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Old 13th May 2011, 08:49 AM   #61 (permalink)
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Re: How much is political ideology dominating SFF?

I believe that a novelist who pushes a political viewpoint at the expense of story and character is essentially not all that different to a pornographer. They're both trying to get a simple reaction out of their audience at the expense of art.

(If there's any pornographers reading this I'm sorry I compared you to Terry Goodkind)
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Old 14th May 2011, 04:14 PM   #62 (permalink)
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Re: How much is political ideology dominating SFF?

Chicken!









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Old 15th May 2011, 09:14 AM   #63 (permalink)
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Re: How much is political ideology dominating SFF?

Ah, yes, Goodkind's chicken of total evil. I've heard of this legend.
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Old 15th May 2011, 10:28 PM   #64 (permalink)
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Re: How much is political ideology dominating SFF?

Is the political equivalent of a pornographer a propagandist?
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Old 16th May 2011, 08:21 AM   #65 (permalink)
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Re: How much is political ideology dominating SFF?

I'd argue not.

The former wants your attention but doesn't use deceit or falsehoods (unless you're into wacky alien filth - "See Suruk's Mighty Chopper on page 7!!!"), whereas propagandists often distort the truth or tell outright lies. I'd rather photograph, er, lady persons than be a modern Goebbels.
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Old 16th May 2011, 10:27 AM   #66 (permalink)
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Re: How much is political ideology dominating SFF?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toby Frost View Post
Is the political equivalent of a pornographer a propagandist?
Propagandist! That word would have saved me a rather laboured simile had I remembered it.
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Old 16th May 2011, 10:28 AM   #67 (permalink)
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Re: How much is political ideology dominating SFF?

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I'd rather photograph, er, lady persons than be a modern Goebbels.
I'm thinking we should put this one to a forum poll.
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Old 16th May 2011, 10:43 AM   #68 (permalink)
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Re: How much is political ideology dominating SFF?

I'd rather not know how many Chronners want to be any sort of Goebbels, thank you very much.











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Old 16th May 2011, 01:35 PM   #69 (permalink)
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Re: How much is political ideology dominating SFF?

You're right, Thadeus. On second thoughts pornography is a far more honourable trade than propaganda (I am struggling not to use the phrase "get a rise out of the reader" in this post).

I think part of this discussion arises out of the problem that what constitutes left and right (especially in America, which in traditional terms doesn't actually have any left wing at all) has changed drastically. The rules seem to be becoming cruder and more drastic: it seems strange to me that to consider a war from both sides - that is, to be capable of thinking the issue before deciding on a side - makes one a spineless moral coward incapable of decency.

To go back to the article I mentioned earlier, I find it odd how, after damning Abercrombie et al over their use of torture, the writer doesn't mention a certain other author whose characters have been maiming and castrating their way through 10 books with gay abandon in the cause of the 'libertarian' right. Curious.
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Old 16th May 2011, 02:04 PM   #70 (permalink)
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Re: How much is political ideology dominating SFF?

Mr. Frost, get a hold of yourself!

Ahem.

As well as left and right I think it's important to consider liberal and authoritarian views (as a y-axis, if you like). It was telling how big an overlap there was between the rightwing Conservatives and leftwing Lib Dems in the field of civil liberties (ie axing the ID card scheme).
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Old 17th May 2011, 09:43 AM   #71 (permalink)
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Re: How much is political ideology dominating SFF?

Ahem indeed!

The whole Y-axis thing is a good idea, especially in SF, where politics can be more theoretical (although I'm suspicious of writers who claim to be just throwing out ideas). Being able to plot "authoritarian" and "anarchistic" against each other would help to put people on the map, especially where you have thinkers who don't fit into the obvious categories - non-Marxist left wingers, say. I do think it's also affected by local terminology, too: in the US, a right-wing extremist would probably want to destroy the government, while in Europe he'd probably want to create a dictatorship.
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Old 18th July 2011, 12:21 PM   #72 (permalink)
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Re: How much is political ideology dominating SFF?

Hi, this is my first post here.

Personally one of my primary objectives when I read fiction (and science fiction in particular) is so that I don't have to think much about real world politics and the like, which we are for the better or worse concerned with when not reading . Most fantasy/sci-fi authors make some effort to accommodate the likes of me (as there are lots of us).

If celebrated fiction authors are political or of political interest, they frequently are either pretty naive about it (say, Rudyard Kipling), or requires an historical perspective (say, George Orwell). Or, it's predominantly comical (say, Terry Pratchett).

I can't think of many authors left over who write widely acclaimed works of science fiction and fantasy which are strongly politically motivated.
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Old 18th January 2013, 10:06 PM   #73 (permalink)
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Re: How much is political ideology dominating SFF?

First of all, forgive the thread necro, but I thought this would be better than starting a new thread since there has already been some discussion here in the area that interests me.

I've noticed a trend in this thread noting that modern military sci fi tends to be conservative leaning. I'm wholly ignorant of the state of modern military sci fi so I won't argue this point as being factually incorrect, but I am curious as to why. Given the cynicism about war that's resulted from the last two and a half wars the US has engaged in--never mind memories of Vietnam--and the developments in psychology over the past 30 years or so, advancing knowledge of PTSD in particular, it seems that military sci-fi would be fertile ground for novels about the effects of war on soldiers on the battlefield and those returning home, the political machinations that lead to unnecessary wars, the long term psychological and economic damage resulting from wars, the reactions of those who have to deal with loved ones going off to war...that sort of thing. Taking it as a given that this is not the direction military sci fi has gone in, I have to wonder why not.

Any thoughts?
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Old 18th January 2013, 11:24 PM   #74 (permalink)
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Re: How much is political ideology dominating SFF?

I personally don't mind thread resurrection - I don't see why it should be a problem and it's better than starting a new thread.

As far as the question, I'm not conversant enough with military SF to really say, either, but my impression is that it is a distinct subgenre with quite a few restrictions on what it can contain. It's basically action-adventure SF in a hierarchical structure. What you're talking about would not be "military SF" but "SF about the military" and there is a bit of that, Joe Haldeman probably being the most notable and applicable. A few military SF lists will include The Forever War and so on, but Haldeman is not seen as a military SF writer in the way that much of the Baen stable is, for instance. The point of military SF is that it's supposed to be gung-ho. This isn't to say it couldn't be fairly realistic and portray negatives but I'm pretty sure it's always supposed to depict necessary conflict with positive outcomes. So a military SF novel about cynicism and PTSD and unnecessary wars is probably a contradiction in (subgenre) terms. Military conflicts can also result in economic benefits, in accelerated technological advance, and can build character, are often necessary to preserve a valued way of life, and so on, and that's just the angle the subgenre takes. There's just never been enough "anti-milsf" that was popular enough with readers and driven by writers focused enough to produce a competing subgenre or change the nature of the existing one. Pro-military readers like reading about the military and anti-military readers don't, so military SF will naturally be pro.

I dunno - those are some thoughts, anyway, though I don't know if they're good thoughts.
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Old 19th January 2013, 02:31 AM   #75 (permalink)
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Re: How much is political ideology dominating SFF?

In some places thread resurrection is something of a taboo, unless you have something serious to contribute to the topic, at least.

I don't know enough to know whether those are good thoughts, but they're certainly interesting thoughts. :P Perhaps someone with more knowledge of military sci-fi can verify your observations.

By the way, J-Sun, I appreciate your willingness to jump in and make an attempt to help on virtually anything, even if you don't happen to be particularly familiar with the topic.
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