Apr
29

Neutron Stooge




Posted at 19:52 by Mister Leonard Pierce
the moron goes away
Above: Larry Niven, in traditional SIGMA ceremonial headgear

Well, it looks like Dafydd ab Hugh and Orson Scott Card have competition for the title of Most Obnoxious Right-Wing Sci-Fi Melvin:

Now a fixture at Department of Homeland Security science and technology conferences, SIGMA is a loosely affiliated group of science fiction writers who are offering pro bono advice to anyone in government who want their thoughts on how to protect the nation.

The fact that my tax dollars are going to buy juice and cookies for these schmendricks makes me feel all warm inside.

The group has the ear of Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary Jay Cohen, head of the science and technology directorate, who has said he likes their unconventional thinking.

“There’s no idea so asinine that this administration won’t give it serious consideration,” said Cohen, just before his meeting with Gene Ray of Timecube.

Members of the group recently offered a rambling, sometimes strident string of ideas at a panel discussion promoting the group at the DHS science and technology conference.

Rambling, you say? Strident? Could you provide an example?

Among the group’s approximately 24 members is Larry Niven, the bestselling and award-winning author of such books as “Ringworld”. Niven said a good way to help hospitals stem financial losses is to spread rumors in Spanish within the Latino community that emergency rooms are killing patients in order to harvest their organs for transplants.

I…uh…well! That’s, uh, that’s rambling and strident all right!

“The problem [of hospitals going broke] is hugely exaggerated by illegal aliens who aren’t going to pay for anything anyway,” Niven said.

“Plus,” he added, “If we don’t give them any medical care, they’ll die, which means they won’t be mooching off of our tax dollars anymore!”

“I know it may not be possible to use this solution, but it does work,” Niven replied.

“I’ve conducted certain…experiments,” Niven muttered darkly. He then excused himself to deliver a presentation on how we should tell Negroes that there’s a valuable prize waiting for them at the bottom of an elevator shaft.

203 Comments »

  1. erlking said,

    April 29, 2008 at 19:57

    Doesn’t Niven mean “exacerbated” and not “exaggerated?”

    Hack.

  2. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said,

    April 29, 2008 at 19:58

    They’ve still got almost a year to figure new ways to incinerate tax dollars.

    But I did not expect this one!

  3. Corey said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:01

    I’ve always wondered about Niven ever since his idiotic early 90′s novel that focused on global cooling.

  4. Corey said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:04

    Correct: It’s called Fallen Angels and was published in 2002…long after debate in the scientific community decided it was global warming…not cooling.

  5. michael d said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:04

    So, assume that 1 out of every 30 people who shows up at a hospital is an illegal mexislamofascist. What is the cost–in terms of regulations, bureaucracy, loss of efficiency, etc.–of screening out that 3.33%? Seems that just throwing the doors open to everyone would actually be (much much) cheaper, but I’ve never written a Tek Jansen adventure.

  6. pedestrian said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:06

    Now we know where the gay bomb idea came from.

  7. FGFM said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:07

    One of the best parts of my college career was attending a lecture given by Harry Harrison who roundly mocked Larry Niven for a good portion of the proceedings.

  8. Dick Cheney said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:09

    “…a good way to help hospitals stem financial losses is to spread rumors in Spanish within the Latino community that emergency rooms are killing patients in order to harvest their organs for transplants.”

    Fixed.

  9. professor fate said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:10

    Actually Larry’s been off the rails for years – the last book of his I read – Lucifer’s Hammer 1985 (co written with the similar minded Jerry Pournelle) contained an irrelvent diatribe about Feminism – it was something along the lines that women should just be sumissive now in case a huge comet hits the earth cause then you’ll need manly men.

    or something – it was narrow minded and stupid. The book was only fair and it just made me tired. So i quit. I’m all the better for it.

  10. inj said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:13

    Damn you did it again. My eyes are bleeding from the first screen full of TimeCUBE.

    Word World Scary
    Dream World I mean Cube World is good >lalala finger in ears.

  11. Meanjink said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:18

    Man, I was ignorant of the whole “Timecube” thing, but I may have to expend some braincells reading the whole site. I mean, it takes about 75 words before he writes a complete sentence – and that sentence is “Stop evil Ad Hominemism.”!!!

    So many questions are raised by this. For example, what of good Ad Hominemism? Should it be encouraged? How many times should you make someone say “hominemism” in a row for comedic effect?

    So good.

  12. kentm said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:19

    “a good way to help hospitals stem financial losses is to spread rumors in Spanish within the Latino community that emergency rooms are killing patients in order to harvest their organs for transplants. I know it may not be possible to use this solution, but it does work,” Niven replied.

    Ah jeez. WTF.

    and he continued “another good way to help hospitals stem financial losses is to simply kill the spics. I know it may not be possible to use this solution, but it does work.”

    sigh. My childhood geek heros… Sad thing, when someone presents you with fresh ideas as a kid, you tend to romanticize them a bit… Sadly… no.

  13. t4toby said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:20

    AAAHHHH!!!!

    TEH STUPID! IT BURNZEZ!!!1!!

  14. Shorter Larry Niven said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:20

    Pain! Pain in the glayven!

  15. Malfunctioning Glenn Reynolds Robot 2.0 said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:21

    Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing. Heh. Indeed. We’re winning! Obama doesn’t back up the rhetoric. Read the whole thing.

  16. Blue Buddha said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:22

    ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said,

    April 29, 2008 at 19:58

    They’ve still got almost a year to figure new ways to incinerate tax dollars.

    But I did not expect this one!

    My thought exactly. Who cares if rightwinged nutjobs (such as Orson Scott Card, Niven, Hugh, etc.) are on the panel… the fact is, they’re frikkin’ Sci-Fi writers! Talking about a waste of tax dollars. If Vonnegut was part of this panel, he’d be rambling about developing Ice Nine and being “unstuck in time”.

  17. Meanjink said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:22

    Ouch. I read it. Too stupid even for funny. Have migraine now. Ouch. Gotta puke.

  18. mdhatter said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:25

    pro bono?

    Pro Bonehead.

  19. Meanjink said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:27

    masturbation creation of Evil Oneness Educators masturbation creation of Evil Oneness Educators masturbation creation of Evil Oneness Educators

  20. mdhatter said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:27

    Ad Homenimism Sapiens

  21. Legalize said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:28

    These are the schmendricks who peed on my rug!

  22. Batocchio said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:30

    Holy crap. I’ve liked some of Niven’s fiction, but that proposal is more evil than those of many right-wing think tanks.

  23. javafascist said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:31

    Meanwhile, in a darkened room, a lone warrior of the Keyboard Kommandos furiously hits the delete key, mumbling to himself. “In future, spread rumors in the Latino community using Spanish…not Japanese.”

    The rest kind of writes itself.

  24. DragonScholar said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:32

    *SIGH* It’s sad to see one of the literary heroes of my youth take the train straight to wackytown. I enjoyed alot of his works.

  25. Doodle Bean said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:32

    O.K. Once and for all: the biggest problem for hospitals is uninsured patients — most of whom are our fellow citizens.

    Another big problem – mainly for small hospitals – is insurance companies who compensate them less for services than the services cost to provide. Another big problem is the high cost of medical equipment, materials, supplies and labor.

    The last two big reasons have nothing to do with immigration at all.

    Basically, Niven is making shit up using an issue he knows nothing about to advocate indirect genocide. What a nice, nice man.

    And BB, this is not a flame, but I saw Vonnegut interviewed several months before he died. He was as sharp as a tack. I kind of doubt he would have rambled in a meeting of sci fi writers — he more likely would have taken those idiots to school.

  26. Suicidal Zebra said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:33

    Someone nudge Meanjink, he’s stuck channelling Zardoz.

  27. r€nato said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:34

    I think DHS needs to hire Comic Book Store Guy on a fat consultant contract.

  28. r€nato said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:35

    I bet Adam Yoshida is a huge Niven fan.

  29. r€nato said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:38

    I have no doubt that Vonnegut would have taken them to school. He was sharp as a tack right to the end.

  30. zeppo said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:39

    If someone had written something like that here in the SN comments, we all would have immediately assumed that the person was an irony troll, and not a very funny one at that.

    I can’t believe that anyone would actually be serious and say something like that.

    This is one whacked out country right now.

  31. Jim said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:40

    BREAKING EXCLUSIVE MUST CREDIT SOME GUY ON THE INTERNET:

    Now a fixture in the “disreputable fetish” entry on Wikipedia, a group of Goreans is offering pro bono advice to anyone in government who want their thoughts on cutting government spending.

    “The problem of paying for the upkeep to our nation’s highways, hopsitalsy, and and armed forces support staff is part of the death spiral our economy’s in a the moment,” the Goreans announced in a press release.
    “We have a simple solution: sex slaves. They’re free, guys! Come on, who wouldn’t want to see a whole mess of sex slaves working on the side of the road, filling a pothole while nude. They’ll approach fighting members of our armed forces on their knees. And you save on food costs – they eat last!”

    A White House press liaison confirmed that Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and Jim Nussle, head of the White House Office of Management and Budget, were seriously considering the Goreans’ proposal. He added that Dana Perino was not available for comment, “nor will she be ever again.”

  32. Randomfactor said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:40

    How sad. I liked Niven’s books. (This whole think-tank thing is something he and Jerry Pournelle, who I gave up on long ago, suggested in “Footfall,” where Earth is attacked by small elephants from space. No, really.

    I don’t imagine the thought of actually providing health care through some sort of national insurance plan occurred to Larry, Darryl & Darryl.

  33. Rick Karr said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:40

    The idea of “organlegging” (i.e. harvesting human organs to prolong the lives of others) is a hallmark of Niven’s “Known Space” fictional universe. One short story, IIRC, ends with a guy being sentenced to death — so that his organs can be harvested — for such crimes as running red lights. Sadly, I don’t recall whether the character in question had a Latino or Arab-sounding surname, as I read the story when I was 14 or so.

  34. gbear said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:43

    Lucifer’s Hammer 1985 (co written with the similar minded Jerry Pournelle) contained an irrelvent diatribe about Feminism – it was something along the lines that women should just be sumissive now in case a huge comet hits the earth cause then you’ll need manly men.

    Another message that came out of that book was that protesters should be shot before they ruin things for everybody.

    The chapter where the comet hits earth was entertaining, but that was less than halfway into the book. The storyline after the comet hit is awful and dumb and not worth the bother.

  35. zeppo said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:45

    I liked The Mote In God’s Eye…. I have long given up on science fiction, but that was a pretty entertaining book, and it had a reasonable moral to the story as well.

  36. Michael Bérubé said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:45

    Cut to Niven claiming that the response to his remarks demonstrates the pervasiveness of multi-culti political correctness in 3 . . . 2 . . .

  37. jerry said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:45

    Hard to tell if that article is parody or not. Oh David Brin, what happened?

    That said, Pournelle has long claimed to have been the person that gave Teller the idea of Star Wars and sold it to Reagan when a similar group of science fiction authors got together.

  38. Beta Version of Malfunctioning Glenn Reynolds Robot 3.0 said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:45

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  39. Spiders Everywhere said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:46

    Larry Niven’s method of operation seems to be predicated on an absolute free flow of information, at least as pertains to what goes into and comes out of his large but uncommonly porous head. Which can be amusing when he’s been gnawing on a pile of 1940s issues of Popular Science, but get viciously irritating the more he stands next to his best buddy Jerry “I think ‘We might need to nuke aliens!’ is a compelling argument against nuclear disarmament” Pournelle. Pournelle, now, is bitter not just because of the kids on his lawn, but because teh gummint is totally suppressing the technology that would allow him to create a clone of Robert Heinlein to have sex with. It is likely that he needs a nap.

  40. El Cid said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:48

    From now on I’ll never be able to reflect upon Larry Niven’s Ringworm the same.

  41. Doodle Bean said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:48

    R€nato,

    Great minds think alike or sincerest form of flattery? If the latter, thank you!

    :o)

  42. jerry said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:48

    Some of that can be found here: http://www.jerrypournelle.com/view/2008/Q1/view510.html#starwars

  43. FGFM said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:50

    Hey, it’s not just for science fiction writers anymore.

    Rocker Jeff Baxter moves and shakes in national security

  44. cha cha cha said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:52

    I say a good way to help the universe stem teh stupid is to broadcast Niven’s own words in Spanish to the Latino community.

  45. owlbear1 said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:52

    Niven has spent too many years letting conventioneers buy him drinks.

    Really whacked out ideas (Ringworld) have been his bread and butter.

    He really has a thing for chopping people up doesn’t he?

    As for the think tank, I am sure ‘fruit punch and cookies’ isn’t the only refreshment available at these gatherings.

  46. Suicidal Zebra said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:57

    Shorter Larry Niven:

    “… [W]hich brings us to Chapter 5: ‘Live Organ Transplants’”.

  47. Latino citizen said,

    April 29, 2008 at 20:57

    Some of us can speak English too, asshole!

  48. Five of Diamonds said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:01

    Clearly they don’t need healthcare. Mexicans have the power to heal themselves. Wolverine was Mexican. Little-known fact.

  49. tigrismus said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:01

    Maybe a good way to get rid of dopes like Niven would be to spread rumors in Klingon that all food is really gray goo.

  50. DFH no.6 said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:04

    Harry Harrison! Loved that guy’s shit!

    His Deathworld series was pretty cool, with the original theme being an entire planet’s ecosystem rising up so violently against the environment-destroying people that the people had to flee that planet for another.

    Written in the 60s.

    Glad to hear he took it to nutjob Niven.

  51. tikistitch said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:04

    Here’s my story: many years ago, I was reading Lucifer’s Hammer on a public bus in LA (in those days, I had no car, and no taste in SF). A man who said he knew the authors struck up a conversation. He said his wife had briefly worked for one of the coauthors, though at this date, I can’t remember whether it was Niven or Pournelle. But, he said she spent much of her working life running around said author’s desk, as said author was *chasing* her, with fondling intent (this being years before PC blighted the joy of sexual harassment).

    Just to say, gives one an inkling about Niven/Pournelle’s idea of an Ideal World.

  52. Moominpapa said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:06

    Gah! I used to read Larry Niven back in the day – the day he wasn’t being a stupid fuckwit. Not any more though. Ah Larry, we hardly knew ye! (feeds Niven headfirst into woodchipper).

  53. commie atheist said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:12

    This is some seriously fucked up shit:

    On a whim, he gave the paper to a friend from California, Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. To Mr. Baxter’s surprise, the congressman took it seriously, and the idea proved to be prescient: Aegis missile-defense systems have done well in tests, and the Navy says it will equip at least one ship with the antimissile system by the end of the year.

    “Skunk really blew my mind with that report,” Mr. Rohrabacher says. “He was talking over my head half the time, and the fact that he was a rock star who had basically learned it all on his own was mind-boggling.”

    Mr. Rohrabacher passed the report to another influential Republican lawmaker, Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania. Mr. Weldon says he immediately realized that Mr. Baxter could be a useful public advocate for missile defense because his rock-star pedigree would attract attention to the issue.

    “Most of Hollywood is from the liberal, ‘let’s hug the tree and be warm and fuzzy and sing Kumbaya,’ bent,” Mr. Weldon says. “You put Jeff Baxter up against them, and he cleans their clocks because he actually knows the facts and details.” He has appeared in public debates and given numerous press and TV interviews on CNN and Fox News advocating missile defense. He also served as a national spokesman for Americans for Missile Defense, a coalition of conservative organizations devoted to the issue.

    Geez, Skunk, we hardly knew ye.

  54. Cleotis said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:12

    Niven, Heinlein and a bunch of other SF geniuses were pro US invasion of Viet Nam. They have always been as they appear now. They were the Dennis Miller and Drew Carey of their day.

  55. Septentrionalis said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:13

    Well, that’s what happens when he listens to Jerry Pournelle; when he’s not, Niven is sane and well-regarded. After all, these are the authors of Oath of Fealty, which regards deaths by over-active security as evolution in action. It is clear that Pournelle’s ethics haven’t improved since he was a Young Stalinist.

  56. OneMadClown said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:13

    Niven’s Law: There is no cause so right that one cannot find a fool following it.

    Brought to you by the Dept. of Unintended Irony.

  57. Nomen Nescio said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:15

    Ted Sturgeon noted that 90% of scifi is crap.

    Then Sturgeon, Asimov, Vonnegut, and Clarke died, and now i guess the crap’s all that’s left.

    oh, and Harrison — is he still alive? regardless; if he went bugfuck nuts too, i don’t want to hear about it. the Stainless Steel Rat is too fond a childhood memory to risk wrecking.

  58. Gary Ruppert said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:17

    The fact is, Niven’s idea is a very good one with minimal drawbacks. Of course it will cost money to inseminate the rumours, but we can use the guest worker program to do this.

  59. tigrismus said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:24

    Gary, the fact is insemination via guest worker is solid gold genius, as long as the rumors consent.

  60. OneMadClown said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:25

    Of course it will cost money to inseminate the rumours, but we can use the guest worker program to do this.

    That extra ‘u’ in rumors just gave you away, Fake Gary of British or Candian Descent. If you’d been the real Gare Bear, you’d have used the Heartland dialectical variant: roomerz.

  61. OneMadClown said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:26

    er, Canadian. That was…uh…Wordpress’ fault or something…

  62. t4toby said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:30

    Who the frack is Jeff Baxter?

    A wiry man who wears a beret to many of his meetings…

    Never mind, I’m writing this one off.

  63. Wordpress said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:30

    I HUNGER!

  64. kiki said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:32

    As the Reynoldsbot would say, read the whole thing. It’s fucking hilarious.

    ‘“It is impossible for you to succeed without us!” he shouted at the assembled officials, while banging his fist on the table and at one point jumping off his chair to wave a mobile phone in their faces.’

  65. Luddite said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:33

    Niven and Pournelle went off the deep end a while ago. After Ringworld, Niven went downhill. Who besides me has even heard of Pournelle? I saw them both at a con two years ago and was surprised how muted they kept their GW denial: fans don’t like it when you act and sound like a right-wing hack.

    But there are good authors out there, some of them are even still alive. Davin Brin, e.g. writes good books and even diaries at dKos (though that’s no guarantee of VLWC creds).

  66. Jim said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:34

    OneMadClown said,
    April 29, 2008 at 21:26

    Fake Gary of British or Candian Descent ….

    er, Canadian. That was…uh…Wordpress’ fault or something…

    Well, now you’re just assuming Candy doesn’t want to claim parentage of him.

  67. atheist said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:39

    WordPress’s mother smells of elderberries.

  68. jim said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:40

    Goddammit.

    Another great, fun science fiction writer ruined for me.

    Robert Heinlein was conservative, but at least he wasn’t this much of a callous tool.

  69. atheist said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:42

    Ted Sturgeon noted that 90% of scifi is crap.

    Then Sturgeon, Asimov, Vonnegut, and Clarke died, and now i guess the crap’s all that’s left.

    Well to be fair, I think the whole quote was something like: “Sure, 90% of Sci Fi is crap, but then 90% of anything is crap.”

    Which is true.
    ……..

    Another great, fun science fiction writer ruined for me.

    I feel the same way. Hate to hear about shite like this.

  70. kenga said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:54

    Pournelle? He of Prince of Mercenaries and others in the particular genre of professional soldiers-for-hire as saviors of civilization?

    Quelle surprise …

  71. FGFM said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:55

    The kilt is the least of Mr. Baxter’s fashion statements.

    http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowlDC/prom/ludacris_and_scalia_the_mashup_36134.asp

    The crowd confirmed that, yes, that was indeed Jeff “Skunk” Baxter of the Doobie Brothers who we all saw earlier…dressed in a kilt.

  72. Beta Version of Malfunctioning Glenn Reynolds Robot 4.0 said,

    April 29, 2008 at 21:59

    Jeremiah Wright! We’re winning! Jeremiah Wright! We’re winning! Jeremiah Wright! We’re winning! Jeremiah Wright! We’re winning! Jeremiah Wright! We’re winning! Jeremiah Wright! We’re winning! Jeremiah Wright! We’re winning! Jeremiah Wright! We’re winning! Jeremiah Wright! We’re winning! Jeremiah Wright! We’re winning! Jeremiah Wright! We’re winning! Jeremiah Wright! We’re winning! Jeremiah Wright! We’re winning! Jeremiah Wright! We’re winning! Jeremiah Wright! We’re winning! Jeremiah Wright! We’re winning!

    (bursts into noxious flames, melts into poisonous glop on the groupd)

  73. coldH2Owi said,

    April 29, 2008 at 22:08

    From Wikipedia:

    “Niven is a great-grandson of oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny, an important figure in the Teapot Dome scandal of the 1920s. He briefly attended the California Institute of Technology and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics (with a minor in psychology) from Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas, in 1962. He did a year of graduate work in mathematics at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has since lived in Los Angeles suburbs, including Chatsworth and Tarzana, as a full-time writer. He married Marilyn Joyce “Fuzzy Pink” Wisowaty, herself a well-known Science Fiction and Regency literature fan, on September 6, 1969.”

    I think the Fuzzy Pink is what got to me. That & the oil tycoon father thing.

  74. Bigby said,

    April 29, 2008 at 22:14

    Hopefully, Niven will try that trick from the beginning of his novel Inferno at his next Con and 8 illegal, uninsured, homeless MexIslamoCathoFascists will Live Long and Prosper with his organs (sans liver)…

  75. Peter Principle said,

    April 29, 2008 at 22:17

    I guess the Ringworld isn’t the only thing that’s unstable.

  76. Gary Ruppert said,

    April 29, 2008 at 22:19

    I think the Fuzzy Pink is what got to me. That & the oil tycoon father thing.

    Damn. I was hoping it was the same Teapot Dome scandal-involved person as this guy:

    [Director Paul Thomas] Anderson concedes that he’s puzzled by the phenomenon — particularly because the lines came straight from a transcript he found of the 1924 congressional hearings over the Teapot Dome scandal, in which Sen. Albert Fall [this guy] was convicted of accepting bribes for oil-drilling rights to public lands in Wyoming and California. In explaining oil drainage, Fall’s “way of describing it was to say ‘Sir, if you have a milkshake and I have a milkshake and my straw reaches across the room, I’ll end up drinking your milkshake,’ ”

  77. Doodle Bean said,

    April 29, 2008 at 22:21

    The link is worth a look. For example, Niven enters The 2008 Understatement of the Year Competition:

    “I cannot guarantee I’m going to be a great help to Homeland Security,” Niven said earlier.

    And it’s not just Niven who went off the rails:

    The 45-minute panel discussion quickly deteriorated as federal, local and state homeland security officials, and at least one congressional aid, attempted to ask questions, which were largely ignored.

    Instead the writers used their time to pontificate on a variety of tangentially related topics, including their past roles advising the government, predictions in their stories that have come to pass, the demise of the paperback book market, and low-cost launch into space.

    David Brin, keeping on the topic of empowering citizens with mobile phone technology, delivered a self-described “rant” on the lack of funds being spent to support citizen reservists to back up the military, homeland security officials and first responders in times of crisis.

    “It is impossible for you to succeed without us!” he shouted at the assembled officials, while banging his fist on the table and at one point jumping off his chair to wave a mobile phone in their faces.

    Sheesh!

  78. The Frito Pundito said,

    April 29, 2008 at 22:23

    Thanks for linking to Timecube. My eyes couldn’t read the small print when that stuff was on the Dr. Bronner’s bottle.

  79. mikey said,

    April 29, 2008 at 22:24

    I never read Niven, but I was utterly devoted to Jerry Pournelle’s “Chaos Manner” columns in Byte mag back about twenty years ago. He seemed like a great guy, and he spoke of LN in the same kind of terms. He had GREAT shit, real fast computers (big cheetah or something) and edge of the envelope networks and peripherals. His stories of trying to put something up and the shit he had to deal with and fix after it all melted down were the stuff of dreams.

    Now back in ’91 I wasn’t exactly politically aware (it took a bush to do that), but I was enraptured by computers and software and Byte was the Word and Chaos Manner was the implementation.

    So they were wingnuts, huh?

    Don’t change nuthin….

    mikey

  80. mikey said,

    April 29, 2008 at 22:25

    I KNEW not to trust that fuckin wordpress.

    Yep, still copy n paste every time.

    And see? I won…

    Bwwa haaa haaa…

    mikey

  81. Poisonous Glenn Reynolds Glop said,

    April 29, 2008 at 22:26

    bleaarhghhchhchchchhahcplobbbbbbbbbb

  82. Doodle Bean said,

    April 29, 2008 at 22:30

    Sorry, Luddite. I read your comment about Brin after I posted that last bit.

    My condolences.

    On the bright side, he’s still spry enough to pound his fist on the table and jump outta his chair!

  83. Phoenix Woman said,

    April 29, 2008 at 22:30

    coldH2Owi said:

    From Wikipedia:

    “Niven is a great-grandson of oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny, an important figure in the Teapot Dome scandal of the 1920s.”

    Ah, yes — Edward Doheny, the real-life basis for the fanatically driven and soon to be utterly psychotic devil-take-the-hindmost Gilded Age thug in a suit Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood.

    That explains a LOT.

  84. Doodle Bean said,

    April 29, 2008 at 22:31

    …as does the minor in psychology. It’s still my strictest rule in life: NO people who studied psychology!

  85. stryx said,

    April 29, 2008 at 22:37

    From TFA:

    David Brin, keeping on the topic of empowering citizens with mobile phone technology, delivered a self-described “rant” on the lack of funds being spent to support citizen reservists to back up the military, homeland security officials and first responders in times of crisis.

    “It is impossible for you to succeed without us!” he shouted at the assembled officials, while banging his fist on the table and at one point jumping off his chair to wave a mobile phone in their faces.

    Life, Art, Art, Life. Pure gold.

  86. Doctor Biobrain said,

    April 29, 2008 at 22:41

    The thing about Niven is that it’s not really that he’s a conservative, per se, but that he’s a strong contrarian. I think basically he was a mildly rightwing guy who went to too many cocktail parties in Southern California and had too many drunken arguments with liberals who totally pissed him off and made him run in the other direction. Because his conservativism didn’t really make a lick of sense. While his books got increasingly polemic, it was really all about how stupid liberals were and how they all deserve the bad things that came to them.

    Like Mote in God’s Eye, where the liberals were too stupid to notice the Soviet Motie threat facing them and the only smart people were the ones who feared them. Or Lucifer’s Hammer, where the liberals were too stupid to prepare for the end of the world against the invasion of black cannibals. I could go on, but it’d require I mention books that even his fans are barely familiar with. But the point was clear: Liberals suck and are wrong about everything. But his books didn’t really make sense. Like in Lucifer’s Hammer, the people who “win” basically acted like communists and took everybody’s stuff with a “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” commie ethic. And so while all the liberals, hippies, and minorities look bad (save the one black astronaut), all the toughguys turned commie and survive. But again, it wasn’t about an ideology; it was about liberals being wrong and suffering.

    And that’s still what he’s about. He doesn’t really believe this bullshit about letting illegal immigrants dying without healthcare. He just hates liberals and wants to say outrageous stuff because that’s what he does. He’s a contrarian. Unfortunately, his writing really suffered from having to fit into his increasingly contrarian views, and his works got pretty much unreadable over time. While his hard science short stories were great, his stuff from the 70′s was too ideological, and I can’t even read stuff he wrote after the 70′s. Smart guy gone wrong.

  87. whatevahdude said,

    April 29, 2008 at 22:42

    Niven said a good way to help hospitals stem financial losses is to spread rumors in Spanish within the Latino community that emergency rooms are killing patients in order to harvest their organs for transplants.

    It’s nice to know that Republican plums like corporate hospital profits are now put under the heading of “Homeland Security”. What’s next? Gitmo-ing anyone who badmouths the oil companies?

    Fukkers.

  88. MajorKong said,

    April 29, 2008 at 22:47

    I realize he’s a fantasy author rather than science fiction, but Terry Goodkind’s pseudo-libertarian claptrap would fit right in with this administration.

  89. Doodle Bean said,

    April 29, 2008 at 22:50

    …he was a mildly rightwing guy who went to too many cocktail parties in Southern California and had too many drunken arguments with liberals who totally pissed him off and made him run in the other direction.

    Yeah. Sure. Uh-huh. That’s how an sociopath is made all right!

  90. Joe Max said,

    April 29, 2008 at 22:59

    If Vonnegut was part of this panel, he’d be rambling about developing Ice Nine and being “unstuck in time”.

    Which is why Niven rambles on and on about “organ harvesting”. One of his early “predictions” for the future is that by the 1990s, the death penalty would be enacted for minor crimes, due to organ transplant technology becoming widespread and creating an overwhelming public demand for freshly dead corpses. He’s just pissed that the closest his prediction has come to being true is urban rumors about waking up in a bathtub full of ice with your kidneys missing.

    Not all sci-fi authors are so petulant about making stupid predictions. Isaac Asimov thought we would be using nuclear powered batteries to run appliances by the 1980s, but you didn’t see him running around advocating plutonium Duracells for your Walkman.

  91. stryx said,

    April 29, 2008 at 23:01

    “Instead the writers used their time to pontificate on a variety of tangentially related topics, including their past roles advising the government, predictions in their stories that have come to pass, the demise of the paperback book market, and low-cost launch into space.”

    ..at which point the Cheetos ran out, one of them vomited, and they all passed out.

  92. tigrismus said,

    April 29, 2008 at 23:04

    Doodle Bean, those quotes are choice.

  93. Adam said,

    April 29, 2008 at 23:05

    Add John Ringo to the list of wingnut militaristic SciFi authors. Once of his recent books, Emerald Sea, is set in the distant future and at the conclusion the protagonist treats readers to a long rant about the misguided people on 20th century Earth who believed in global warming. Subtle.

    Most stuff published by Baen is jingoistic, right-wing military SciFi written by angry, insecure white Pillsbury doughboys for the same demographic. Even the better stuff like the David Weber’s Honor Harrington series repeats standard wingnut memes about misguided liberals championing appeasement in the face of military threats OVER and OVER and OVER again.

    Avoid, avoid, avoid.

  94. Smut Clyde said,

    April 29, 2008 at 23:09

    Clearly it is time to revive Alan E. Nourse’s modest proposal for the health-care crisis.

  95. ManOnBlog said,

    April 29, 2008 at 23:13

    Niven’s “Protector” was one of the best SF novels I’ve ever read. Head and shoulders above “Ringworld” concept-wise – not sure why it didn’t win any awards.

    *sigh*

  96. stryx said,

    April 29, 2008 at 23:15

    It seems like maybe this group has been around for a while. I found a USAtoday story about them that isn’t much different than MLP’s link, but what comments!:

    Station keepers.
    ( IF!!! ), ( In the Near Future) there existed, a 10 kilometer diameter, glass precision polished magnifying glass, placed in a specific precise iris focusable orbit,

    and

    The guarded control of this potentially devastating device were placed in a fair well governed political body…

  97. atheist said,

    April 29, 2008 at 23:15

    Not all sci-fi authors are so petulant about making stupid predictions. Isaac Asimov thought we would be using nuclear powered batteries to run appliances by the 1980s, but you didn’t see him running around advocating plutonium Duracells for your Walkman.

    Believe it or not, there are actually a fair amount of normal, rational, well-adjusted Sci Fi writers who have not gotten so bitter, or at least, not about the relationship between their work and the real world.

    But again, it wasn’t about an ideology; it was about liberals being wrong and suffering.

    Dr. Biobrain, it makes me think of all the gays he had burning in the napalm sands of Hell in his version of “Inferno”, or the ecologist he had condemned to breathe toxic waste for eternity. Even when I was 10 years old or whatever, I found that to be very creepy.

  98. ManOnBlog said,

    April 29, 2008 at 23:16

    And what’s up with Niven’s glasses? Are his eyebrows nearsighted too?

  99. stryx said,

    April 29, 2008 at 23:17

    USA today that is.

  100. D Johnston said,

    April 29, 2008 at 23:18

    Lucifer’s Hammer 1985 (co written with the similar minded Jerry Pournelle) contained an irrelvent diatribe about Feminism – it was something along the lines that women should just be sumissive now in case a huge comet hits the earth cause then you’ll need manly men.

    There was also the part where one of the main characters (the name escapes me, all I remember is that he was one of the most obvious Gary Stu/self-inserts I’ve ever seen) launched into an out-of-left-field spiel about how environmentalists were all morons and hypocrites. That Niven is a ‘winger is not a shocker to me.

    I tried to get into Niven because my dad was a big fan and had a good-size collection of his stuff. In high school, I muddled through Lucifer’s Hammer and Footfall and found both to be unnecessarily dense and slow. Hell, the only thing I really remember about Lucifer’s Hammer was being able to predict that the aforementioned self-insert was going to nail the young-enough-to-be-his-daughter hottie about fifteen pages before it happened.

  101. Doodle Bean said,

    April 29, 2008 at 23:24

    Styx,

    Wow, that USA Today article makes ‘em all sound kind of sane. I’m going to go with the National Defense Magazine version — much more fun.

    But I agree with you about the comments. That Superluminal fella, especially, is something special!

    I have this Idea.
    I’ve invented ,( In My mind ) a secret weapon that renders all (nuclear weapons only) suddenly inert.
    Including ours..
    The umpty sextillion dollar question is,

    How would one build such a weapon ?
    And, should one do so, even if it were possible?

    And thanks, Tigrismus!

  102. Smut Clyde said,

    April 29, 2008 at 23:34

    David Brin… citizen reservists to back up the military… and first responders in times of crisis
    What happened to that ‘National Guard’ arrangement that you guys used to have?

  103. Lesley said,

    April 29, 2008 at 23:36

    perhaps the swiss cuckoo chapeau can be rigged to toss a pie in niven’s face every hour on the hour.

  104. Voting Present said,

    April 29, 2008 at 23:40

    Larry Niven is a “smart guy gone wrong” as someone pointed out. Also a trust fund baby who has never had to work to support himself. It shows.

    He is a good example of the kind of science fiction writer who decides that darwinian competition describes EVERYTHING about people (neglecting those human brains and consciences as a factor) and then proceeds to turn out appalling Nazi fantasies like the later “Ringworld” sequels. Somewhere in the jungles of Tarzana there is an elephant graveyard of the moral compasses lost by science fiction authors.

  105. Arky H8r of VurdPress said,

    April 29, 2008 at 23:44

    Is anyone really surprised that the pack of immature egomaniacs known as BushCo is turning to people less competent than they for guidance?

    [crickets]

    Those guys don’t want to listen to some fancy pants egg-head elitist scientist drone on about research and math and all that hard stuff. And since science fiction has the word science in it, they probably don’t see the difference.

    As an added bonus if the butt mounted rocket launchers fail to kill all the terrists dead, they can blame those latte sipping decadent pervert litRATyer types.

  106. Arky H8r of VurdPress said,

    April 29, 2008 at 23:45

    Wahoo! WordPress of London!

  107. SFAW said,

    April 29, 2008 at 23:50

    Septentrionalis -
    Re: “evolution in action” – I believe it was Under-active, not over-active, security that uttered the long. I think some nameless rent-a-cop said it while they waited to see if someone would do a triple-twisting-one-and-a-half off the board.

    Doodle Bean & renato –
    Vonnegut “sharp as a tack”? When you get to that age, what with Alzheimer’s and all, shouldn’t it be “sharp as a grape”. He should be glad that that they don’t “put him out to pasture” with extreme prejudice.

  108. SFAW said,

    April 29, 2008 at 23:52

    “uttered the long”? WTF?

    “uttered the *line*”

  109. Tinfoil Hat Salesman, Tinfoil Hat Sales, Inc. said,

    April 29, 2008 at 23:53

    I don’t know what to make of y’all stupid people, yappin’ on about the economy being in the dumpster.

    My sales are through the freakin’ roof!

  110. Department of Homeland Security said,

    April 29, 2008 at 23:55

    Now, now, Mr. Niven, don’t be so modest … actually, DHS just looked over the transcripts from the meeting, & we LOVE that idea! Matter of fact, we may even put it into play later – or even sooner, if the need is great enough.

    So please, let us know what OTHER brilliant creative leaps of inspired intellect you can offer your grateful nation in its time of need … you’ll be handsomely remunerated, naturally.
    Think airport screening.
    Think crowd-control.
    Think surveillance.
    Think Iraq … & Iran.

    Don’t worry if they seem crazy on paper – heck, we’ll probably get the nice people at the Pentagon to run with at least half of them, as is! This IS the age of ad-hoc reality-engineering, after all.

    Science-Fiction Policy: hot damn, why didn’t we think of this before?

  111. jim said,

    April 30, 2008 at 0:04

    Hey, they left Niven off that “100 Great Intellectuals” list too, y’know.
    TAA-DAAAH!
    One silver lining, no extra charge.

  112. kenga said,

    April 30, 2008 at 0:04

    Doodle Bean & renato -
    Vonnegut “sharp as a tack”? When you get to that age, what with Alzheimer’s and all, shouldn’t it be “sharp as a grape”.

    Be advised that Alzheimer’s and dementia don’t strike everyone who lives past 80.
    Vonnegut was one of many who remained in possession of his substantial faculties.
    And, um, he like, died, a little over a year ago.

  113. kiki said,

    April 30, 2008 at 0:13

    Total Recall is on TV right now. “Zee you at der pardy, Reechter!”

    That Sharon Stone fight scene is TEH HAWT.

  114. tigrismus said,

    April 30, 2008 at 0:15

    And what’s up with Niven’s glasses? Are his eyebrows nearsighted too?

    Those aren’t glasses, that’s his windshield.

  115. Anne Laurie said,

    April 30, 2008 at 0:25

    [Niven]’s just pissed that the closest his prediction has come to being true is urban rumors about waking up in a bathtub full of ice with your kidneys missing.

    Actually, JoeMax, a nice chunk of the profits our Chinese Communist overlords rivals make on their extensive prison systems comes from organ-harvesting. So far it’s mostly executing healthy young “thought criminals” to order for the local Red Princelings, although I’m sure the People’s Army is not averse to making a profit from international capitalists with good money and bad kidneys. I’d stopped attending sf conventions by the time this frugal custom had moved from tinfoil-hat to semi-acknowledged-by-the-government-in-question, but I always wondered what would happen if some hapless fan asked Niven why the Dirty Commies had been allowed to surpass us in the Parts-for-Profit race.

    Niven has always been a guy with short-story-length ideas. A good friend cajoled me into reading RINGWORLD when it was still new & notable. There’s an offhand interjection early in the book mentioning that homosexuality had *finally* been “bred out” of the human race because it was, of course, deleterous to the species. This is at least four different kinds of misunderstanding on how evolution works, as I informed my friend, and Niven’s biology didn’t get any better as the book went on.

    Kurt Vonnegut, on the other hand, had one of his first successes with a mid-1950s short story where a telekinetic Army conscript goes AWOL, “thereby making myself the first weapon to go off for compassionate purposes”. (Quote from memory.) Although he was a veteran from ‘the Greatest Generation’, the man who wrote SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE did *not* have a “good war”; I’m quite sure he would have greeted an invitation from DHS with all the scorn (and despair) it deserved.
    ______________________________

    To be Dead Serious about Niven’s boneheaded suggestion, though: Emergency rooms are the frontline of the Public Health system. Civilized societies since the early 1800s have proven, over and over, that it’s cheaper to spend millions of tax dollars treating indigents for pneumonia and giving poor kids vaccinations than to let people with tuberculosis, measles, AIDS, staph infections, SARS, hepatitis, and Ebola wander untreated and infecting other people (even rich English-speaking people from gated communities, whose minimum-wage possibly-not-documented servants cook the rich peoples’ food, paint the rich peoples’ nails, and care for the rich peoples’ offspring). Convincing ‘those people’, the Spanish-speaking population undocumented or native, that emergency rooms were to be avoided — even if only because nitwit rumormongering would encourage people to think that “their” government wished them ill and hoped to discourage them from seeking needed medical treatment — would lead directly to an uptick in communicable diseases among ALL local demographics!

  116. Homosexuals are aids monkeys said,

    April 30, 2008 at 0:31

    These science fiction writers have some great ideas. Illegal aliens should not be allowed to recieve medical treatment as they are a burden to taxpayers and are responsible for the rising costs of health care in America. If they die its there own fault for breaking into a country where they do not belong. All that said science fiction is a truly awesome genre which seems to be a favorite of Conservatives myself included.

  117. tmv said,

    April 30, 2008 at 0:34

    Um, let me get this straight …

    So after 9/11, people like Tom Clancy were getting interviewed and treated like they actually had some kind of expertise, but eventually everyone calmed down a little bit and did a communal forehead-slap and looked sheepish and went, “Wow, what were we smoking back then?”

    And the DHS responded, “You’re right! We should totally be talking to the guys who wrote about the alien elephants!”

    I feel safer by the second.

  118. tigrismus said,

    April 30, 2008 at 0:45

    Wow, it’s like a superconducting super collider: Anne Laurie says something sensible, her words zip through the internets, crash into certain skulls, and tiny particles of non-sense appear as though by magic!

  119. Iain M. Banks said,

    April 30, 2008 at 0:50

    “now i guess the crap’s all that’s left.”

    HEY!

  120. robert green said,

    April 30, 2008 at 0:55

    iain banks rules.

    if that is you. even if it isn’t.

    i just finished Matter, and holy shit was that brilliant. a masterpiece.

    also
    china mieville
    alaistar reynolds
    richard morgan
    kim stanley robinson

    all leftists of one stripe or another

  121. OneMan said,

    April 30, 2008 at 0:57

    What is it with Steely Dan exes and the high tech? I know Denny Diaz is (or was until recently) doing large scale database work in Texas.

    And Mikey, I read Pournelle’s Chaos Manor articles too. They were pretty cool although too Winderz oriented — I was doing AIX development, having just left an Ultrix gig and after that HP/UX. So I was not of teh Borg (still am’t, for that matter).

    And WordPress told the Aegis operator on the Vincennes it was a bomber incoming.

  122. Snorghagen said,

    April 30, 2008 at 0:59

    I think the whole quote was something like: “Sure, 90% of Sci Fi is crap, but then 90% of anything is crap.”
    Which is true.

    It’s not true of crap itself. 100% of crap is crap.

  123. W. Kiernan said,

    April 30, 2008 at 1:00

    Hey, I don’t know why anybody thinks Niven’s so-so-clever idea is so far-fetched. Don’t we currently have two Presidential candidates who are promoting the nonsensical idea that vaccinating your children will inevitably lead to oughtism? As in, “Hey, you look like you’re extra stupid, so your offspring ought to die before they get old enough to breed.”

  124. Joe Max said,

    April 30, 2008 at 1:00

    Actually, JoeMax, a nice chunk of the profits our Chinese Communist overlords rivals make on their extensive prison systems comes from organ-harvesting.

    That had actually occurred to me, but even with the Chinese it hasn’t reached the death-penalty-for-jaywalking levels that Niven predicted, with a presumably straight face. Niven’s idea was that it wouldn’t be hidden by the society that practiced it as something shameful, but lauded as a virtue, combining life extension for the masses with a lowering of the crime rate.

    It’s a shame, because I actually liked his Protector and Slaver stories, but the rampant fucking-as-political-negotiation that went on in Ringworld was so obviously a doughboy-geekazoid’s wet dream fantasy that it spoiled the otherwise good, hard Sci-Fi concept of the novel.

    (Oh, and WordPress blows goats, and usual.)

  125. OneMan said,

    April 30, 2008 at 1:02

    Ha.

    Mr. Green, I currently have Matter, a Reynolds book (Pushing Ice) and…um…Neal Stephenson’s “The Cobweb” waiting for when I finally finish “No God but God” which I have been struggling through for way too long now.

    Good eats, that.

    And wordpress…gave Hitler the idea for the Night of the Long Knives.

  126. Snorghagen said,

    April 30, 2008 at 1:04

    I think the whole quote was something like: “Sure, 90% of Sci Fi is crap, but then 90% of anything is crap.”
    Which is true.

    It is not true of crap itself. 100% of crap is crap.

  127. Brandi said,

    April 30, 2008 at 1:05

    Who besides me has even heard of Pournelle?

    I have– but as a columnist for Byte magazine (alev ha sholem), not as an SF author.

    By the bye, has anyone here read Norman Spinrad’s The Iron Dream? (I’ve only read *about* it– my library doesn’t have a copy, darn it.)

  128. Smut Clyde said,

    April 30, 2008 at 1:07

    No love for Charlie Stross?

  129. Von Pseud said,

    April 30, 2008 at 1:14

    This is fantastic. I don’t suppose there’s any chance of them giving Ken MacLeod a job?

    http://kenmacleod.blogspot.com/2007/06/antichrist-role-could-hinder-blairs.html

  130. Dean Booth said,

    April 30, 2008 at 1:24

    His reason for suggesting that the rumors be spread in Spanish is not so the illegals will understand them, but so that real Americans won’t be needlessly frightened.

  131. tufdaawg said,

    April 30, 2008 at 1:26

    so, i posted this to amazon.com forums (since niven is a “writer”) just for grins to see what the right-wing kooks that are amazon would say. boy, you should read their responses.

    http://www.amazonsellercommunity.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=152977&tstart=15

  132. Doodle Bean said,

    April 30, 2008 at 1:30

    Vonnegut “sharp as a tack”?
    Yes. Vonnegut as sharp as a tack.

    If you knew anything about dementia, had seen that interview and had recognized certain signs of it that you then shared with us, that would be one thing.

    But it’s quite another to write that he was mush-brained simply because he was old.

    Don’t be so ignorant or we’ll think you’re a wingnut!

  133. Gary Ruppert said,

    April 30, 2008 at 1:42

    The fact is, science fiction that supports America is awesome. Science fiction that does not should be banned, seriously. It should be considered enemy propoganda.

  134. Doodle Bean said,

    April 30, 2008 at 1:47

    And what’s up with Niven’s glasses?

    It’s all right; it’s just an old photo. He has much better glasses now…

    …along with what looks like a fifty pound weight gain (he’s on the lower right).

    Ouch!

    (And yes, sweet jeebus on a stick with pineapple chunks, WordPress sucks ass!)

  135. henry lewis said,

    April 30, 2008 at 1:51

    “There’s no idea so asinine that this administration won’t give it serious consideration,”

    John McCain’s campaign slogan?

  136. henry lewis said,

    April 30, 2008 at 1:58

    Anne Laurie: To be Dead Serious about Niven’s boneheaded suggestion [...] would lead directly to an uptick in communicable diseases among ALL local demographics!

    This is why we don’t want you coming to our DHS meetings. All your historical and demographic data points killing our eliminationist buzz.

  137. PaulG said,

    April 30, 2008 at 2:05

    There are some people who you are shocked when they die, and some you are shocked they are still alive. Vonnegut was definitely in the first category, and Niven, sadly, isn’t. Anyway my folks taught me never

    Anyway, what portion of the problems blamed on illegals are really just caused by having this country having so many shit jobs paying shit wages? Get rid of illegals and all of a sudden dish-washers are going to be making 50k + health insurance?

  138. PaulG said,

    April 30, 2008 at 2:09

    By the way, what my folks taught me was never to go around making casual comments about how nice it would be if other people were dropping dead. Wish they’d taught me to preview.

  139. Anne Laurie said,

    April 30, 2008 at 2:16

    Back in the late 1970s, Vonnegut wrote a still-very-entertaining essay (collected in WAMPETEERS, FOMA & GRANFALLONS) about, as he phrased it, “being consigned to the file drawer of Literature labelled science fiction” (“… which certain critics keep mistaking for a urinal”). It could be (was) argued that Vonnegut didn’t appreciate how much SF was already in the process of changing, largely as a result of an influx of women and people of color and non-Anglophile writers & readers, but he drew a very sharp picture of the sort of archetypical SF Fan Boy that Niven and OSCardboard write for and Glenn Reynolds champions: “These [bright, underachieving teenage] boys knew that they had no chance of getting constructive employment in the *real* Space industry… What they loved about their beloved sf stories, and they loved it all, indiscriminately, was the promise of a future that would make them champions just as they were, pimples, virginity, bad attitude and all“. (Again, quoted from memory.)

    Both the ‘Space Race’ and the realm of ‘Science Fiction’ have exploded outwards into all sorts of new and challenging places since Vonnegut wrote that essay 30-odd years ago, but there is still a market (as Baen books and Tor can attest) for the pimpled, cranky man-boy virgins who want to imagine a universe where THEY get to be the heroes… just as they wish they were: tall, large-muscled, literate, witty, sexually attractive, commanding, parochial, xenophobic, lashing out at all the strangeness of a big crowded universe that bears very little resemblance to a Michael Whelan illustration.

    (The difference between Vonnegut and Hunter S. Thompson is that Vonnegut expected his fellow humans to disappoint him, and could be sardonically satisfied at the ever-new nadirs of cupidity, cruelty and general horror demonstrated in every news report. HST, poor bastid, keep being surprised at how vile the Vile Human Race was determined to make itself… )

  140. Gundamhead said,

    April 30, 2008 at 2:22

    If these jerks are so smart, why don’t they fix wordpress? Now I have to try and reconstruct my rant here.

    O.K. how worthless are our leaders? These are fucking writers of fiction, you fucking incompetents! The usual think tank types aren’t good enough for you now? At least those people nominally have relevant knowledge and experience. But fucking SCI-FI WRITERS?! The stuff they come up with in their books work because THEY ARE THE AUTHORS!!! Gah! Oh, and they call themselves SIGMA? Are they some Super villain team bent on world domination? Or maybe they’ve just been hitten the Rainbow Six a bit to hard lately.

    This is why I usually stick to cartoons for my escapist needs.

  141. Doodle Bean said,

    April 30, 2008 at 2:23

    Brandi,

    Have you considered interlibrary loan? I know that not everybody is as fortunate as I am*, but it might be worth asking your librarian.

    * My town’s public library is part of a truly vast network and I can get everything but medical textbooks from Harvard Medical School and engineering diagrams from MIT… But I’m just bragging!

  142. mikey said,

    April 30, 2008 at 2:24

    Speaking of books n authors n such.

    I was in the bookstore over the weekend (looking for a weighty tome on optimizing adwords, sadly) when I made a HUGE discovery.

    Thomas Perry’s epic masterpiece “Metzger’s Dog”, out of print for decades, is back on the shelves, re-issued in trade paper format. Full of joy and humor, and a plot so outrageous that even the characters notice it, if you haven’t had a chance to enjoy this one, get it now.

    I’m re reading it for the first time in twenty years, and it’s not disappointing me…

    mikey

  143. slippy hussein toad said,

    April 30, 2008 at 2:37

    I’ve been suspicious of Niven’s sanity ever since he bragged in a foreward to one of his books how Star Wars, (the shitty weapon defense system, not the science-fantasy movie) was invented in his living room as a thought experiment.

    He’s had some interesting story ideas but I’ve been horrified to discover that many of the supposedly forward-looking science fiction writers I used to admire are in fact knuckle-dragging loons bent on writing the story of the Apocalypse that puts us all back where God intended us to be.

  144. RandomObserver said,

    April 30, 2008 at 2:50

    These guys need to spend more time on something worthwhile like making the Red Sox broadcast work again.

  145. dim-witted badger said,

    April 30, 2008 at 3:00

    Gary,

    Damn. I was hoping it was the same Teapot Dome scandal-involved person as this guy:

    As long as it isn’t this Pelican Teapot Dome (nsfw), we’ll be ok.

    fucking pelican dragons.

  146. Fozzetti said,

    April 30, 2008 at 3:15

    “. . . spread rumors in Spanish within the Latino community that emergency rooms are killing patients in order to harvest their organs for transplants. . .”

    Even better to spread same rumors in English, since there are more english speaking people. I’m tossing my copy of Ringworld. I started doubting Nivens intelligence with the short story where the million-year old race of aliens didn’t know about GRAVITY!

    I recall Lucifer’s Hammer “Women’s Lib ended the moment the comet struck”

    Bleah. Currently his pal Pournelle claims the whole solar system is heating up, and our carbon emissions do NOT store heat.

  147. Bullsmith said,

    April 30, 2008 at 3:35

    Okay Niven’s suggestion is pure genocidal evil, so that passes the administration’s utility test, and he is making direct use of fiction, but where’s the science? All he’s proposing is a particularly malicious misinformation program.

    I call foul. Niven should be suspended from conducting any more “experiments” until….oh….experiments.

    Never mind.

  148. SFAW said,

    April 30, 2008 at 4:03

    kenga -
    “Be advised that Alzheimer’s and dementia don’t strike everyone who lives past 80.”

    >> I know. That was the point. And, yes, I know about his death.

    Doodle Bean -
    “But it’s quite another to write that he was mush-brained simply because he was old.”
    >> Or to write that he was “sharp as a tack”, implying that to be otherwise is the normal state of affairs.

    “Don’t be so ignorant or we’ll think you’re a wingnut!”
    >> If ignorance is the only criterion, then you’ve already laid claim to that appellation.

    >> Anyway, to shift away from the above ball-busting ….
    >> Since I was apparently a tad too subtle (some might say “abstruse”), my original point was this: Being old doesn’t automatically mean you’re mentally feeble, just as being “young” (age TBD) doesn’t make you sharp as a tack (e.g., Doughy Pantload, the Virgin Ben, and a host of others like them).

    >> I didn’t know your writing before today, so I perhaps should have cut you some slack. But I expected better of renato.

  149. Woodrowfan said,

    April 30, 2008 at 4:14

    What kind of jackass would think that an idea this cruel is a good idea, and not just a good idea, but as a way to save money!!!!!!

  150. PaulG said,

    April 30, 2008 at 4:42

    I googled around a bit attempting to see if writers I like were a part of this farce. No luck, but I found this…

    http://www.caller.com/news/2007/jun/07/science-fiction-writers-aid-homeland-security/

  151. Arky H8r of VürdPress said,

    April 30, 2008 at 5:21

    Thomas Perry’s epic masterpiece “Metzger’s Dog”, out of print for decades, is back on the shelves, re-issued in trade paper format.

    I see that almost every time I visit a used book store. I know because I always have to remember that I already have it so I don’t buy a second copy and now I’m getting out of here before mikey lets fly with that weighty tome on adwords.

  152. The Local Crank said,

    April 30, 2008 at 5:58

    Yeah, apparently it’s not just the Ringworld that’s unstable. Hah! Get it? Anybody? Anybody at all but me? Oh, how I’ve wasted my life…

    ” If Vonnegut was part of this panel…”

    He would verbally eviscerate every single one of these right-wing, racist-porn hacks.

  153. apocalipstick said,

    April 30, 2008 at 6:19

    mikey,

    Thomas Perry fan? Dude, I love you!!! What about The Island?

  154. Dan Someone said,

    April 30, 2008 at 6:52

    iain banks rules.

    if that is you. even if it isn’t.

    i just finished Matter, and holy shit was that brilliant. a masterpiece.

    also
    china mieville
    alaistar reynolds
    richard morgan
    kim stanley robinson

    all leftists of one stripe or another

    also:
    Charles Stross
    Ken MacLeod

    re Banks: I just read Matter and it does indeed kick ass. I am rereasing Excession right now. The great thing about Banks is that you can reread any of his books every year or two and it’s just as great as the first time.

    Want more Culture books soon. PLEEEZ?

  155. Joe Max said,

    April 30, 2008 at 7:27

    I suppose it’s possible that Niven was actually having a colossal joke on these Defense Department suits. It’s not entirely ulikely that Niven was trolling them, just to see how if he could get away with it. Because his “recommendations” really do sound so fucking over the top that he had to know how it would come off to the public. He can’t be that stupid.

    DFHs are a big chunk of his demographic (as evidenced by how many folks here know about him and his work.) He’s been in the business long enough to know that, and not want bad publicity to affect his sales.

    Consider the possibility we’ve been trolled.

  156. Smut Clyde said,

    April 30, 2008 at 7:33

    The great thing about Banks is that you can reread any of his books every year or two

    With the exception of Raw Spirit.
    I can see why he wrote that book (I would certainly not say No if a publisher offered me good money to drive around Scotland, visiting distilleries and ranting about each one); and I can see why he padded it out with memories and digressions, because it was supposed to be a personal account; but Great Google, it’s tiresome when he launches into self-indulgent waffle about brand new toys like his GPS / altimeter for tramping, or the Landrover he likes to drive. He comes across as a smug, possession-obsessed, self-awareness-challenged yuppie plonker — in fact, exactly like the kind of character he pilloried for our delectation in books like Complicity.
    No, I’m not bitter or envious.

  157. OneMan said,

    April 30, 2008 at 7:35

    Fuck wordpress right in the ear.

    To restate:

    mikey,

    I hesitate to say anything because I don’t know you or your tastes really but since we’re offering art for each others’ consideration…when I hear Springsteen’s latest, “Magic”, it brings you to mind. He does an incredible job of capturing his (and my) outrage at our adventure in Iraq and the damage the “war on terra” has done to us individually and collectively.

    I decided to offer this to you after I read your blog today, particularly the entry condemning…well…us for our complicity in the war.

    For me, “Gypsy Biker” and the title track evoke something that’s worth feeling, even if it’s bad.

    Maybe you hate Bruce; maybe you already have the CD…I dunno. Maybe you’ll give it a listen and it will mean something to you.

    -OM

  158. OneMan said,

    April 30, 2008 at 7:38

    Smut,

    Haven’t read Raw Spirit but everything I have read (all of the Culture series and 2/3 of his mainstream fiction) is teh awesome.

    He’s dreeeamy.

  159. Mantar said,

    April 30, 2008 at 7:56

    I’ve got Spinrad’s _The Iron Dream_ on my shelf here. For folks who don’t know, Spinrad noticed the tendency of SF writers and fans to tolerate, even celebrate, writers churning out the most ridiculous right-wing crackpottery. (Heinlein’s _Farnham’s Freehold_, anyone?)
    Seeing this, Spinrad had a little fun with it, cranking (heh!) out _The Iron Dream_, which contains the full, unexpurgated text of “Overlords of the Swastika,” the final grand work of that late, lamented master of science fiction: Adolf Hitler! (Positing an alternate timeline where Hitler came to the US and became a writer, of course.)
    It’s both awesome, and a little creepy.

    On that note, I dare you to reread _A Mote in God’s Eye_ and just TELL me that it’s not a dire warning about the looming menace posed by Space Mexicans!

  160. Mike, in teh H.....Shoulderland said,

    April 30, 2008 at 7:59

    Don’t forget the Giant Eagles. :)

  161. Porlock Hussein Junior said,

    April 30, 2008 at 9:09

    zeppo:

    If someone had written something like that here in the SN comments, we all would have immediately assumed that the person was an irony troll, and not a very funny one at that.

    I can’t believe that anyone would actually be serious and say something like that.

    me:

    If you ask Niven about it, and somebody probably has by now, he’ll tell you it was a joke. (I’m certainly right about this, because I’m making it up as I go along.)

    It all depends on context. When someone says it here, it’s an irony troll satirizing genocidal right-wingers, and not quite up to SN standards, and even a bit unfair to some right-wingers, but that sort of joke.

    When Niven says it, it’s a witty sally at those lazy bad-smelling foreigners who don’t pay their bills. And it is up to the standards of its time and place.

    By golly, maybe the irony troll version isn’t all that unfair to the right-wingers.

    Or to Word Press, which cannot be slandered, so the fact that it eats third-world babies is hardly significant. But it doesn’t know that I copy & save the text box before trying to post. So there, WP, whatcha gonna to do now to lose my text?

  162. Smut Clyde said,

    April 30, 2008 at 9:26

    I heard that WordPress will be included in the next edition of the Monster Manual.
    If this comment appears, you will know that I made the saving throw against WordPress’s powers.

  163. Singularity said,

    April 30, 2008 at 10:40

    When I was a teenager, I read Lucifer’s Hammer and thought it was really cool. I didn’t much care about the political and social elements. Mostly I liked the action scenes. I read a lot of other Niven and Pournelle stuff as a result. The Mote in God’s Eye, Inferno, Oath of Fealty, Footfall. I enjoyed each of them, then pretty much forgot about them except for vague memories of how cool certain elements of those books were.

    A couple of years ago, I re-read Lucifer’s Hammer. It is a racist, sexist, childish fantasy. There is no other way to describe it. The primary antagonists are an army of African American cannibals augmented by dirty hippies thrown out of the community of good white farmers. The women in the story all (and I mean ALL) survive by attaching themselves to strong men, including underage girls at a scouting campground. Really just sick.

    Footfall features an environmental activist who murders a reporter who intends to tell our Elephant overlords (!) about our intent to use nuclear power to defeat them. You see, the Elephants did more damage to the Earth than any nuclear power ever could….

    Oath of Fealty features more environmentalist-as-terrorist action, as well as the brilliant phrase “Think of it as evolution in action”, first seen scrawled upon a wall by a suicide, then later used liberally as the managers of a giant arcology go to war with the “evil” denizens of the surrounding community that they sit over like a giant parasite.

    Finally, in Inferno, there is the petty fate Niven assigns to an unnamed science fiction writer who “created his own religion”, locked away in a searing hot tomb with a neon sign above it flashing “So it goes” over and over… It must truly burn Niven that he and Pournelle will never transcend the genre in which they wallow, while Vonnegut was considered a genius in his own time.

    I’ve thrown away my Niven and Pournelle books. I wish I had been more culturally aware when I read them the first time.

  164. atheist said,

    April 30, 2008 at 11:48

    Singularity:

    I enjoyed Inferno the first time I read it. As I returned to it, I could not help but notice that I and my freinds would be in his Hell. Essentially it really is the same Hell that Dante Alighieri described, only with a couple of added features, plus an escape route. On one level it is interesting that Niven decided to hew so closely to Dante’s description. On another level, I think it’s really fucking creepy that Niven kept so close to the original concept, to the point of putting people he knew in Hell, just like Dante.

    His beliefs about women, and hatred of environmentalists, got harder to ignore as I got older, too.

  165. DrBB said,

    April 30, 2008 at 11:55

    I think it’s mentioned above, but the whole idea of this nitwit idea actually comes from the Niven/Pournelle shark-jumper, Footfall. Aliens invade (baby elephants!) and the Government gathers a bunch of Sci Fi writers together to conjure up ways to defeat them. Must be like a dream come true for these guys. An asshat dream to be sure.

  166. DrBB said,

    April 30, 2008 at 12:05

    Mantar: Thanks for the memories. I read Iron Dream when I was a kid and had no idea it was Spinrad, though I was a fan of his at the time. Weird, weird novel. Around the same time I read “Venus on the Halfshell” by “Kilgore Trout,” which lots of people thought was Vonnegut under a pseudonym. Actually it was Philip Jose Farmer. Best thing he ever wrote, imho. And has to have been an inspiration for Douglas Adams–a huge number of similarities between it and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which it predates by a good ten years or so (not that that takes anything away from Adams). And very funny.

  167. Notorious P.A.T. said,

    April 30, 2008 at 13:08

    Niven said a good way to help hospitals stem financial losses is to spread rumors in Spanish within the Latino community that emergency rooms are killing patients in order to harvest their organs for transplants.

    Of course! It’s brilliant! Because God knows we aren’t aware of any other ways to make our health care system less expensive but more effective!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_payer

  168. Doodle Bean said,

    April 30, 2008 at 15:00

    SFAW,

    Yes, your writing is quite obtuse. Generally, when you imply that someone has Alzheimer’s simply because they are old is the opposite of making the point that not everybody who is old gets Alzheimer’s. You sound like the Doughy One when you claim that an opposite reinforces your point…

    Wait! Are you the Doughy Pantload?!?!

    I’m thinking yes!

    For example, you failed to notice that my original “sharp as a tack” comment was in response to Blue Buddha’s comment,
    “If Vonnegut was part of this panel, he’d be rambling about developing Ice Nine and being “unstuck in time”.

    It was, in fact, hard to miss. I mean, I was addressing Blue Buddha by name in my comment. Nobody else missed my point that Vonnegut was not at all ‘rambling’ or ‘unstuck’ but was as ‘sharp as a tack’ and would take those ‘idiots to school’.

    So, welcome, Doughy Pantload! You will simply love WordPress!

  169. SFAW said,

    April 30, 2008 at 15:09

    DrBB -
    Ah, yes, “Venus on the Half-Shell”, truly a masterpiece. I often – well, actually, almost never – contemplate whether “forty-two” or “Why not?” is a better punchline.

  170. SFAW said,

    April 30, 2008 at 15:53

    Obtuse? Oh, is that a play on “abstruse”? Oh, I get it!! Hold on a moment while I collapse in a fit of laughter …..
    (Wipes tears from his eyes) OK, I’m back. My, your ARE quite the wit, thanks for the funny.

    Actually, DB, you addressed “BB” by name. (So does that mean that “DB” means “Doodle Bean”? Or “Doctor BioBrain”? I’m so confused! Or should that be obtused?) I guess if I had the time, energy, or interest to go back and re-read the 20+ comments prior to your “tack” statement, I might have figured out that “BB” might have meant “Blue Buddha”. And “hard to miss”? Don’t flatter yourself.

    In any event, since dimness seems to be your stock in trade:

    The implication that Vonnegut, due to his age, would be anything other than “sharp as a tack”, comes from your stating such. It’s kinda like your soulmate, Bill O’Reilly, talking about being in Sylvia’s in Harlem, and how it was just like other, non-darkie-owned restaurants in NYC. Imagine that! Coloreds are just like real people! And an old guy is sharp as a tack! Just like real people!

    As far as the Pantload jokes: I’m certainly not his intellectual equal. But my girth is approaching his.

    But WordPress does seem to suck. If I were a bit-twiddler, instead of a gearhead, I might have more cogent criticism.

  171. Doodle Bean said,

    April 30, 2008 at 16:13

    You’re welcome, SFAW/Doughy One!

    You may want to read the comments on Sadly, No! They are usually quite interesting. And who knows? You might even learn about context and its influence on meaning!

    In the meantime, WordPress is morally debased and has no convictions of right or wrong!

  172. Michael said,

    April 30, 2008 at 16:21

    Timecube’s Gene Ray was interviewed by Air America’s Lionel?

    And I missed this piece of broadcasting gold???

  173. alec said,

    April 30, 2008 at 17:03

    I actually wrote an article on the problem of hospital finances a while back. The only way an illegal immigrant could drain a hospital of any more money than they’re used to losing in the average day is if they happened to have an MBA.

    In Niven’s world, of course, it’s perfectly just that well-connected business students can pull down six- or seven-digit figures in money-losing hospitals, and graft patients and hobble doctors to do it. But illegals getting healthcare without paying, uh, estate tax? Horrible.

    Seriously, why in the fuck did we let people like this decide how we run society? When you think about it, the fact that hospitals are run as for-profit enterprises is even more fucked-up than Star Wars – nobody’s going to die because we have a shitty space laser. (Well, except everyone on the planet, but no worries there.)

  174. Tom Woolf said,

    April 30, 2008 at 17:33

    I never realized Niven was a whack-job. That’s a shame – I really have enjoyed his Ringworld series. Knowing he’s a despicable excuse for a human being does not change the words on his pages, but I won’t be able to look at those books anymore without throwing up a bit in my mouth.

    And Pournelle, I did enjoy Footfall. In fact, after reading the description of SIGMA I pictured the scene with the Sci-Fi writers taking a mud bath with the elephant-like alien.

    But to even suggest that a way to save money is to purposely cause harm to innocent folks is downright evil. In one fell swoop, Niven has gone from “neat Sci-Fi writer” to “dangerously evil sub-human” in my book. He should replace the clock hat with a dunce cap, and the t-shirt with a straight jacket.

  175. The Local Crank said,

    April 30, 2008 at 17:35

    I guess it’s not just the Ringworld that’s unstable, huh? Huh? Get it? Anyone?

    Oh how I’ve wasted my life…

  176. The Local Crank said,

    April 30, 2008 at 17:36

    Oh, and if Vonnegut was alive and on that panel, he would verbally eviscerate each and every one of those right-wing, racist-porn hacks.

  177. lobbey said,

    April 30, 2008 at 17:39

    Smut,

    Haven’t read Raw Spirit but everything I have read (all of the Culture series and 2/3 of his mainstream fiction) is teh awesome. He’s dreeeamy.

    I loved a lot of his earlier stuff, particularly as he set a lot of his stories in Scotland, at places I knew really well. Complicity as a classic. However, I’m no big sci-fi fan, so couldn’t really get into those books, although they were fantastically written. But I think his mainstream stuff is slipping, I thought ‘he Business’ was overlong and boring, while ‘Dead Air’ was just stupid. ‘Raw Spirit’ as an over extended wankfest, he has gone and done a Billy Connely on us.

    Its not sci-fi, but a good contemporary Scottish author to check out is Christopher Brookmire. More a comedy crime type author, bit like a Scottish Carl Hiaasen.

  178. The Local Crank said,

    April 30, 2008 at 17:41

    Sorry for the repeat. My original comments didn’t appear, uh, originally, so I repeated them. WordPress sux.

  179. alec said,

    April 30, 2008 at 18:21

    I was ranting at Djur about the distinction ‘hard/soft’ in sci-fi being ridiculous; hard sci-fi usually deliberately purports to be writing about what’s important (whiz-bangs) while ignoring what makes literature legible (people). Asimov wrote fiction about science – that is, stories of human beings (and human-like beings) and their relationship with sciences that didn’t yet exist.

    Literary sci-fi is all soft by the soft = primary concern with non-hard sciences criterion. Like it or not, humanity is slippery and not subject to the hard limits of hard science, and hand-waving that away to focus on fancy things that go boom is childish and pointless.

    An alien intelligence that couldn’t understand Asimov would be impossible to speak coherently to. An alien intelligence that could understand David Weber should probably be bombarded into the Stone Age – with Honour.

  180. SFAW said,

    April 30, 2008 at 18:22

    DB -
    I stopped reading the comments here when The Editors took that hiatus awhile back.

  181. Lawnguylander said,

    April 30, 2008 at 19:02

    I can totally relate. I’m going to stop reading Feministing now that Jill at Feministe has quit blogging.

  182. Balls and Walnuts - more than you ever wanted to know » Asshat of the day said,

    April 30, 2008 at 19:05

    [...] of the day By Walnut From National Defense, via Sadly, No (hat tip to Daily Kos): Now a fixture at Department of Homeland Security science and technology [...]

  183. Mantar said,

    April 30, 2008 at 19:46

    Uhh. The hard/soft distinction isn’t supposed (note I say SUPPOSED) to be about the story’s focus — it’s that “hard” science fiction should avoid faking up the science parts any more than is absolutely necessary for the story. The general rule-of-thumb is that you get one “gimme”, which is often used for some magical faster-than-light hand-wavery, and then everything else must obey the natural laws insofar as we know them. There’s no requirement that your story not be about people.

    The thing is, you have to be up on your science and math to do hard sf. (Niven was always kinda poor at it — lousy biology, mathematical errors, etc.) “Literary” science fiction is usually “soft” because “literary” writers tend to have few or no degrees in the sciences. People who do have those degrees are often more interested in the engineering, though, and it can come through in their writing, giving you that whiz-bangery feel..

  184. AMERICAN NONSENSE » There Are People Who Really Think Like This said,

    April 30, 2008 at 20:21

    [...] of Homeland Security is reportedly listening to their advice, and that’s not fiction: Sadly, No — The group has the ear of Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary Jay Cohen, head of [...]

  185. Strangefate said,

    April 30, 2008 at 21:06

    So another sci-fi writer who’s a rightwing loony? The list is getting mighty long these days. (Robert Heinlein, Orson Scott Card, Ray Bradbury…) No wonder Vonnegut used to write how he hated getting lumped in with these dorks.

  186. Doodle Bean said,

    May 1, 2008 at 1:44

    Lawnguylander,

    LOL, dude!

    Thanks!

  187. lydia said,

    May 1, 2008 at 5:02

    @strangefate: Heinlein, Card, I knew… but Bradbury? Shit, should I even ask?

  188. Mantar said,

    May 1, 2008 at 6:04

    Bradbury’s had a few crotchety old man moments in the past couple years. OTOH, he’s had a number of strokes that have affected him, too. He was irritated by the title of “Fahrenheit 9/11″, and he did praise Bush’s support of educational initiatives like No Child Left Behind, and there was a bit of hoo-hah about political correctness back in the 90′s when that boogeyman was waved at people by the media, but I haven’t heard much that would rate him being classed as a hardcore wingnut.

  189. Monkay said,

    May 1, 2008 at 8:19

    Speaking of excellent, classic, virtually unknown science fiction:
    Richard Lupoff, Space War Blues and Into the Aether

  190. Monkay said,

    May 1, 2008 at 8:28

    And speaking of crappy neo-con junk: Timemaster, Robert Forward.

  191. SFAW said,

    May 1, 2008 at 13:54

    LI-er -
    (Not wordplay – I’ve found the only people who pronounce it the way you wrote it are from NJ and MA, didn’t want to give them the satisfaction)

    Good of you to provide DB with a laugh (oh wait – “LOL”).

    Too bad he didn’t get it the first time.

    (Of course, it’s possible he did, but didn’t want to give me the satisfaction, etc. If that’s the case, I’m gonna have to go cry in a corner, etc.)

    So, how are things in LI these days?

  192. Dan Someone said,

    May 2, 2008 at 23:37

    The great thing about Banks is that you can reread any of his books every year or two

    With the exception of Raw Spirit.

    Oh, sorry. I was referring to Iain M. Banks, not Iain Banks. I’ve never been impressed by his non-sf, non-middle-initialed books.

  193. Tehanu said,

    May 3, 2008 at 8:10

    …Thomas Perry’s epic masterpiece “Metzger’s Dog”, …

    mikey, that’s one of my favorites too. I assume you’ve read the Jane Whitefield books. great stuff.

  194. Andrew Porter said,

    May 3, 2008 at 19:41

    FALLEN ANGELS was first published in 1991. The Baen Books edition was published in 2002. Some dumb retard on this list didn’t bother to look at the copyright page when they posted their “Gee, how dumb can these guys be on Global Warming” rant.

    Also, as usual, people associate the ideas expressed in someone’s fiction with their personal views.

    BTW, Iain M. Banks and Iain Banks are the same person. Duh…

  195. Andrew Porter said,

    May 3, 2008 at 19:48

    HA HA HA DISREGARD THAT, I SUCK COCKS.

  196. Andrew Porter said,

    May 4, 2008 at 5:19

    Oh, so that’s why (19:48 post) people use pseudonyms. I thought I was talking with mature, intelligent posters. Forgive my mistake. Of course, by hijacking my name, you show how empty of reason and thought this entire topic is…

  197. TuxedoSlack said,

    May 4, 2008 at 19:08

    Sorry, I just got here, but I couldn’t let Singularity’s slip-up slide:

    Finally, in Inferno, there is the petty fate Niven assigns to an unnamed science fiction writer who “created his own religion”, locked away in a searing hot tomb with a neon sign above it flashing “So it goes” over and over…

    Actually, Vonnegut’s in as an atheist, not a religion-maker. The SF writer in with the Sowers of Discord “founded a religion… which masks as a form of lay psychiatry.”

    [Confidential to A.P.: when a writer consistently expresses the same views in (in this case) his fiction over a period of years, I think people can be excused for thinking he's expressing his personal views.]

  198. Dumb Retard said,

    May 5, 2008 at 1:49

    Any way Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle could be uninvited from PulpCon this year? They’ll just get pied if they show up.

  199. Lawnguylander said,

    May 5, 2008 at 3:24

    I thought I was talking with mature, intelligent posters.

    The final word of your first post was, “duh.”

  200. Simba B said,

    May 5, 2008 at 3:39

    Andrew—here’s our obligatory one attempt to explain this website to you before reverting to standard operating procedure:

    This is a snark website. It’s comedy. We don’t take things seriously, and when you come in here, obviously trolling, you are going to get the standard treatment.

    Your lack of appreciation/understanding for this doesn’t change anything.

    Methinks the proprietors need to preface any topic of interest to engineers, computer science majors, or science fiction fanboys with a disclaimer, because it seems we get those types invariably showing up in the comments (usually three days after the thread has died) and not getting the way we do things around here—when they’re trolled right back they cry about our lack of logic and “intelligence” (e.g. we have actual human emotions)….*yawn* it really isn’t all that amusing, it’s kind of sad really…

  201. Dumb Retard said,

    May 5, 2008 at 3:54

    Simba B: “they cry about our lack of logic and “intelligence” (e.g. we have actual human emotions)….*yawn* it really isn’t all that amusing, it’s kind of sad really…”

    Life is sad, Simba.

    Was he really crying? I just thought he was mentioning it in passing. Then leaving.

  202. pm01 » Blog Archive » Housecleaning: What I Missed in the Past Week while house-cleaning said,

    May 11, 2008 at 21:17

    [...] a Heinlein novel** and was responsible for Shira’s last Major Fandom Event Participation,*** has gone completely bonkers (sad h/t to Dr. [...]

  203. First britney spears sex tape said,

    May 30, 2010 at 0:54

    Best Wishes!, http://www.wearediabetic.org/britneyspearssextape/bio First britney spears sex tape, =(((,

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