Book Review: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

In a sense, it is the perfect speculative fiction novel, even as it pays unspoken homage to a similarly-themed book by very different authors from thirty-eight years ago.

“The Space Traders”

For those following the faux-controversy surrounding Barack Obama’s relationship with Derrick Bell, here’s a copy of Bell’s infamous short story, “The Space Traders.” As far as science fiction goes, it’s a pretty crummy read, but it does reveal the depths of Bell’s pessimism (perhaps understandable given his biography) about everything from race relations to economic…

Walker Percy’s Galaxy Quest

“[I]t is an established fact that a preponderance of religious imagery or an avowed religious intent can go a long way toward mitigating the science-fictional taint, which also helps explain the appeal to mainstream writers such as Walker Percy of the post-apocalyptic story, whose themes of annihilation and re-creation are so easily indexed both to…

Science in Sci-Fi film

John Holbo has a veryy good post up trying to classify the various types of science-fiction films by their approach and attitudes toward science. He lists quite a few – 1) pro-science/pro-rationality 2) anti-science 3) split the difference … and so on and so forth. It’s a very good piece, but I think Holbo is…

Gene Wolfe interviewed

Interesting stuff from the one of the League’s favorite science fiction writers. Of particular note is his pessimistic conservatism (“The government in Home Fires is doing the thing that I expect them to do now at any minute: to grab hold of General Motors and General Electric and whatnot, and say, ‘You’ve got to hire…

Bread & Circuses: A mini-review of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

I finished the third installment of The Hunger Games last night, Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins, and my goodness what a read. All three books are absurdly intense page-turners bound to keep one up far past one’s appropriate bedtime. If you are married and both spouses are reading these at the same time, prepare for some…

The Future

In lieu of real blogging, I thought I’d throw out some ideas from Ian M. Banks’ introductory essay on his Culture novels (via io9). Here’s Banks on the future obsolescence of market economics: Concomitant with this is the argument that the nature of life in space – that vulnerability, as mentioned above – would mean…

Consider Phlebas

PHLEBAS the Phoenician, a fortnight dead, Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep seas swell And the profit and loss.                           A current under sea Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell He passed the stages of his age and youth Entering the whirlpool.                           Gentile or Jew O you who…

On noble savages and the humanity of the ‘other’

Sullivan nods approvingly at this passage from Conor on Avatar’s Na’vi: The problem with the noble savage cliche is that it is demonstrably untrue. The people who inhabited North America before the arrival of Europeans warred, died for lack of medicine, sometimes killed animal herds so unsustainably that they faced starvation — so despite the…

Avatar

I finally saw Avatar (in 3D) without anyone threatening to beat me up.  It was everything I thought it would be.  The 3D was cool.  The glowing plants in the jungle were really quite pretty.  The special effects were spectacular. But for all its spectacular spectacle, beneath the blue-skinned exterior there wasn’t really any meat.…

books

I think most of the books I’ve read and loved were written by conservatives or libertarians – the fantasy I’ve read was written largely by conservatives, I think because good fantasy plays on themes of decentralization (the villain often attempting to shore up and centralize their control) and tradition.  The science-fiction often as not came…