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Authorial Politics

In the breaks in his writing schedule, David has promised to stop by and chat for a while!
Re: Authorial Politics
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:39 pm

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Eric's brand of Left-Wing Politics is about "bottom-up" change instead of the standard "top-down" leftish point of view.

I will say that he strongly holds traditional American values which are 'sneered at' by many of the left.

IMO what you're seeing are not "right-wing politics and values" but are traditional American values.

As for the anti-white collar bias, well he has little good to say about corporation CEO's which does reflect his experience with working with labor unions.


Donnachaidh wrote:I've only read more recent science fiction (I think to oldest I've really read is Ender's Game). So I don't have much experience with the writers forcing politics that others seem to have.

I disagree with what has been said about Eric Flint's writing, at least with the 1632 series. The books have a very consistent theme of "if it's 'blue collar' then it's good and right, if it's 'white collar' then it's bad and wrong." And to an extent it felt like it also 'pushed' (U.S.) right wing politics and values. Most of my family has what can be considered white collar jobs. I enjoy reading books and having discussions that challenge my views and opinions, but the consistent forced philosophy of those books felt like an attack on both my family and my opinions.

I agree with Drak, books should be about the story not the politics.

Part of what drew me into David Weber's books is his ability to write from the perspective of all sides and make you understand how what they do makes sense even if you completely disagree with their values. And that he doesn't push a specific agenda beyond not forcing others to follow your own beliefs.

DrakBibliophile wrote:Have you read Eric Flint's work? He is a "card carrying communist" by his own admission. [Wink]

Seriously, it may be a matter both your personal tastes and whiether or not the writer allows his politics to dominate his book.

Sheri Tepper writes 'science fiction' of a sort and she's far-left. Of course, her politics dominate her books.

Eric Flint writes 'science fiction' but is more interested to 'writing a good story' than spreading his politics. Of course, while he's a "card carrying communist" he definitely had little good to say about the Soviet Union.

Still it may be that (in general) left-wing writers are more interested in spreading their politics than in reader enjoyment. IMO any writer who ignores reader enjoyment in order to spread their politics doesn't write good stories. While I can't think right now of a 'right-wing' author who makes that mistake, I doubt that I'd enjoy that author.
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Re: Authorial Politics
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:46 pm

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Both Mike and Tom are interested IMO in first giving the reader a good read and secondly in giving their political points of view.

As for leftish writers, have you read anything by Tepper recently?

rofwh wrote:
DrakBibliophile wrote:Still it may be that (in general) left-wing writers are more interested in spreading their politics than in reader enjoyment. IMO any writer who ignores reader enjoyment in order to spread their politics doesn't write good stories. While I can't think right now of a 'right-wing' author who makes that mistake, I doubt that I'd enjoy that author.

So, Drak, you admit that you don't care much for the works of Tom Kratman or Mike Williamson.

Most of the old lefty writer of science fiction have passed on and the one's that are left are, like most science fiction writers, too busy with their day jobs to bother with 'writing political.'

Finally, I have to say that this is not a very enlightening topic. The thing is that military science fiction tends to attract folks who like the military and those folks' politics tend to be more righty. There are other kinds of science fiction whose writers write pretty good adventure stories with shooting and all that, but the politics are not righty. Or even lefty, usually. In fact, there is not much politics. In the writing, I mean.
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Re: Authorial Politics
Post by solbergb   » Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:52 pm

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DrakBibliophile wrote:As for the anti-white collar bias, well he has little good to say about corporation CEO's which does reflect his experience with working with labor unions.


Are you guys reading the same 1632 series I am?

He's got a CEO as head of the navy. The CEO wasn't a "good guy" in the first book but they realized they needed his organizational and military experience by 1633 and he (and his society wife) were major players by 1634. The townsfolk were suspicious of this visiting urban rich carpetbagger (he was there for a wedding) but once both sides got over their initial distrust he was far too experienced and his unique skillset and background were just too useful to leave him marginalized.

He's also got as a major subplot stock market shenanigans instigated by youthful Americans, including the darker side of getting greedy with that. Indeed much of the reason innovation is going on is that the uptimers introduced the concept of incorporation and venture capital on a wide scale, partly to break the guilds.

Doctors and teachers and heck, anyone with some education are highly valued, both "uptime" trained and "downtime" (the guys with practical experience of things like plague, merchant cartels, politics and such). As are administrators and accountants of all stripes. The clergy (both uptime and downtime) also get sympathetic treatment.

What are the white collar values being stomped on here? I see education and innovation as the key to individual success in the 1632verse, although it has to be backed by a political and military security that in the 21st century they could take for granted.

Just because he ALSO has been trying to break down class barriers and introduce the concept of fair wages for less educated workers to the 17th century and has some wild eyed faux-communist revolutionaries serving fast-food and the local union boss became the transplated town's first "president" doesn't mean he's presenting a one-sided world here.
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Re: Authorial Politics
Post by Donnachaidh   » Wed Feb 17, 2010 4:28 pm

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I'm not sure those values are so much traditional as that people have been told that they are. And the 'many of the left' are actually a vocal few that much of the left at least somewhat disagree with. Commentators on the left and on the right tend to jump to the extreme ends to get more viewers and better ratings. Because they're so visible it makes it seem like every one on their said says what they say.

White collar isn't just CEOs. White collar can be low and middle management too. Most people consider any job that keeps you inside and not doing physical labor all the time to be white collar (i.e. most medical, clerical, business, etc...). My issue was that he seemed to paint all of them with the same brush, which is what offended me. Maybe I need to try reading them again, it's been a couple years since I read any of them.

DrakBibliophile wrote:Eric's brand of Left-Wing Politics is about "bottom-up" change instead of the standard "top-down" leftish point of view.

I will say that he strongly holds traditional American values which are 'sneered at' by many of the left.

IMO what you're seeing are not "right-wing politics and values" but are traditional American values.

As for the anti-white collar bias, well he has little good to say about corporation CEO's which does reflect his experience with working with labor unions.
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Re: Authorial Politics
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:12 pm

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Well, I'm not sure if there is actually any. [Wink]


solbergb wrote:
DrakBibliophile wrote:As for the anti-white collar bias, well he has little good to say about corporation CEO's which does reflect his experience with working with labor unions.


Are you guys reading the same 1632 series I am?

He's got a CEO as head of the navy. The CEO wasn't a "good guy" in the first book but they realized they needed his organizational and military experience by 1633 and he (and his society wife) were major players by 1634. The townsfolk were suspicious of this visiting urban rich carpetbagger (he was there for a wedding) but once both sides got over their initial distrust he was far too experienced and his unique skillset and background were just too useful to leave him marginalized.

He's also got as a major subplot stock market shenanigans instigated by youthful Americans, including the darker side of getting greedy with that. Indeed much of the reason innovation is going on is that the uptimers introduced the concept of incorporation and venture capital on a wide scale, partly to break the guilds.

Doctors and teachers and heck, anyone with some education are highly valued, both "uptime" trained and "downtime" (the guys with practical experience of things like plague, merchant cartels, politics and such). As are administrators and accountants of all stripes. The clergy (both uptime and downtime) also get sympathetic treatment.

What are the white collar values being stomped on here? I see education and innovation as the key to individual success in the 1632verse, although it has to be backed by a political and military security that in the 21st century they could take for granted.

Just because he ALSO has been trying to break down class barriers and introduce the concept of fair wages for less educated workers to the 17th century and has some wild eyed faux-communist revolutionaries serving fast-food and the local union boss became the transplated town's first "president" doesn't mean he's presenting a one-sided world here.
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Re: Authorial Politics
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:14 pm

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Well, I wasn't sure what "white collar bias" or "right wing stuff" that you're seeing. [Smile]

Donnachaidh wrote:I'm not sure those values are so much traditional as that people have been told that they are. And the 'many of the left' are actually a vocal few that much of the left at least somewhat disagree with. Commentators on the left and on the right tend to jump to the extreme ends to get more viewers and better ratings. Because they're so visible it makes it seem like every one on their said says what they say.

White collar isn't just CEOs. White collar can be low and middle management too. Most people consider any job that keeps you inside and not doing physical labor all the time to be white collar (i.e. most medical, clerical, business, etc...). My issue was that he seemed to paint all of them with the same brush, which is what offended me. Maybe I need to try reading them again, it's been a couple years since I read any of them.

DrakBibliophile wrote:Eric's brand of Left-Wing Politics is about "bottom-up" change instead of the standard "top-down" leftish point of view.

I will say that he strongly holds traditional American values which are 'sneered at' by many of the left.

IMO what you're seeing are not "right-wing politics and values" but are traditional American values.

As for the anti-white collar bias, well he has little good to say about corporation CEO's which does reflect his experience with working with labor unions.
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Re: Authorial Politics
Post by namelessfly   » Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:56 am

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I got hammerred hard for starting a thread suggesting that the basic premise of Weber's Honorverse is Capitalist Manticore vs Socialist Haven. People were particularly incensed when I pointed out Manticore's voter eligibility criteria which requires you to be a tax payer rather than a wellfare case. People focused on Manticore's universal availability of prolong as proof that it was a socialist utopia that had remained economicly viable only because of the revenue from the wormhole junction. While I'll drop the issue in the HONORVERSE forum, I'll reiterate the point here.

While Manticore seems very captialistic, the social norms are very liberal. As the resident, lecherous old man on this forum, people find it difficult to understand why I respect traditional sexual tabboos. I'm basicly advocating that society has a Darwinian self interest in ensuring that the reproduction rate remains above the critical 2.1 child per woman and that it is far better than those children be raised in rather traditional families so that they don't become feral humans. I also don't think it is smart to have sexual norms that subject already aggressive young males to a Darwinian competition for access to females.

Interestingly, while the references to Adm Henke's promiscuity (Why is adm Henke like a locomotive?) and members of the Winton family recieve a first class sexual education, in ToF we see references to how the royal family also guards its young against premature, romantic relationships. I also find the idea of sexual promiscuity in a culture where third gen prolong keeps people in the early adolescent stage of physical development very disturbing. The young women look like jail bait and the young men are no doubt hung like hampsters (and not Space hampsters who are no doubt prodigeously endowed).
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Re: Authorial Politics
Post by rofwh   » Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:06 pm

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namelessfly wrote:I got hammerred hard for starting a thread suggesting that the basic premise of Weber's Honorverse is Capitalist Manticore vs Socialist Haven. People were particularly incensed when I pointed out Manticore's voter eligibility criteria which requires you to be a tax payer rather than a wellfare case. People focused on Manticore's universal availability of prolong as proof that it was a socialist utopia that had remained economicly viable only because of the revenue from the wormhole junction. While I'll drop the issue in the HONORVERSE forum, I'll reiterate the point here.

....


And this is a good example of how differing points of view actually do see and interpret things quite differently. I never saw Haven as a communist entity. It was more like a situation where the power elite ran things and kept the population in bread and circuses until the revolution swept them out and what was a truly totalitarian, quasi-Nazi government took over. And they were overthrown by...the military. This was a violent version of Portugal's Carnation Revolution, where the military got sick of the wars in Africa and took advantage of a power vacuum brought about by the fall (literally) of Salazar. And then a democratically elected Socialist government came to power. How Iberian.

Eric Flint certainly is more of a lefty than a righty. If label we must. But what he really is is a romantic. The blinded trooper's wife's story in the Belisarius books is one outstanding example of that. And an Assiti shard during a wedding, of all things? There was never so much pairing up in any science fiction book as there is in the 1632 books (forget the Gazette's--that stuff is gossip). And look how he (not DW, I bet) has Hugh and Berry end up in Torch. Is he the Nora Roberts of Science Fiction?
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Re: Authorial Politics
Post by namelessfly   » Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:24 am

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It is true that the fiction people enjoy tends to become a mirror that reflects their own, political beliefs. That being conceded, the rather detailed premise for the People's Republic of Haven's overwhelming economic motive for expansion was impossible to ingore in THE SHORT VICTORIOUS WAR. Later books such as WoH and AAC make the point that the demands of fighting the war with Manticore has restored the productivity of the Havenite people which ironicly eliminates the economic motive for the war. The PRH can make peace because it no longer needs to conquer its neighbors so that they can be taxed to support its welfare state.

I also view SciFi through the lens of my technological optimism. I'm in the Jerry Pournelle camp that is certain that the "energy crisis" is easily solved and that once you have abundant, cheap energy there can be no shortage of resources. Of course mindless extrapolation of population growth suggests otherwise, but I'm one of those pesky people who noticed that world population was at the inflection point back in the 1970s which means that population will peak at 7 to 8 billion which is uncomfortable for my taste but sustainable. While religious and political differences are the most obvious "cause" of war, one finds that wars generally do not occur unless there is a perceived need to fight over scarace resources.

While I disagree with the premise that the war on terror is a war for oil, I'm acutely aware of the fact that devoloping a clean, abundant, cost effective source of energy is the long term solution to the problem of islamic radicalism. To be blunt, if the world is no longer dependant on Arab oil, the islamic terrorists will no longer have the money to build nuclear weapons and the industrialized world will develope the testicular fortitude to impose serious sanctions to deter nuclear proliferation. Unfortunately; most of the alternative energy systems that are politically correct aren't cost competive unless oil is at about $200 to $300 per barrel which means that any country that cuts a deal with the arabs will be at an extreme, economic advantage.


While I enjoyed AVATAR (and not just because James Cameron was so successful in getting the alien breasts exactly right), the basic premise that humanity needed to conquer an indigenous species so that it could rape their environment was idiotic. The imagery of the star ship in the movie stimulated my technological speculations. I found a book recently whose title I can't recall that gave an amazingly detailed and plausible description of the starship's technology that conformed to my speculations. The bottom line is that if Humanity has the technology to build that starship, humanity has enormously abundant energy and no resource issues. One might argue that the "Unobtanium" is the foundation of that technology, but we never would have been able to build the first starship if we hadn't solved the energy resource issue. Also, as I pointed out to my son, the aliens were insane to allow the humans to access their ship. The energy of that starship's drive makes it a weapon that can literally slag a planet.

Getting back to the Honorverse, my interpretation of Weber's books which conforms to my technological optimism suggest that ultimately the core worlds of the Solarian Legue aren't going to be willing to wage the kind of war that a Manticoran/Havenite alliance can wage. In spite of the gross exploitation of the verge systems that Weber describes, the core worlds simply can't be economically dependent on this exploitation. It is simply not cost effective to conquer the verge systems so that they can be exploited when any goods that might be produced by their primitive economies can be produced so cheaply in automated factories.
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Re: Authorial Politics
Post by rafael   » Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:19 pm

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namelessfly wrote:Getting back to the Honorverse, my interpretation of Weber's books which conforms to my technological optimism suggest that ultimately the core worlds of the Solarian Legue aren't going to be willing to wage the kind of war that a Manticoran/Havenite alliance can wage. In spite of the gross exploitation of the verge systems that Weber describes, the core worlds simply can't be economically dependent on this exploitation. It is simply not cost effective to conquer the verge systems so that they can be exploited when any goods that might be produced by their primitive economies can be produced so cheaply in automated factories.

For the poor people of the South during The War Between the States their was no economic reason to fight if anything they would have been better off getting rid of the slaves because then they could get jobs etc. but the Southern elite said that this war is about freedom and repelling Yankee aggression and they got volunteers to fight. I think that the same thing will happen here in the league.
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