, we see the result of generations of humanity's
> > : >breeding habits: the intelligent people have no or one child
> > : >per family, the unintelligent people have six or more.
> > : >The end result is a world where the average IQ is 45.
> > : >The small amount of people with IQs of around 100 are desperately
> > : No--the minority were super-geniuses.
> >
> > That's what they *said*, but they always struck me as being slightly
> > dense.
> >
> Well, they'd have to test as super-geniuses for a small group to
> balance out the low-end scores and keep the median at 100.
>
> > ==Jake ``or at least insufficiently creative'' K.
>
> IQ tests do not test for creativity. In fact, a great many creative
> people have had average intelligences, while a great many intelligent
> people have had the creativity of a Jerry Bruckheimer film.

A great many creative people have had average IQs, while a great many
people with high IQs have had the creativity of a Jerry Bruckheimer
film.

IQ measures something, but IQ is not the same thing as "intelligence".

Lis Carey

Leif Magnar Kj|nn|y

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
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In article <m3em5cg...@flash.localdomain>,

Mark Atwood <m...@pobox.com> wrote:
>Omixochitl <omixo...@hotmail.com> writes:
>>
>> Banks' _Feersum Endjinn_ is about the people who stayed on Earth long
>> after most people left
>
>It is? Who?
>
>The Iridian War took place around 1200 Earth CE.
>
>_State Of The Art_ is around 1970 Earth CE

'Taint nothing in _Feersum Endjinn_ that particularily suggests
it's placed in the Culture universe. In fact I seem to recall
Banks stating it's not.

Same goes for _Against a Dark Background_.

Del Cotter

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
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On Sun, 2 Jul 2000, in rec.arts.sf.written,
mike stone <mws...@aol.com> wrote:

>>From: l...@world.std.com (Larry M Headlund)

>>>there any predicting that the initial race to the moon would be followed
>>>by a public loss of interest in space travel?
>>

>>None of these examples were right on target but in broad outlines
>>they fit the description:
>>
>>Asimov's _The Martian Way_ is about opposition to space travel. The

>>use an environmental concern as one reason for their opposition.

Also "Trends", a short story the young Isaac Asimov, published in
"Astounding" in 1939, about a private space entrepreneur who makes it to
the Moon in the mid-seventies against fundamentalist opposition. A
point of the plot is a US Supreme Court decision in 1974 that the state
had the right to suppress basic scientific research.

In 1985 "Analog" published "The Constitutional Origins of Westly vs.
Simmons" by Paul A. Carter, which takes "Trends" as an alternate history
whose change point is the dismissal (in 1939, the year "Trends" was
published) by Roosevelt of Einstein's famous letter. Hence no Manhattan
Project.

Carter goes on to describe the history of the next few years and
suggests the sort of Supreme Court which could possibly make such a
decision. That court includes Mr. Justice Proxmire :-)

>In fact Istr it as quite a common theme in 1950s sf - that society just "didn't
>want to know", and space had to be conquered by some solitary genius in his
>backyard workshop

--

Michael Hargreave Mawson

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
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In article <Fx1L1...@world.std.com>, Paul Ciszek <pciszek@antiabusewo
rld.std.com> writes
>In article <8jls2a$idq$1...@agate.berkeley.edu>,
>Katie Schwarz <k...@socrates.Berkeley.EDU> wrote:
>>
>>_Citizen of the Galaxy_ uses that setting (though it's not *bad* sf!).
>>I find the slave market and beggars next to the spaceport to be quite
>>plausible.
>
>Beggars, yes. But would slavery for the purpose of general labor really
>be practical once technology got above a certain level? Aside from sex
>slavery and personal servants as a sort of status symbol, anything a
>slave can do a machine can do cheaper. And an educated money-motivated
>employee could probably mind the machinery better than a slave could.

I thought RAH explained the economic and psychological reasons behind
the slave societies in "Citizen of the Galaxy" extremely convincingly.
Care to explain why you don't? Really, I'm interested in hearing more.

ATB
--
Mike
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* - CASUALTY ROLL, EGYPT 1882 - *
* For details of this, and other books I have written, please visit *
* http://www.hargreave-mawson.demon.co.uk *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

William Clifford

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
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On Sun, 02 Jul 2000 00:29:59 GMT, Joe Slater
<joeDEL...@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au> wrote:

>pci...@antiabuseworld.std.com (Paul Ciszek) wrote:
>>[W]ould slavery for the purpose of general labor really


>>be practical once technology got above a certain level? Aside from sex
>>slavery and personal servants as a sort of status symbol, anything a
>>slave can do a machine can do cheaper.
>

>I disagree. The automation necessary to replace the function of a
>chef, for instance, would be incredible.
>
>In any event, you don't appreciate just how cheap labor is in
>third-world countries, nor the sort of social pressures that act
>against automation. I was in Nepal recently and had to help get goods
>out of customs. We had a huge trolley, the sort that airlines use to
>move luggage. It took a team of twelve men (who all had to be paid) to
>move it fifty metres over broken paving.
>
>Why didn't anyone repair the paving? I suspect that the laborers would
>have protested and found some way to sabotage it. In any event, who
>would benefit? Only the final customer, who has little incentive to
>complain about a relatively low fee (compared to the price of air
>cargo). By having these laborers around they have a workforce for the
>times when they really do need people to help; and by having broken
>paving they justify the labor charges which keep those laborers fed.

Yeah, but what a shitty job. I don't understand labor movements that
attempt to "protect" shitty jobs for "exploitive" companies. Why not
retrain a bunch of these guys to work in the construction company that
will repave the area. They can trade the crappy work they're doing now
for an entry level position that ultimately lead to something much
more rewarding for themselves, for the people they are presently
serving, and for the society as a whole which could probably use some
good roads. And when they run out roads that they need to make
something else is sure to come up.

--
|William Clifford |"There is no requirement that I be even|
|wo...@yahoo.com | remotely logical, merely loveable in |
|lame webpage at: | my own special way..." |
|http://www.ionline.com/wobh | --Dave Macauley 6.23.00 12:04 PM EST |

Anton Sherwood

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
"Anne M. Marble" wrote:
> . . . (Who
> would buy a book called "America's Smartest Crooks"?
> Or even "Crooks with Above Average Intelligence"?) . . .

Want a list of movies about clever crooks? Got a week?

--
Anton Sherwood -- br0...@p0b0x.com -- http://ogre.nu

Anton Sherwood

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Jul 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/2/00
to
Nyrath the nearly wise wrote:
> As a tribute to far-sighted SF writers, I've noticed a
> couple of stories that were pretty funny when they came out,
> but which are not funny anymore. The writers had more foresight
> than we gave them credit for.
>
> Two examples:
>
> "The Price of Peril" by Robert Sheckly (1959)
> In this story, we are shown a live-action audience participation show.
> For $10,000 , the contestant has to survive for an entire week,
> while being hunted by armed killers, and while being constantly
> followed by TV camera crews. If the contestant lives, they get
> the money. "Good Samaritans" can phone into the show with helpful
> info and get their name mentioned on the air.
>
> This was pretty silly in 1959. After watching "Survivor" on TV,
> it isn't quite so funny anymore.

I read somewhere today that an even closer parallel is about to launch,
in which contestants must evade bounty-hunters while carrying out tasks
that make them visible (so they can't just hide underground for a week).