MINDS ON MAXIMUM WARP -- Clark Humphrey posted this rumination on how living in Bush America is sort of like living in a bad sci-fi novel...ah, that explains it:

"Sometimes, our present-day life in occupied America seems like a bad science fiction novel.
By "bad science fiction novel," I don't mean a brisk, high-energy pulp adventure story of 1950s vintage.

I mean a ponderous, relentlessly grim-n'-geeky, multi-volume saga of 1980s vintage.

You know, those thousand-page trilogies that tried to shoehorn in all possible fan-favorite elements in the same story—"hard" science, magic, sword and sorcery, palace infighting. monsters, and a sniggering teen-nerd sexuality; all delivered in an ultra-humorless tone, with extraneous sublots and sub-subplots dangling every which where, distracting readers away from the lack of a compelling main narrative.

Sci-fi trilogies of the pre-cyberpunk years often depict scary, foreboding worlds. Similarly, the geeks running today's conservative establishment posit a vision of a scary, foreboding America, eternally besieged within an even scarier, more foreboding world.

Trilogies are full of near-incomprehensible jargon, catch words, acronyms, and bureaucratic geekspeak phrases that often conceal more than they reveal. So does today's U.S. federal government, with its straight-faced doubletalk about "weapons of mass destruction related program activities" and such.

Trilogies depict freakishly misunderstood stereotypes of human behavior and interaction, and demand the reader accept them as just the way things are in this fictional universe, with no questioning allowed. So do the likes of Karl Rove, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, et al., who, with their incessant screeching and posturing, insist that we can make the rest of the world adore us by shoving them around, that we can defend "freedom" by destroying it, and that anybody who disagrees with this is a terrorist.

Grim sci-fi, just as much as the less pretentious pulp sci-fi, wallows in physical impossibilities portrayed as hard science. Exploding spaceships might not make noises in trilogy novels (as they wouldn't in real life); but the writers do play havoc with accepted real-life laws of mass, energy, and matter; often coming up with convoluted pseudo-explanatory excuses for doing so. Likewise, the right wing's yarn-spinners insist to us, with no hint of irony permitted, that monopolies are good for competition, imperial invasions are good for democracy, pollution is good for the environment, conservative-only talk TV is "fair and balanced," bigotry is Christlike, and the best way to persuade others toward your point of view is to insult and belittle them.

And most importantly, grim SF offers up a skewed definition of heroism and/or antiheroism. Grim-SF protagonists don't have to be noble, inspiring, or all that heroic. They're the good guys because the writers say they are; they can do evil things and it's still OK. And in our century, we've got a ruthless gang of powermongers who regularly whore themselves out to big campaign contributors, who put the greed of the few ahead of the need of the many, who deliberately consign the domestic economy and the global environment to the figurative toilet, and who still, with total sincerity, believe themselves to be the noblest, most righteous figures on our planet.

Oh yeah—grim SF "trilogies" don't always top out at three volumes. They can go on for seemingly ever, spreading their joyless aesthetic of bitter struggle, until people stop buying them.

Let's hope people stop buying the fictions of our federal storytellers soon."

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