Even as you’re reading this, Readercon is bearing down upon the world of F&SF literature like an express train. Is that the light at the end of the tunnel I see? Perhaps. It is definitely the light of sweet reason.
I’ve noticed that plenty of scientists and engineers do not like science fiction, even when they grew up on the genre and it was a major contributing factor to their chosen profession? Why? All too often, they find themselves unable to excuse the scientific and/or engineering inaccuracies in a text whose genre presupposes a basis in scientific fact. They end up reading fantasy instead, which is unhindered by claims of ties to the real.
Are there authors currently producing science fiction where the science is as rigorous as the prose in beautiful? I suggest the following and welcome suggestions for additions and subtractions, comments and criticisms.
- Rudy Rucker
- Ken MacLeod
- Charlie Stross
Who else would you suggest?
The Second Coming
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
-- William Butler Yeats
“We’re living on the Planet of the Apes. Is that funny or serious?” – Robert Anton Wilson
Robert Anton Wilson left his body @4:50 AM on binary date 01/11.
All Hail Eris!
At one of the lowest points in my life, at a time when I had lost nearly all confidence in myself, I came across the books of Robert Anton Wilson.
They saved my life. Really.
Through them I came to allow myself to become more self confident, to recognize my own intelligence, to flip my point of view from misanthropy to philanthropy, to see the walls of my own reality tunnel and the courage to keep poking holes in it and make it broader.
The Illuminatus Trilogy. The Schroedinger’s Cat Trilogy. Prometheus Rising. Masks of the Illuminati. Cosmic Trigger I, II and III. Right Where You are Sitting Right Now. Coincidance. I ate up his books. They nourished me and I thrived. I changed the direction in my life, just by knowing I could do so.
Thanks RAW for feeding my head.
I’m about 1/2 way through Herbert and Anderson’s The Butlerian Jihad. This is tasty, tasty stuff. If you liked Dune at all, I recommend it.
By the way, Tangerine Dream is perfect background music for this book. We’ll see how well the next selection, Ozric Tentacles, works.
A random thought just occurred to me. I wonder if I’ll start getting far flung visitors now that two entries have contained the word Jihad?
Glen Grant has taken some really interesting photos of Readercon 2003.
At this point in my life, I feel I can truly say that wherever I happen to be on Earth, in mid July, you will be able to find me at Readercon.