Saturday, June 26, 2021

Planetary Adventures Beyond the Boundaries!

Find it Here!

June is just around the corner, and I've got some fun new projects to share with you! As the NewPub and post-Hollywood landscape changes, so to does the increasing amount of interesting things to find out in the wild.

The first is a new anthology by DMR Books, featuring classic authors from the pulps and some of their more obscure stories (some of which have barely or never been reprinted) in  one packed collection. Just released, you can see the description here:

Heroic tales of sword-swinging adventure can sometimes be found in unlikely places—such as the pages of Golden Age science fiction magazines! Rather than being set in the dim past or a fantastic dream-world, the stories in this collection take place on other planets. Journey to Luna, Mars, and worlds even more distant with these classic tales by five masters of adventure science fiction!

Stories included:
“The Temple of Earth” by Poul Anderson
“World of the Dark Dwellers” by Edmond Hamilton
“The Eyes of Thar” by Henry Kuttner
“The Empress of Mars” by Ross Rocklynne
“Man of Two Worlds” by Bryce Walton

That's quite the lineup. A more intriguing collection of Futuristic Adventure tales has yet to be cobbled together. This is is the sort of thing that should have been put out by OldPub decades ago. however, we know very well why they weren't.

As for information about the stories themselves, such as where they ran or the years they released, you can find them in the book or listed below here:

"The Temple of Earth" ran in Rocket Stories (July, 1953)
"World of the Dark Dwellers" ran in Weird Tales (August, 1937)
"The Eyes of Thar" ran in Planet Stories (Fall, 1944)
"The Empress of Mars" ran in Fantastic Adventures (May, 1939)
"Man of Two Worlds" ran in Space Stories (October, 1952)

Once again, you can find Planetary Adventures from DMR Books here.

For something very different, check out the demo version of Coma State Eden, a currently in development video game! This one is a twin stick shooter influenced by the classics of the genre. the version at the link is only about 50% done, but it still looks quite appetizing, especially for those into classic gaming. The full version is on the way.

You can find the description below:

The sweet dream to your nightmare...!

Created for KADOKAWA Corporation & Active Gaming Media's Pixel Game Maker MV 'Game Development Challenge.'

Digital artist StudioDaeera (creator of Now You've Made Me Crabby) invites you to come and try out a new twist on twin stick shooters: an inspired love letter to classic shoot 'em ups! Fully utilizing the PGMMV Game Engine & featuring a kick-ass stereo chiptune soundtrack composed by Firespike33. You don't want to miss this arcade styled experience!

What happened to the unlucky people who fell into comas they couldn't wake up from...? A rare phenomenon that has puzzled doctors to this day. Many say it was only their poor health or genetics, but the victims claim to have seen an enigmatic spaceman who nullified the source of their coma—an age old evil he has battled time and time again...

It sounds like the stuff of dreams. Because it is.

  • Fire and level up your standard & specialty shot types to really bring the hurt!
  • Whip your Flash Shield out at enemy projectiles for stronger counterattacks!
  • Build up the Lucid Gauge, then trigger your all-powerful Lucid Mode in a pinch!
  • Battle the Coma State together with your very own Double in local 2 player co-op!

For more on CSE,
check out its Wiki page!
Attract Mode

Once again, Coma State Eden can be found here.

It's been one heck of a summer so far, and there's still a few months left! Hope you're ready, because this train isn't stopping anytime soon.

Things are getting really exciting, as they should be.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Science Fiction Doesn't Exist [Part IV: Crude Delusions]

Once more into the fray. Join us as we continue our journey into the mutation that is Fandom. Don't worry, we are very close to the end, or we will be after this entry is complete. We've already covered some of the nastier claims in Sam Lundwall's book, but we're not quite done yet. There is still more strangeness to be found ahead.

It goes without saying that the "Science Fiction & Fantasy" dichotomy was formed in a foreign era with different assumptions about the way the world works. The mentality that led to this distinction doesn't exist anymore, however we still follow the groundwork laid down by this outdated modernist notion. Since the pulp magazine was first created there have been hardcore science nuts attempting to enshrine their newfound religion into secular scripture by taking control of the stories normal people consume. They had to do it, you see. Paradise was near, and we just required the right push to get to it. The result? widespread death of the hobby and the scene that formed it.

You might be tempted to scoff at it now, many do, but in the 20th century we had seen the largest jump in technological understanding in recorded history, which led many into the belief that utopia was just a stone throw away. We invented the internal combustion engine and television, therefore curing evil was right around the corner. Surely as our proficiency with science grew so would our understanding of the human mind to eliminate all Bad Things. It only makes sense from a secular standpoint. Times were only improving!

But we've since been through the 20th century, and we know better. None of that happened, and it will never happen. Not only that, but the mentality that led people to think up the "Science Fiction & Fantasy" dichotomy into existence doesn't itself exist anymore. Nobody is a 20th century materialist anymore. Their beliefs have "evolved" with the times.

We live in what is essentially a whole different world. Therefore we need to reassess what got us here and what we can do to improve things for the better. The answer to the question of how to do it is not one many are going to want to hear. But it is inevitable.

Ejecting the 20th century into the  rearview mirror is paramount.

An entirely different time.

We've already moved on, most of us just haven't realized it yet. It is time to accept the truth and eject the baggage of the past weighing us down. Most people would agree with this, even if they disagree with just what should be thrown out and what should be kept. The fact of the matter is that we've been living in the shadow of false idols for far too long.

You can't kill the past, but you can learn and grow from it. This is a lesson we all can learn to build a better future. Fandom has failed, as have their philosophies. They must be reassessed and understood for what they were and what they were doing.

Constructing a society around materialism is a no-go. Aside from it clearly not being true, it is also not really believed in by anyone. There are no pure materialists, even if some aspire to being one. That shipped sailed with the 1900s, and it isn't coming back.

Yes, there are those who cling to boxed products or brands as material comfort, but those people are attempting to fill a hole inside themselves, and that is a whole different sort of issue worth discussing. However, a spiritual issue is still a spiritual issue. It's also only half the story. These same types would argue intangible things such as human rights or love exists without batting an eye. This is a far cry from putting faith in only that which you can see.

True 100% hard-bitten materialists don't really exist anymore, and what few remain are of the Baby Boomer generation, still marinating in the afterglow of an age they haven't realized ended with their misspent youth. The Very Modern views of the 20th century have passed their shelf life, and their dated ways have ended. That era is over, and it's not coming back.

What this does is make a lot of entertainment from that time age like a carcass left on the side of the road in the hot summer sun. Reading commentary from this time period ends up no longer feeling like authoritative word (which it never was, much as they'd like to think) and instead come across as what they are: obvious attempts to seize control of ideas and terms they never had the right to. We lost so much by letting subversives dictate the world to us.

For instance, the next chapter of Sam Lundwall's book on "Science Fiction," a chapter called Out in the Unknown, starts out talking about Westerns like this:

"This run-of-the-mill Wild West story doesn't seem to be able to defend its place in a book on science fiction—and indeed it does not. But substitute the sullen Comanches for the equally sullen V'Leegs of some distant frontier planet, the horse for a "pink running-beast," the white settlers for Earthmen and the gun for a blaster, and you suddenly have the opening sequences of a "science fiction" story by a well-known sf writer which tells of how the lean-hipped and broad-shouldered hero Barchay returns to the V'Leeg village to have a look at his mixed-breed son, the result of an earlier visit to the local chieftain's daughter. story is as much science fiction as the quoted opening implies, which is nothing. Now, I don't have anything against Wild West stories, not even one based on a plot as old and feeble as this one—but I dislike badly written Wild West, and I object most strongly to having it masqueraded as science fiction. Unfortunately, this example is far from unique."

See as you will an attempt to scrub heroic fiction from his concocted genre because tales of heroes simply aren't "science focused" enough. Note that you will that before "Science Fiction" existed, this was all the same genre, and no one argued against it. When Fandom created their fabricated frame, suddenly classical material like this had no place within it.


However, no one can really describe what gives them the right to do this revision in the first place. The central point of adventure stories are to present adventures for the audience. This is what the above story he is referencing does, it just so happens to take place in the future. Hence, it is a futuristic adventure. Whether he likes it or not, it is a valid approach to storytelling. This is more of Fandom's precious Sturgeon Law, meant to divide Fandom works as the 10% and classical storytelling for the masses as the 90% trash. Don't fall for it.

And in proper terms the above tale is a Futuristic Adventure, a story that has always existed. He is not allowed to say it no longer exists because he wishes to change the terminology. And yet as the 20th century went on more and more boxes were invented to explain away everything that didn't fall inside their own playground. The only reason Fandom does this is because such tales cannot be so easily used as propaganda--and propaganda is the point.

When you want to seize control of something, you create purity tests to keep out undesirables. You don't, after all, want to be ejected from your own space. You just finished usurping it yourself, after all. It's expert deception at work.

"Theodore Sturgeon, one of the most brilliant writers of science fiction, has said that "a science fiction story is a story built around human beings, with a human problem, and a human solution, which would not have happened at all without its scientific content." 

This is meaningless and not based on any sort of historical definition. It's also nonsense. "Scientific content" is a vague floating term meant to be applied only when the user has personal opinions on the content. It is only used for gatekeeping, not definition.

We know this, because all the "subgenres" they created over the years were made just for this purpose. And again, they do not have authority to do any of this.

"Damon Knight, another of the living giants of the genre, has suggested that the word "speculative" should be inserted before "scientific," which would "clearly divide true science fiction from even the best imitations."

Futuristic Adventure fiction is not "imitating" Science Fiction, whatever that is meant to be. It is adventure fiction, a genre which supersedes what he is attempting to define. Believe me, no one with taste wants to be confused with tract fiction.

There is a strange fascination cultists have with their play-pretend genre, and that is to assume anyone writing Futuristic Adventures want desperately to be let in their poor-selling clique and are gnashing their teeth because their "Fantasy" garbage just doesn't live up to the "Classics" of the clubhouse. Tut-tut! Those "Fantasy" hacks! Simply look at how everything from space opera to whatever new wave was supposed to be to pulps have had many in the clique attempt to redefine their "genre" over the years. Talk about arrogance and blatant revisionism at work.

We already know this "genre" was created to enshrine materialist propagandists anyway. They aren't even good at that part of their job. Why in the world would anyone want to be a part of this club? Clearly, most do not. There is a bigger tradition to be a part of.

And here's the elephant in the room: Damon Knight has, and has never had, any authority that wasn't given to him by subversive Fanatics.

If Knight can "suggest" definitions, then why can't I not suggest throwing the entire term his lot made up out? Because Fanatics like him? It doesn't work that way, I'm afraid. You cannot keep making addendums to your pet theory in order to get the desired result you want. If a term cannot be explained in less space than a short story then I might suggest you don't understand the point of tags: which are to simplify explanations, not convolute them. And we well know there is nothing simple about this term: and this obscuration is deliberate.

That fact that a century of this nonsense still has people twisting like pretzels to carve a synonym for "good" out of their materialist sculpture is silly. Just close the book on this nonsense and move on. The rest of the world already has.

"Even without Damon Knight's amendment, the quoted story is revealed for what it is: a very, very crude imitation, using the symbols of science fiction without any of their meanings. Knight's amendment makes it even more obvious: this is definitely not science fiction."

This is a deceptive argument. The quoted story was not "pretending" to be anything, or attempt to rub shoulders with an elite clique of big brains. It was a futuristic adventure story of a type which predates your moronic terminology! You are the one out line here. You are the crude imitation. And yet to this day there are those that argue in the manner Lundwall just did while using frames that are completely invalid for discussion. The truth is that it's all the same genre, but your preferred slice is the lowest selling part of it because audiences don't care for propaganda. Accept the truth, and move on. The wider audience already has.

When you do what Lundwall just did above, do you understand you have no authority to do this? Your categories are artificial and based on outdated and since-replaced schools of modern thought. You are arguing from a 1940 position in 2021, which was in turn attempting to argue a 1940 position on 1910 fiction.

Do you understand how nonsensical this is yet?

This entire chapter is an attempt to denigrate space opera and adventure from a position of someone who hates heroism and wants it ejected from his holy shrine. No one takes into account that this is why the term "Science Fiction" was invented to begin with: to uncouple virtues from the conversation of what makes a wonder story. All of a sudden "corny" is a pejorative and "silly" science is marked as a faux pas meant to be mocked. Terms no normal person cares about but which are still foisted upon them to this very day.

"A story like Jack Williamson's The Legion of Space, while packed to the gills with Sense-of-Wonder, must necessarily seem very crude in comparison with the sophisticated mainstream writing of the time. Critics were still largely overlooking the unique merits of this admittedly crude science fiction, pointing out only the low literary standards."

Do you know who reads 20th century literature? Nobody, because it is objective trash. Postmodern hedonism and sex obsession filled the racks of bookstores and sent everyone in the other direction. And yet, to this day, Fandom begs to be let into their barren playground. They don't want to be where the people dwell--they want to be where their masters live.

It would be easier to take any of these claims of gatekeepers from types like Lundwall seriously if they weren't so keen to be accepted by people who will never accept them. They openly admit that they respect these upper class perverts more than the knuckle-dragging normies who enjoy space opera and adventure. Not only that, but they will burn every pulp story in existence just to prove how much they deserve to sit at the cocktail party with the rest of the degenerates. They will do anything to be enshrined by this holy class.

And yet you let this lot define the terms for you.

"Let me exemplify with the grand old master of the Space Opera, E. E. Smith, Ph.D. (1890-1965), or "Doc" Smith as he was called by his faithful readers, whose galactic sagas containing mile-long space ships, spectacular space battles between the galaxies, Bug-Eyed Monsters and heroes and villains literarily out of this world, has made its author the target of considerable criticism both from without and within sf circles. His exploitation of science is sheer madness, and is apt to give even the most indulgent reader headaches. It is, however, not the scientific validity that is central in E. E. Smith's space yams. When he started writing his debut novel The Skylark of Space in 1915, few had dared to venture outside the solar system in science fiction. The sf writers cautiously kept themselves to the thoroughly beaten tracks of Jules Veme and the Utopian societies. E. E. Smith threw up the gates to the great unknown, the infinite universe where everything could happen, where no accepted theories held force and insecurity was at a maximum. 

"It was the vision that was important, not the loyalty to accepted science. Out there was an unknown universe that no one had dared to look at, and E. E. Smith, who couldn't write two sentences without becoming pathetic, gazed out into it with both eyes. Science had to bend knees for the Sense-of-Wonder, and the literary quality was a secondary matter. The sf readers willingly overlooked his nonexistent writing talents. They were looking for other things."

For a genre supposed based on intellect, self-awareness is still a pipe dream for certain folks. He came so close to realizing that his non-existent genre doesn't serve the needs of the public, but pulled back when he remembered that they don't actually matter in what he is trying to do. What matters is non-existent literary credibility from some mythical governing body of deviants. Getting your holy book as mandatory scripture reading in the public school temples is paramount. No one should read for fun: they should read to be "educated" only.

Readers have never wanted anything other than imaginative stories of adventure and wonder. Escapism has always been the goal for normal people. The fact that they moved on to other mediums to find it after genre fiction ditched them for "credibility" should say it all. The audience stopped getting what they wanted, so they found it somewhere else.

Why would they stay? There is nothing left for them here.

"Since the days of E. E. Smith, the literary standards of science fiction have risen considerably. We now have great numbers of writers in the field who have the Sense-of-Wonder and literary abilities to translate this into enjoyable form."

And yet the most popular version of the "genre" was a 1977 movie that was essentially a pastiche of old pulp magazines, movies, and serials. the very type of story Lundwall's clique flushed out by the end of the 1930s and attempted to wedge out of Planet Stories is the 1940s. Ever since they chased out adventure they'd been doing their best to keep it out.

But it was all for naught.

The literary form never surpassed E.E. Smith in popularity. The above quote is cope that gets more depressing as the years go on. The audience wants wonder and adventure, they always have, and they always will.

""The wilting suspension of disbelief" that Coleridge designated as one of the poet's chief aims the sf writer achieves by creating worlds of illusion that are highly unfamiliar, yet made believable by a logically constructed background for the story—logical, that is, according to its own terms; and peopled by people acting logically out of the assumptions implicit in the construction of the imaginary world. This imaginary world still stands far away from our reality, but it is nevertheless there. It works in a logical way."

This is just basic fiction writing. Every writer does this. The point is to present a coherent vision in order to stick the reader into the action without letting them getting ejected from it. Internal consistency is something every good writer strives for. No genre has a monopoly on this, and to say otherwise misunderstands storytelling.

The question is if your version of "logical" hangs on outdated fashionable philosophies, or on older eternal truths. We know which one pulps attempted to reach, and which one Fandom went for. therefore, by definition, one is more limited in wonder than the other.

"There are, of course, writers who don't give a fig for logic, being content with presenting the idea all by itself. The grand example of this is Ray Bradbury, who is scared to death of anything remotely connected with science and obviously doesn't have the faintest inkling of elementary scientific facts."

Nobody cares. Bradbury's success came because of the ideas he was presenting; ideas which you say are the point of your genre. But because it isn't hinged on dated materialistic nonsense it doesn't count. This is not a genre--this is a purity test.

Which is all this is, by the way. It's a secret handshake to get into a secret club. The more ridiculous thing is that anyone would to be let in to begin with.

"It says No HomerS. We're allowed one."

If anything, you should be framing a genre around what Bradbury did instead of trying to lock him out, since he was actually successful at doing exactly what you wanted. But that category already exists--it's horror. Weird fiction.

And you can't weaponize that so well.

"His science fiction works are essentially anti-Utopian, depicting, as in Fahrenheit 451, a society where writers aren't appreciated at all; or The Pedestrian, which takes place in a future where it is forbidden to walk alone at night in the city. The future is bringing science and change and, like J. R. R. Tolkien, this scares the author. Science is bad, he seems to say; everything new is bad. Only the twenties were good."


"Bradbury is one of the few science fiction writers who have been accepted in literary circles. The reason for this indulgent attitude can be discussed, but it certainly isn't because of his plots. It is, of course, nice having the literati on one's side, although putting the emphasis—as in Bradbury's case—on qualities springing not from science fiction's own unique merits but on literary merits present in any best-selling slick fiction, I think they are doing the genre a great disservice. Science fiction is a field with its own qualities and possibilities, and it should be recognized not for its handling of standard literary tools but for its handling of tools and themes unique for the field. Many sf writers of today are quite eager to push sf into mainstream literature, thus perhaps gaining a larger audience. Myself, I do not think this is either possible or desirable. It would be, I fear, to yank out its teeth, making it yet one of the many domestic house-trained fields of literature. Science fiction is not the greatest literature in the world, but it has certain valuable properties. I would like to keep those undiluted."

I've never edited someone else's work before, but this entire passage is such a diary entry that has next to nothing to do with anything that I would have slashed it right out. Aside from whining about the wrong people rubbing elbows with his hallowed literary types and getting there the wrong way with the wrong fiction, this is just elitist crybaby nothingness.

You can't push your genre into wider acceptance because normal people instinctively shrink from it. They do that because it's completely nonsensical to normal human thought, especially as we get further away from the 20th century and it divorces from observable reality. The genre you mutated from, adventure, already pleases the audience in other mediums. They want nothing to do with what this manufactured fandom has to offer, and they never will, no matter how you attempt to gatekeep alternatives from them. The pulps will always be more influential than everything you try to create in order to replace them. Deal with it.

The only thing Lundwall finds valuable about his "genre" is its usefulness as a social tool--a tool that no longer has any value as too many people are now readily aware of how the sausage is made when it comes to story themes. We are far too self-aware these days to read this stuff without rolling our eyes. This isn't bragging, it's just truth. And his message fiction is not and has never been subtle about any of its utopian propaganda.

"I understand that "entertain" and "amuse" are singularly dirty words in literary circles, nevertheless I firmly believe a good story should do both of these things. Science fiction usually does; it might be the heritage from the lamented pulp magazines."

We almost got four from adding two and two together on that one. But the narrative takes precedence over truth.

"The literary world is crowded with ivory towers housing unappreciated geniuses. Happily, we don't have much of this in science fiction—yet. A science fiction writer who finds it beneath his dignity to be thought-provoking and entertaining doesn't stay long in the field." 

This is half the reason why there is no longer any field to speak of today. The other half is that this cobbled genre has no relevance in the modern world--its entrenched modernism is dated and dead. Fandom's ego drove it into the ground to the point where even their biggest writer organization has no power to do anything about troll reviews on websites.

Enshrining artists and entertainers as a priest class has been a disaster for art and entertainment. all it has done is degrade all involved.  Hopefully we will know better next time.

"Science fiction has always been somewhat unorthodox, in this, as well as other respects. Being based mainly on the question What would happen if ... it often has no use for the standard literary tools of mainstream fiction, and is, consequently, hard to judge by the gauges used for fiction describing familiar and predictable situations. It presents an equation that consists of nothing but unknowns."

He keeps mentioning this notion as a defining trait, and it still makes no sense. Every single piece of fiction comes from the idea "What would happen if . . ." without exception. Every single one. This is what makes it a fictional story to begin with--it didn't happen and we are imagining it happening. Again, no genre has the monopoly on imagination.

Simply making the "speculation" about the advancement of materialistic studies does not change the core nugget of the story--it is still about people solving a mystery, going on an adventure, facing horror, or falling in love. It is still about something else. The chrome plating does not change the genre: what the reader gets out of it does. Imagining futures unlike our own is admirable, but it being tied to modern material science is a frame that is no longer relevant in the current day. Material science is only part of the picture, and audiences don't want to settle for that part now, if they ever did. Judging by sales, they probably never did.

Imagination comes first. The more you deliberately limit yourself the less the audience is going to be invested. Lovecraft is still king because he didn't do that.

While describing a story from Robert Heinlein, Mr. Lundwall almost gets it again:

"Now, none of the values applicable to ordinary fiction can be used to judge this story-except that one about entertainment and readability. The story has no central character; no psychological depth in describing the protagonist is needed. He is merely a pawn caught in a paradox of time; in a sense, time itself and its effects is the central character. It is a dazzling show of speculative logic, based on assumptions that do not exist here and now, but still are extremely fascinating."

Bold emphasis is mine. In other words, it is a futuristic adventure story. There is nothing about it that requires it be made into a genre separate from his cobbled together "Fantasy" half except that material science somehow gives it more credibility for his imagination to accept. But the majority of readers don't read for "science" or "fantasy" they are reading for wonder and excitement. None of them would care if it felt "plausible" or not, just if it is internally consistent.

This is even more true now than when it was in this supposed "Golden Age" of a genre that hemorrhaged readers was around. The true Golden Age of the '20s and '30s retains its influence to this day for a very good reason. They understood what audiences wanted.

By creating these boxes, the only thing that happened is that writers and readers became limited in the type of stories they were allowed to tell and read. Fandom managed to enshrine their pet projects while shoving off what they hated into manufactured ghettos. Literature should be based on imagination first, and this 20th century idea is anything but.

"Philip José Farmer has written a beautiful story, Sail On, Sail On, set in a parallel world in which the Church has taken a more positive stand toward the sciences than it has done in our world, in which Columbus' flagship is equipped with radio, and—as a final touch—the Earth really is flat. Columbus flops over the edge with a bewildered splash and America remains undiscovered, because there is no America.

But I guess bad science is okay when the writer presents ideas we like. Space westerns are impossible but this isn't because of convoluted cultist logic. Readers, again, don't care about any of this. They just want to be entertained. But their masters believe proper education is more important. It's no wonder that no one reads anymore.

Then when describing a parallel universe novel (because science, again, doesn't really matter, I guess) he repeats the same worn out claptrap:

"This is science fiction's "message" of the changing world again; that nothing should be taken at face value, that nothing will go on being what it is. We might cling desperately to the good old ways, hoping for security in conservatism, but we are only fooling ourselves. "Nothing is permanent except our illusions," Sheckley says in his novel. He is so right."

Turns out he was wrong, and not in a way any of Fandom could have foreseen. Mostly because they aren't very good at "foreseeing" anything.

This is the 20th century idea of progress, folks. Something that existed for a small bubble of modernity, sealed off from the rest of time and existence and only popped up because of a temporary boom in material success. Future generations will find this sort of attitude absolutely puzzling, but this is what it was at the time.

They tried to destroy adventure fiction because they needed to believe in the lie of eternal progress towards utopia. It was coming at any moment and the one who wrote the best manual for it would have statues built in their honor to be placed outside the golden communes beside the street orgies. It was going to happen any day now, so get those daydreams of adventures out of your head. The future is coming!

At this point I should give the reminder that Lundwall speculated we would be traveling on starships by 2025 and missing Earth in misplaced nostalgia. All this progress we would ignore to look at a worse past. Boy, look at all that progress since 1971. I'm heading to Jupiter next week. How about you? Utopia is almost here!

This doesn't take into account how backwards the above quote ended up being, either. These "progressives" ended up being the ones stuck in the past. While we attempt to live in the 21st century, Fandom wants to keep us tied to the failures of the 20th century, their outdated frames and organizations still pushing ideology over story.

It turned out most of us wish to eject the modern paradigm while those in his field instead push movements that want to imagine mundane futures where not even space travel is possible. "Futurists" constantly dwell on the past while "Traditionalists" want to move on from this postmodern nightmare. This is the exact opposite of what he and his ilk thought would happen. The lie of eternal progress has finally been exposed.

There is no rule of progress. It was a hope taken from a group of people who took in their limited experience of existence and thought to apply it to all of reality. They were incorrect in their assumptions, and so were they to try to fashion a "genre" out of the scraps of better genres to fellate themselves with. Everyone is religious, whether they know it or not.

Such a strange mentality even effects what Fanatics are frightened by. Reading Lundwall describing horror is a horrifying sight in itself.

"This way of regarding our everyday world as something entirely different from what we think it is, has resulted in probably the most chilling horror story I have ever read, Mimic, by Donald A. Wollheim. It features monsters of a particularly repulsive type, but it is not the monsters as such that makes this story so effective—it is the implications given by the story. Ghouls and ghosts and the like scarcely scare anyone nowadays, not even if they appear in a modem or futuristic setting. What Wollheim did in this story—and I believe he was the first to spot this approach—was to create a truly modern terror tale, telling of a kind of insect that adopted a protective mimicry suitable to make them survive in a modern city. They look—almost—like men. But the overcoat and hat is all part of the insect's body. This is not as farfetched as it might seem—nature has endowed many otherwise defenseless animals with a protective mimicry that makes them look like other and more dangerous creatures. It could as well happen to man, only there are no insects as big as man—as far as we know. 

"Nature practices deceptions in every angle," Wollheim says in the story. "Evolution will create a being for any niche that can be found, no matter how unlikely."

There isn't anything uniquely scary about this on a conceptual level. Perhaps if you don't believe in spiritual dimensions it might be. But someone who doesn't understand the implications of why ghouls and ghosts might be terrifying to begin with wouldn't understand what true horror is. Fear is about much more than death, but many pundits do not understand this.

If the worst thing that happens in your story is that you die then it is not frightening. You can die falling down stairs. You can die from eating bad meat. You can die sleeping. It's just a fact of life. What makes something frightening is the implication of where the situation could lead the character's very soul. Scary monsters are tools, not the point.

This material view of existence stunted creativity and looks increasingly foreign and alien as the times change. A lot of so-called modern "horror" is going to be completely bizarre and outright alien in the future.

"This is, in fact, what in my eyes makes science fiction unique in contemporary literature: the willingness and ability to step out from the familiar environment and using a more or less alien situation as the basis for a logical sequence of events that might or might not have some relevance to us. This is also what has compelled many science fiction writers to do away with the time-honored literary tools like characterization and such that—while a fantastic tool in the hands of, for example, Dostoevski—never can achieve the same usefulness in science fiction where the central character is not man himself but his environment. In order to describe new things you must have new literary tools. This is also the reason why the "New Wave" authors now find themselves in a dead end; instead of turning to new forms they have turned back to the old literary tools of surrealism, an art form that was dead thirty years ago."

What makes this ironic is that so-called "New Wave" writers such as Brian Aldiss, Roger Zelazny, Philip K. Dick, and Harlan Ellison, all had more influence on the "field" and outside of it than anyone else since the pulps did. All of Mr. Lundwall's heroes have all more or less faded away with the end of the century, but all the above still have quite some impact remaining. And yet Fandom hated them the entire time they were creating.

"Forms" are novelty. They don't matter. Stories do. They matter far more than artificial ideology ever will.

Speaking of stories and ideologies, I'd be remiss if I didn't share this quote:

"The novel Starship Troopers (1959), with its naïve worship of the military establishment, is distasteful and excelled only by his Farnham's Freehold (1964), a novel of the distant future wherein the Negroes have taken power with no house-trained Uncle Toms in sight. Heinlein's archetypical hero functions as a mouthpiece for Heinlein's anti-Negro philosophy, when he doesn't stand at attention by the flag or tell his children that Charity Begins at Home and It Should Stay There, Dammit."

Heads up: I'm going to skim the rest of this chapter. Now we're just getting off track. All he does for most of it is prop up Asimov and Heinlein as perfection in literary form. You can already get this by reading a Damon Knight screed or two or the dozen of boomer books on the "Golden Age" of their replacement religion.

Mr. Lundwall also starts repeating himself a lot. when I say this book is horribly edited, I am not exaggerating. It's shocking how bad it is. The editor also didn't catch blatant contradictions in the writer's own points.

"Asimov and Heinlein as well as other "old" sf writers are today regarded by the way-out "New Wave" advocates as old-fashioned and highly illiterate. In short, they ain't hip enough. The "New Wave" of today is turning back to the old surrealism of Alfred Jarry and Boris Vian, which of course is new for science fiction, although hardly new as a literary technique. The main difference is, I think, a difference in attitudes, a basic distrust on the part of the "New Wave" in the theme of inevitable change that is the undercurrent of all good science fiction. What the "New Wave" seems to say is, in effect, that if it is new, it must be bad, and if it looks good it must surely hide a rotten core somewhere."

This is masterful projection. Mr. Lundwall's theory is that everything he doesn't like is heretical against the Change God and secretly a subversive who wishes to overturn his idols. Now, the pulps? They had to go. They were outdated and crude, appealing to normies and subhuman idiots. His drek? now, this would lead us to a greater future so it is a valuable tradition to be upheld. Anything that goes against the One True Faith, like the vague "New Wave" lot with that moniker given to the then-modern non-propagandists, must be destroyed.

And it also doesn't change that both those hated groups of his had far more influence and penetration in the wider culture of art and entertainment than his own pet favorites did. Fandom just can't catch a break!

But somehow, they always win. Always!

"We can see this difference clearly in most experimental sf of today, as compared to the more "orthodox" sf. The "New Wave" of today is very, very pessimistic, whereas science fiction in general is not. There is of course a lot of social criticism in all science fiction, there must always be, but it is usually of the constructive kind, offering new ideas and sometimes solutions, not just death-wishes."

Imagine if 1971 Sam J. Lundwall saw the "field" today. All it consists of are barren stories of mundane futures based on grief politics and nothing but muddy, subversive moods with no optimism or hope to be found away from a boot crushing the bad people forever. The pessimism of "New Wave" is nothing compared to what we have now.

"Science fiction stands out by its ability to cope with the changes of environment, values and conduct, and if you take that away, you have nothing left except a literature screaming bloody murder at the slightest hint of anything new and unsuspected."

Perhaps he sees such things because "Science fiction" isn't based on human behavior, but a specific mentality shared by a small set of people who lived a bubble wrapped existence away from the chaos of the 19th century and the wild frontier of the 21st. It isn't based on observable reality or history, which is why it doesn't resonate with anyone outside of a tiny group in a certain time and place. It has no relevance to non-Fanatics

This is why he needs to so heavily police and purity-test it when no other genre needs to do this. The reason its dying is because it was always false and held together with glue and popsicle sticks. Everyone outside of Fandom has always known this, though.

"New Wave" came as a reaction to what said writers regarded as false, just as the pulps were buried by those who hated them. The "New Wave" weren't incorrect in their assumptions, as the people they were supposedly overthrowing attempted to do the same to their predecessors. Turnabout is fair play. They wouldn't have reacted that way if they had a proper tradition to follow on, but the "field" prided itself on destruction of traditions to begin with, so that is what they got in return. Eventually, you get everything you deserve.

And now their "field" is destroyed. So much for keeping out the riffraff.

"This literature is, of course, significant and even interesting as a sign of the sickness in our time, but I think we've had a little too much of it during the last years."

I agree, but not for the reasons Mr. Lundwall would think.

"At its best, science fiction is a magnificent vehicle for social analysis, as well as entertainment, pointing out bad solutions and offering new ones, speculating on the end-products of processes already at work, experimenting with entirely new concepts and their effects on man and his world. This is something that no other branch of fiction can do, and this is enough to give science fiction a unique position. The main body of science fiction is indeed doing this, and anti-future, anti-change and anti-man writings of the "New Wave" type are really nothing but a small, though extremely vociferous, footnote to the genre. Science fiction cannot but gain by experimentation with new forms and ideas,  but this experimentation should be done with an adult mind, looking forward into the future rather than running away from it. The moment we lose our Sense-of-Wonder and become scared instead of interested in what we see, be it good or bad, and refuse to cope with these new assumptions to the best of our abilities, we won't have science fiction anymore."

If the one thing that makes your genre unique can be ejected by a significant group in it and can also be done by books outside said genre then the genre in question doesn't exist. It's, again, simply a purity test designed by gatekeepers.

It also doesn't help that this supposed "footnote" overshadowed every anti-pulp change made to the "field" after the 1930s ended. There isn't anything else that comes close from the literary world. This makes Mr. Lundwall's above claims doubly dubious.

What also makes this funny is how the purveyors of the field act now, afraid of change, terrified of voices that say the wrong things, and reject anyone who doesn't write in the same uniform corporate-approved workshop-style that has never sold a single book for anyone. Everything he describes his "field" as is literally the opposite of observable reality.

The only question is if Mr. Lundwall today still thinks his "field" is the same as it was when he wrote this book, or if it just naturally "evolved" to literally go against everything he has been going on about in this work. Who knows? But it is an inevitable end to the clubhouse.

This is what happens when your "genre" has no respect for tradition and merely rolls with the times based on the whims of Fanatics. What is this "genre" even supposed to be? We still don't have a concrete definition after nearly a century of definition dodgeball. You'll still see arguments about it online to this very day. There is no agreed upon definition.

There never will be, because "Science Fiction" doesn't exist.

Now we move on to the next chapter. This one is called Women, Robots, and Other Peculiarities. Considering this author kept bringing up sex and respectful treatment of women unprovoked I'm sure there won't be anything weird in this chapter.

We begin with another wild claim:

"Science fiction is on the whole a very progressive literature when it comes to freedom and equality, but there are things in the field that can make even the most narrow-minded prelate look like a veritable light-bearer. Foremost among these dark spots stands Woman. Robots and green monsters are often treated in a way that is far from enviable, but robots nowadays are socially acceptable and usually described as man's best friends; and green monsters have, since the merry monster days of the pulp magazines, risen in the ranks to wise creatures equipped with all human attributes except appearance. The woman in science fiction remains what she was, a compulsory appendage."

And certainly naming a chapter and filing women, monsters, and robots, into one category fixes this supposed issue.

"I will give a telling example from the leading sf magazine Analog (February 1969). The cover of this particular issue is adorned with a fair young woman, holding a cute little baby in her motherly arms. The picture relates to the novelette A Womanly Talent, written by Anne McCaffrey (a woman, mind you!) considered one of the best sf writers of today. The novelette contains an illustrative picture of a space woman's everyday life. Lajos, the hero, has come to Ruth to get some consolation after a failure:"

He then goes on to describe a lengthy and rather steamy passage from the story before concluding with the following:

"This is, in a nutshell, the most modern view on womanhood in science fiction. The holy cry seems to be "Woman, know thy place!" and even though women usually are present in the space ships, they are generally treated like some kind of inferior creature."

I shouldn't have to explain why this example is stupid, since he probably could have used a much better one to bend his ridiculous point towards its goal. Nonetheless, using a woman writer as an example of why women aren't written like they should be is the sort of ridiculousness I expect from anti-social non-genre such as this. "Woman, know thy place!" is a rally cry of bad thinkers! Anyway, this woman should know her place! There was no editor for this book. I'm sure of it.

We shouldn't expect one who doesn't understand romance in the slightest to understand just why these sorts of things exist to begin with. It is taste. There is no nefarious purpose to McCaffrey's story except to titillate, which seems to be what Mr. Lundwall wants. However, we must remember that he prefers onscreen sex and nudity to kissing or hugging or traditional husband and wife interactions. The more graphic and explicit the more progressive it is.

"Love scenes between hero and heroine are generally not encouraged, even though some sort of marital bliss usually is hinted at as a reward for faithful service."

Yes, this is the goal in all adventure stories. The final reward is love, matrimony, and children to carry on into the future. It is reaffirming life and purpose. Anything less than that is not the happy ending it could be. What is preferable? Being lonely, miserable, and in a dead end city job for the rest of your life? Perhaps this was the goal of a 20th century progressive, but from the 21st century this looks as shallow and empty as the statistics bear it out to be.

Lundwall then does what he has done several times in this book: he cherry-picks examples to prove a thesis that has little to no bearing with reality.

It's actually quite ironic watching him grind his teeth over happy families in fiction and decrying them as outdated when we've been living in his preferred world for over half a century and it has been nothing but a dismal failure. "Change" hasn't quite been the friend it was means to be. Perhaps because it is not a god.

Consider the following passage:

"In a world where women at last are beginning to be recognized as human beings, science fiction still clings to the views of last century. If a daring member of one of the current women's liberation movements stepped out into the men's world of the future, she'd probably be shot on sight. The Gothic writer Horace Walpole once dubbed the suffragettes "hyenas in petticoats," and while the sf writers of today are not that bad, they still hold to the old mother-children-and-kitchen image as far as women are concerned."

Speaking of clinging to the last century. This is a bit of rhetoric that is as 20th century and dated as it can get. It completely throws out taste and preferences to concoct a narrative that makes people evil for wanting things that have been considered natural longer than this "genre" has even existed. This book could have been written by a 20th Century bot to fill in all the details. But that was a "change" that didn't exist at the time.

Imagine hating uncountable centuries of tradition because some loser distributing pamphlets outside of a closed convention after Sam Moskowitz kicked them out thinks he has all the answers to life's ills. That's right, it's the failures and losers that have it right! It's everyone else who is sick. You can tell by all the successes these people have had over the decades of overturning apple carts. Has the field grown, or shrank? Is the first world world happier now, or less? Are we more advanced as a human race, or backsliding? You already know the answer to those questions.

No one has as much undeserved ego as genre fiction writers of the 20th century. No one else is as irrelevant to today, either.

Mr. Lundwall also betrays a lack of understanding of the opposite sex, as most people who argue these points do, being that women enjoy this sort of thing as much as men. Bodice rippers are mainly written and read by women, and they are still the highest selling books on the market. In anime circles, fujoshi, female fans, are known for being the most rabid of fans and produce the most lewd art by far. To not understand why these stories could possibly appeal to women betrays a lack of knowledge as to how storytelling, and aspirational fiction, works.

But we've been through about nine of these posts with Mr. Lundwall. We already know his opinion on this subject. I'd rather not waste anymore space on it.

He wastes pages going on about this non-issue that would make anyone who understands fiction cringe at how awkward it is.

"Then we come to sex in science fiction. This is easily dealt with, because it occurs very, very seldom, and then in a very immature way. Sex in science fiction is for procreation purposes only, and as such merely hinted at. Sex for sheer pleasure is almost unknown. Granted, science fiction has come a long way since the pulp age when Theodore Sturgeon seemed to be the only sf writer to understand that man (and even woman) was equipped with a sex drive. Most sf writers haven't realized this yet; it will be a stunning shock for them when they do." 

Let us approach this first from a craft level, because the above can't do it.

In pulp stories you do not have sex scenes because if you're having sex in an adventure story then the plot isn't moving. If the plot isn't moving, you are failing as a writer. There is no time to stall and give the perverts a peepshow. No one needs pornography in adventure fiction--that is why women tend to buy bodice rippers to get that instead.

A scene of characters "having sex for pleasure" would be the sign of a hack that doesn't know how to plot. Going in to detail about sexual intercourse or activity would similarly be wasting time for minutiae that exists for little more than either weird sex propaganda or the writer looking for an excuse to write pornography. Either way, it doesn't fit the genre. 

You are wasting the reader's time.

And what does any of this have to do with a supposed genre that has "science" in the title? I already knew it was a house of cards created by fanatics to fashion their own club out of, but this sort of topic really does prove it.

At some point, it always comes down to a specific vice that needs to be enshrined at the expense of all virtues.

"Anne McCaffrey is in every respect a thinking woman and an intelligent writer who surely can do much better than this, and I am inclined to regard this example as what I would like to call the sf contamination, for this way of reducing the sex act to a mechanical, emotionless electronic copulation is an attitude found everywhere in the genre. It might be partly attributed to the genre's preoccupation with mechanical devices and a subsequent disregard for everything human and emotional, but the main reason is that the genre as a whole is so puritanical that it runs away and hides, screaming with fear, at the sight of a penis."

Was every single person in the 1960s and 1970s a raging pervert of this level? It's a question that should probably be asked. Because reading between the lines here makes this entire chapter far more uncomfortable than it should be.

And again, what does this have to do with "Science" at all? Heck, what does this have to do with robots  or monsters like the rest of the chapter? There is no "human" or "emotional" in the "genre" title, because said terms don't describe anything. It's just a bunch of meaningless drivel. You can't just pile on anything you want. The cart is eventually going to break down due to overcapacity. Well, I suppose it already has.

I'm just going to skim the rest of this, because I'm fairly certain none of the readers of this series want to see the author's badly disguised sub-fetish as a front for progressive and forward thinking ideas for his totally science-based fiction. You can find that sort of thing everywhere else.

If what I just wrote makes sense to you, then congratulations. You're probably more understanding of this clique's mentality than any other normal person might be. Not that this is a good thing, but it helps to understand the thought process of the people crowned as your masters and betters. However, that doesn't make any of this any more interesting than it is. Nothing can ever make the subject fascinating. Because it isn't fundamentally an interesting topic, at all.

What else is there to say when this is the level of perversity we're dealing with:

"The more exclusive variants of sex like sadism, masochism, necrophilia, fetishism and so forth can be found in ample measures in the Sword Sorcery Heroic Fantasy. Despite the cries from some advocates of this type of entertainment that it is pure and virginal and clean, there is sex to be found everywhere; sublimated in various ways, but still there, and in fact the overshadowing ingredient. There is sex—but an immature, infantile sex where the copulation is the sword-fight and the orgasm is the death of the opponent. Women are invariably beautiful, desirable and, beneath their exquisitely sculptured bodies, completely sexless. The symbols of sex (breasts and so forth) are there, but sex itself can be found only in a grotesquely sublimated form. Like in the Wild West story, the sex urge has been transformed into violence and death in the manner of the Marquis de Sade and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch."

This is just an infantile and immature pornographer looking for big words to justify where he gets his jollies from. You see, his attractions are the correct one--it's you normies that have it all backwards and square. Get progressive!

This chapter is really just a pure embarrassment. Simply buy a paper bag wrapped magazine and be done with it, already.

"The hero's sword-penis is used a lot, although mostly on other males."

Okay, I just had to include that last one. I'm starting to see why he might not like sword and sorcery, if this is what he thinks it's about.

"There can be many reasons to this underdevelopment of sex as a serious subject in science fiction, but one of the most important, I believe, is the overshadowing interest in purely scientific innovations that have for so long formed the basis for hard-core science fiction. Psychology and speculations in sexuality didn't belong to the sciences that were fostered by writers and editors.

"Also, a great part of the readership of sf has, and is, composed of adolescent boys who regard sex as something filthy (a view shared by many adults as well), and this can't encourage any digressions in sex. To all this is added the fact that most science fiction is written in the U.S.A., and the U.S.A. is perhaps the most puritanical country in the world. With its dread of sexuality, where extravaginal copulation in some states means twenty years in jail for the participants and where fornication is a criminal offense, you can't hope for much open-mindedness regarding sex anywhere, least of all in science fiction."

Do I even have to reply to any of this idiocy? You know why he wrote it. You know why he wants sex in his stories. You know why he obsesses over it. There's no reason to dance around it. I'm going to guess the editor was laughing himself silly while reading this chapter. Of course, that is if you believe there was an editor at all.

I no longer do.

Here's the secret for all the degenerate types reading this: sex is not interesting. It's an absolutely boring subject. Which stick goes into which hole is not interesting. We know you want it in your stories for a dopamine rush of pleasure to get your rocks off. There is nothing to it beyond that. Finding out "scientific" ways for people to jack off with each other doesn't change the fact that you just want to see sticks and holes playing around at the expense of plot and actual action. There is nothing interesting about any of this.

There is a reason pornography has tropes so prevalent they are punchlines even in mainstream entertainment--because everyone knows what they're there for. The audience knows what you are doing. You can dress it up all you want, but it's still just pornography, at the end of the day. And pornography is not interesting, by design.

"There are now promising signs of particularly European sf writers recognizing sex as a permissible theme for science fiction, and I hope they will prove to be the start of a new and more human attitude in this respect. Unless, of course, the sf writers all have sublimated away the sex urge into the virile space ships and super-cities of the future."

"If we turn to the plight of robots and alien creatures in science fiction, we will immediately find a positive and humane attitude of a kind that very seldom is shown toward females."

I included this passage only because it made me laugh very hard. It's an awkward and very tortured transition of two clearly different subjects that have little to nothing to do with each other, and his whole thesis of treating women like humans backfires when he is the one deliberately, and continuously, lumping them in with robots and monsters.

If there was actually an editor to this book I would say he deserved a pay cut. He clearly didn't do a lick of work on this.

Of all the chapters in the book, this one is clearly a dumping ground for "relationships" crafted by someone who doesn't know why the relationships in the stories were there to begin with. As a result, you can just smell the anti-social attitude wafting off of it.

"In present-day sf the robots are mostly depicted as utterly humanitarian creatures with all human virtues and then some. The danger comes from the giant computers or the social system which never can be completely trusted. The robots are often maltreated and subjected to aggression of all possible lands, but they are always willing to turn the other steel cheek. Unless, of course, they have been programmed wrongly, in which case it obviously is man's fault, not the robot's. 

"The reason for this sudden change from fear to deep friendliness and esteem for our mechanical brethren can be traced largely back to one single person, who practically single-handedly has mapped out the guiding lines for the specific science fiction science known as Robotics, which now is included in every true sf writer's handbook in future societies. The man is Isaac Asimov."

The deification of robots comes from an anti-human position and a science worship thought process that peaked in the 20th century: one of the imperfect and sinful man being usurped by the son of Science--the perfect being who will save us from ourselves. The Next Step of Evolution. Our creations have surpassed us, much like we surpassed God.

Robots have no flaws--we do. It's our flaws that harm them and us. Robots will save humanity from humanity.

But this is impossible.

Anyone who thinks about such a subject for any length of time realizes that robots can never actually be anything other than self-operating machines driven by electricity and a bunch of 1s and 0s. They are incapable of morality or thought because they aren't living things--they are man-shaped toasters. The reason they were portrayed as villains is because the idea of our own human hubris crushing us is a very real fear, and one worth pondering on. Robots that are better humans than we are doesn't make for much of a theme when it so ridiculous, and an utterly unscientific impossibility from the cultist's own rule book. They can break those rules to lecture you, though. That's always acceptable.

Remember, we replaced fae and mythological creatures with hunks of tin because our imagination became more limited, not less. There is a very good reason that, as celebrated as they are as a storytelling device, robots still consist of the same basic two archetypes (and usually climaxes and endings) for every story involving them. 

How many different world cultures have their own legends, in comparison to the modern hunk of tin? There is a reason robots are barely used as a device anymore.

"During the forties Asimov wrote a number of short stories dealing with robots, in which he disarmed the dread of robots so effectively that it never since has been able to show its ugly head again. The robots of Asimov's world were so programmed that they never could do anything unexpected, as distinguished from the women and the androids, who were equipped with all too much of a will of their own. This was accomplished through the Three Laws of Robotics that was—and is—the robot's equivalent to the Ten Commandments. With the significant difference that the robots are constitutionally incapable of breaking their laws: 

  1. A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.   

"These laws cover all robot activities, with the anxiety for man's safety first and the robot's last. Armed with this feasible precautionary measure, Asimov got to work, writing a number of now classical robot thrillers, usually following the same basic formula: 

  1. Robot inexplicably violates the First or Second Law. 
  2. U.S. Robots Mechanical Men Inc. puts their foremost expert on robots, the robot psychologist Dr. Susan Calvin, on the case. 
  3. Dr. Susan Calvin proves that the robot has been acting according to programming all along, and in fact not violating the Laws of Robotics.

Riveting stuff, but that's more or less what I just said above. At the heart of it is an anti-human slant to prop up inventions of Science as Greater than us. That might make for some clever stories, but that is no less limited than what the pulps were criticized as being.

The rules were even created to deliberately make them more limited. This is why robots died as a storytelling device relatively quickly outside of the unleashed monster trope. There simply isn't much else to do with them outside of secular sainthood.

"Sometimes Dr. Susan Calvin is not present, and the formula of the stories might vary somewhat, but the basis is always the same: The robot starts to act peculiarly because it is physically or psychologically stuck, and the human protagonist uses the Laws of Robotics to get it unstuck again. It might seem like a weak formula, but it is decidedly not. Asimov's razor-sharp logic has worked wonders with these stories." 

Why would it seem like a weak formula? Is it any more weak than the one where the hero defeats the dragon and rescues the princess? No, but one can be used for social engineering, and the other can't be. That is the root of just about every complaint from the anti-pulp crowd. You can use robots for anti-human messaging, after all. That is what truly matters.

I'm almost surprised he didn't lament the lack of robot sex in these stories. Perhaps the 1970s wasn't quite that progressive yet.

"But if man has succeeded in taming his robots, this is not the case with the androids. They are disagreeably like man in all respects save the ability to procreate. The androids are manufactured in android factories and are sent out into the society with a production number stamped on the forehead. This number is the only thing that tells them apart from human beings; they even have a sex urge, and they are, like human beings, utterly undependable. 

"If you liken the robot to a big, nice dog, the android resembles an intelligent, untamable cat. The android's attitude to the commandments is the same as man's: an amused indulgence."

Like humans, they are monsters. Unlike robots, they are not saints. Isn't it odd how the further one gets from the pulp ethos the more it begins to twist around backwards and invert morality? Healthy becomes sick and sick becomes healthy. The "field" self-destructs into irrelevancy. And no one questions why it changed that way.

This is how you get unthinking idiocy like the following passage:

"The android functions as sfs contribution to the race debate. The robots pose no problem, because they just obey, and the extraterrestrials are so different from us that some kind of understanding must be found in the end. But the androids—that's another thing. Just like Negroes, Indians, Mexicans and what-have-you, they must be kept down at all costs, never for a moment being permitted to regard themselves as equals to The White Man. Because if they did, they might get it into their heads to demand equal rights, and that would mean the end of White Man's supremacy."

The concept of a mechanical man with the brain of a human allows you to jump to this conclusion. I used to think the joke of everyone doing cocaine in the 1970s was just that, but now I'm starting to reconsider. The amount of braincells killed in that decade alone must be equal to a million frat parties in the classier college towns.

All of this idiocy is possible because Hugo Gernsback was naïve enough to have a letter section in his magazine.

Thanks for nothing, sir.

"In a recent novel by Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1969), the androids turn out to be somewhat less than friendly toward mankind, indeed suffering feelings of resentment and inferiority toward the world of organic life. In the world of 1992, when the third world war has left precious little animal life left, this is grave. So there we have a special corps of bounty hunters, particularly the hunter Rick Deckard with the full-time job of tracing and tolling androids."

Yes, those poor, misunderstood androids. That's definitely the lesson to take away from this story. No greater meaning than that.

"If the sf writer nowadays is inclined to take the side of the android against his tormentors, this is even more the case when we come to the human mutations, usually depicted as being superior to man in some, respect. Mutations usually manifest themselves as physical or psychical deformations; but evolution is a chain of mutations, and it seems probable that a new type of man (perhaps suited to an environment polluted by atomic fallout, DDT, detergents and so forth) will evolve and take over the world with the same right as homo sapiens took over the world from Cro-Magon."

Right, "It seems probable" sounds like a very scientific barometer. Until super mutants are debunked by Science! and then we shuffle them off to the inferior side of the "genre" instead where the hacks can play with them. Fandom does this because at that point their pet fad has worn out its role as a social engineering tool and The Cause has no more use for them. Throw a bone to those dregs writing their non-materialist fever dreams instead.

We only take materialist fever dreams in this special genre, sir.

"In John Wyndham's novel The Chrysalids (1955; also published as Re-Birth), the mutants are a couple of children who grow up after the Great War, when large parts of Earth still are deadly wastes, and where the fear of deviating individuals finds typical expression in religion. The Norm is man in God's image, no deviation from the Norm is permitted. Keep Pure the Stock of the Lord and In Purity Our Salvation are some of the cries with which the clergy fortifies itself for the heretics' fire, murder and other atrocities. A child born with an extra finger or toe must be killed, women who give birth to deviating children are regarded as unclean and are punished. The novel is an indictment of bigotry and a denunciation of conformity, as well as a moving plea for sanity in a world that has seen precious little of sanity when it comes to people behaving differently from ourselves." 

Sounds utterly stupid and hacky, message fiction written with the express purpose of making a labored and utterly juvenile point written by someone who knows nothing about religion or humanity at all. But this is usually the best antisocial losers can get by painting their enemies as cartoon villains and putting their egos and pedestals. And all of Fandom seal claps and laps it up, not because it's good or original in anyway, but because it teaches the correct things. I'm surprised they didn't give this one a Hugo for the correct messaging.

How little things change.

You will notice that Mr. Lundwall says nothing about the anti-human messaging of humanity being the villain or robots, androids, and mutants, being the heroes. But the second monsters come on the page as villains and humans as heroes that is just No Good.

Why is humanity being the villain okay but not being the hero? Why is an idea where aliens might be (because it is just as possible as his pet idea) horrible unredeemable monsters? Why is one more "realistic" than the other? How can someone who supposedly loves wonder miss the forest for the trees this hard? Is this intentional?

Judge for yourself:

"The basic idea, particularly during the years of the pulp magazines, was that the outer world—whether it was space, other civilizations or the future—was hostile toward man, that man must fight against this hostile outer world with all his ingenuity, changing it to suit his needs. The BEM's were a part of the picture, just like interplanetary space and the insecurity that always follows scientific innovations. The friendly aliens were few and far between, and when they appeared it was only to help man against some other bestial creature with wily plans against mankind. Early science fiction almost without exception started from the assumption that we, the human race (usually we, the White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) were in the right, and everything else were ogres." 

But this is literally exactly as likely as them being friendly. Since we've never met any alien species we can only speculate as to what they could be like, so why is the one with the most anti-human stance possible the one that Mr. Lundwall praises, while the other not?

You surely know by now. It is always about the Narrative. What can be weaponized against you as an unthinking normie is what is right. Anything else is escapist "Fantasy" nonsense that will do nothing to further The Cause.

The only reason you would be against humanity being the good guys is because you don't like the idea of your materialist gods that are going to lift you above the inferior masses being portrayed as monsters. That's sacrilege to the secular religion. This is exactly why pulp had to go, and why anti-human ideas are propped up to this day.

I'd much rather a story involving humanity not being the villains, personally. In this day and age, we have enough misery and chaos without constantly dwelling on the blackest parts of the pit and screaming at our neighbors about how horrible they are. But back in the 20th century, it was apparently all the rage. To some Fanatics, it still is.

Possibly because you could take it for granted when you went back to your stable neighborhoods with a community that knew your name at night. These people had no idea what alienation or atomization was really like. We know it now. 

Nonetheless, it takes a certain naivety to think unknown creatures you have never met or aren't even certain exist must be better than the species you are actually a part of. But that's just the way it was back then. Undeserved ego is the 20th century in a nutshell. Eject the past and embrace the oncoming Future! Or else.

And that mentality continues on as they insult all those who lived before them as inhuman monsters worthy of being destroyed.

"The reason for all this, I believe, can be traced back to the specific American pioneer romanticism, when the European settlers were opening new frontiers, fighting the aboriginal inhabitants who, understandably enough, resisted being invaded and killed. In America, the aboriginal inhabitants were slaughtered and their civilization raped and looted and destroyed. The new Americans didn't intend to let anyone do the same to themselves. By depicting these aliens as monsters, they can find excuses for the slaughter. The Wild West genre is a typical example of American guilt for the Indian massacres being sublimated into pride of the extermination of these red-skinned monsters, these savages, these maniacs. The science fiction of the pulp era has many similarities with the Wild West stories. The White Man is coming to take over, and if the original inhabitants resist, then exterminate them."

Someone was actually stupid to write this and put it in a book. Someone else was stupid enough to edit this book and leave it in. Donald Wollheim actually thought he should write an introduction to this book and give Lundwall a stamp of approval for the "next generation" of Fandom fakers you should be listening to. There are people to this day who will read the above and mindlessly nod along without taking in anything being said here.

This is why series such as the one you are currently reading exist. Lies have to be called out for what they are.

Sam Lundwall continually manages to make the most uncharitable interpretations of some of the most popular and enduring genres of adventure fiction, and repeatedly attaches the most ahistorical and ignorant thoughts possible, while simultaneously insulting anyone who has written, read, or enjoyed any story in any of these genres since storytelling itself began. That he was able to to this, and not ever once suffered any punishment or backlash for it, should be all the proof you need that Fandom looks out for their own, damn the rest. Reminder that this is a published book from an actual publisher. These Fanatics don't exist to entertain you; they exist to rule you.

I have long since ceased taking anything this man says seriously, and if I hadn't read his later (significantly watered down) tome of opinions, I would probably have burned that book just out of spite. This work is that moronic.

Remember that Fandom gave this man a seat at the table, and pushed this as a thesis statement for their whole concocted "genre" and proudly proclaimed this book's greatness on the cover. It's important! And it is filled with outright bile like the above--intending to divide and confuse any potential readers with this sewage. This book is a weapon, not a history.

If it feels like I'm spending more time mocking the stupid declarations than offering any rebuttal it is because the stupidity in the work is self-evident. He provides no evidence for his claims except non-existent scenarios he invented in his head about people he knows nothing about. It's all completely fabricated from whole cloth. There isn't anything to debate, by design.

Mindlessly consuming propaganda pamphlets does not make you an expert on fiction--it just makes you a cultist. And that is all this book is for. It is terribly ineffective at its stated purpose, but that is what makes it invaluable to cover in posts like this. You can see for yourself just how much these people have always hated you.

"Most of these creatures belong more to the improbable world of the hard-core horror or fantasy story, giving very little of what I would call the constructive monster approach—that of using the aliens to convey an idea. It should be noted that when the BEM appears in serious science fiction, the emphasis is not put on the horror angle, but on the alien's way of reacting to our environment, or man's attitude to the alien."

This is not how it works, sir. You do not get to say monsters have to be used one way to be a specific genre, especially when "that way" has nothing to with Science, supposedly the moniker of said genre. It also especially doesn't work when you didn't even know what Lovecraft was about and somehow feel you have any authority on how monsters should be used in fiction. You clearly don't understand what you're talking about.

The "horror" angle is not invalid because you decided it's not. Genres don't work that way, and neither do stories. No one even reads this "serious science fiction" which means the distinction is even more useless for anyone looking for a proper definition.

"James White is well-known in science fiction for a number of extremely intelligent and humanitarian short stories dealing with confrontations with extraterrestrials, particularly his stories set in a kind of orbiting hospital where alien beings are given medical help. Some of these stories have been collected in book form as Hospital Station (1962). He explained the background for his stories dealing with the man-alien confrontation in a TV program I produced for Swedish TV at the British sf convention in Oxford, 1969: 

"I am, of course, preaching a little bit by having extraterrestrials as well as human beings living and working together. . . . We are having difficulties enough living together when we just have slightly. different colored skins, and I want to show a future where people with six eyes can live together peacefully and cooperate with people with two. That's the way I hope it will be, and that's the way I hope it will be on Earth before we meet the extraterrestrials."

"This is a remarkable change from the monster philosophy of the pulp magazines, and an attitude that the science fiction field should be proud of."

He literally just admitted he was writing propaganda in your quote, but okay. Pretending malicious evil doesn't exist isn't really progressing towards anything--it's the opposite. It's running away from reality. We're going to help fix the world in time for when their secular gods come and take us away to the stars to live in paradise, so behave yourselves, children!

I'm almost surprised Mr. Lundwall didn't call this utopian fiction, because that's exactly what it is. I would be if he knew the definition of the word beyond it being an ideological weapon. Supposedly this sort of thing was bad, but only when the pulps did it. They just didn't do it in an acceptable manner for the correct cause. The gatekeepers would not approve.

Yes, the above is a change from the pulp magazines because it wasn't written to excite or reinforce values or inspire social good--it's written to change the reader towards a Correct Path. Even if one believed the philosophy Mr. White is expressing, they would be left with the distinct impression they are being written at, and not for. I do not think one should admire a story for what it preaches, but for how good it is.

But that isn't what this so-called genre is about, is it?

"In the above-mentioned TV program, John Brunner mentioned a scale for assessing the value judgment in fiction, worked out by an American sociologist. In the original project, this scale was applied to magazines like Colliers, The Saturday Evening Post, the Ladies' Home Journal and so forth, and it was discovered that the ideals implicit in fiction of this kind were comfortable, conservative to the point of being reactionary, bourgeois, middle-class, and if not intolerant toward minority groups, at least patronizing toward them."

A High Priest delivered his homily on the Holy Fandom program to inform you what the latest doctrine update says that people who are Good would be better off believing. Are you paying attention? You should be. How else will you ever become a Good Person in time for out alien gods to rescue us from our broken nature? It's called "programming" for a reason.

Utterly worthless drivel. It doesn't change the fact that none of this means anything at all. It has no relation to reality.

"A young woman in California decided to do her doctorate thesis by applying the same standards to one month's samples of science fiction magazines, and she came up with the interesting discovery that the implied values tended to be humanitarian, progressive, forward-looking and, as for minority groups, she said, in science fiction even the robots were treated like human beings."

And yet no one read them back then, or now.


"Tenn's story can be seen as a sort of intermediate link between the time-honored monster philosophy and the attitude which seems to be gaining strength in sf today, that of considering man as one of many races, with his own unique possibilities, neither animal nor superman, just one thinking being among others. James White's Hospital Station is, I think, a splendid example of this attitude, light-years removed from the patronizing views implicit in, e.g. Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles wherein the Martians are depicted as some land of degenerate creatures, unable to keep their civilization going when the Terran immigrants come; or the kill-and-kill attitude of novels like Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers in which the only good extraterrestrial is a dead extraterrestrial and cold-blooded murder is the word of the day."

People still read The Martian Chronicles to this day. I have never even heard of Hospital Station until this book, and when I looked it up one of the Fanatics reviewing it complained about a hot nurse and treatment of women in it. They also called it formulaic, somewhat "pulpy," and dated. What does that say about which approach the audience actually wants? Who even is the audience? Mr. Lundwall doesn't seem to know.

And notice the implication that keeps coming up about aliens. Writers are obligated to "train" audiences into acceptance of their oncoming overlords. You can't not see how demented this looks in this day and age decades after the UFO fad crashed and burned and the current government (of only one country?) stooging for it now reeks of desperation. These people really did wholeheartedly believe in this religion and needed to spread the Good Word to you to get you to accept when the Master Race came down from space to lead us the Right Way.

Hey, apparently, as long as it isn't humans, then it is just fine. Remember, according to Fandom and Mr. Lundwall, only humanity can be portrayed as uniformly evil.

"Today we even have a fair number of sf stories bordering on self-contempt in their attitude toward man vs. extraterrestrials, e.g. The Genocides (1965) by Thomas M. Disch, in which malignant extraterrestrials have taken over Earth, farming it for their own purposes, with man living as vermin in the fields, hiding from his new masters; or like William Tenn's highly intelligent novel Of Men and Monsters (1968), wherein mankind is reduced to the role of rats living in the walls of the alien colonizer's houses. This is often no more than a reversing of the coin of yore, but it is still a step forward."

See? Antihuman and misanthropic is a "step forward" from Bug-Eyed Monsters, even though it actually isn't at all. That's science worship for you: man is but a footstool to whatever higher power is the equivalent of the old man in the cloud. As long as he's material, then you'll do whatever he says and follow all instructions without pause. Certainly he must be better than those people who called me a wussy and shoved me into a locker when I was in high school. I'll show them all when the aliens get here!

Speaking of children:

"Famous Monsters is still being published, larger and sicker than before, but this magazine, as well as its imitators, is predominantly aimed at kids of eight to twelve years old. The letter column of Famous Monsters, with its photos of horribly dressed-up boys, is pathetic and unpleasant. Working miniature guillotines can be bought by postal order, and monster-minded kids are encouraged to join the magazine's club, chairman of which, according to the illustrations, is a putrid corpse with an unpleasant leer. Famous Monsters has very little to do with science fiction, but it seems to be popular. As distinguished from science fiction, which usually holds very humanitarian views toward alien creatures, this type of monster magazine consistently puts a sign of equality between physical and mental deformities. Wherever this might lead, it will obviously not be toward a greater understanding of differently shaped creatures, human or non-human." 

This is how Lundwall chooses to end the chapter, with this complete non-sequitur of nonsense bemoaning lack of propaganda in children's entertainment. Criticizing a magazine written for children is not only pathetic, but outright sad. What does this have to do with anything at all? Nothing, except to push the Narrative to brainwash the younger set.

It takes a real strange soul to go out of their way to ruin the fun of kids for your own purity testing nonsense of made up jargon. To be fair, though, that's been this entire book. It's all a bunch of drivel hastily cobbled together by antisocial cultists in order to enact control on western society and against those who wronged them. And it has failed so spectacularly at it.

But the key phrase in the above quote is this:

"[...]science fiction, which usually holds very humanitarian views toward alien creatures[...]"

This is the tell that this is all just propaganda. There is no such thing as "Science Fiction," because "Science Fiction" exists as a brainwashing tool of weird nerds in tiny cliques who inherited editing positions they never should have had in the first place. It's an utter failure of a "genre" that has had no real lasting impact on culture outside of the soon-to-be-extinct Fandom circles and a handful of tropes that are very rapidly disappearing around us. It is outdated and dead.

What isn't going away is the traditional pulp storytelling of action and adventure meant to lift people up out of their doldrums. Even in this age of chaos, said stories are still what folks want to read the most. They always will, no matter what propagandists try to tell you.

Audiences want to read about humanity standing up to Big-Eyed Monsters, not socializing with other organisms in the species equivalent of blackface or worshiping them as gods. This experiment from Fandom has worn out its usefulness, and it is time for it to end. Thankfully we will not have to wait long for its final collapse.

And that's all for this entry. We have one more to go before I can finally hang up my hat on reading anything by Sam Lundwall ever again.

I'm telling you this much: I really can't wait.