Monday, October 15, 2007

Stuff and Book Reviews

It's blog action day, apparently, but I am suffering from the 4th day of a 3-day migraine and in no mood, so there will be no action here today, do you hear? No Action!

Also, I spent the hours I was not sulking under a fierce migraine this weekend, or dealing with the kid's Kafka-induced minor breakdown (why can't I have a kid who is afraid of things under the bed again, someone remind me?) reading Mack Reynold's Lagrange Five, which came in the mail for me from Paperback Swap on Thursday.

I love Paperback swap, which lets me get books in the mail nearly every day these days (it's the only thing I would rather find than money in the mail, books in the mail) and I had been looking for this one, Lagrange Five, for awhile, since it was on China Mieville's list of SF books that every socialist should read, so I sat right down (well, okay, lay right down, I read best lying on my back under my blue quilt) and read it, and my shit did it annoy me.

Not the socialist bit. I liked all the socialist bits. The eugenics bits. The social Darwinists bits. The absolute and openly fuck the lame and the poor bits, because what are they? Losers and trash! bits. One place in the novel right out says that -- the "sparklingly" brilliant and healthy Lagrangists don't want to "burden" their society with the defective genetic trash down on earth -- you know, those losers with asthma, those fuckups with IQs of 123, those scum with anxiety issues or diabetes or the filthy bad sense to be born to poor parents.

These apparently brilliant socialists who have never heard of or read any socialism, by the way. What are they doing with their sharp wits and enormous IQs, I would like to know? Arguing with one another about who is smartest? Not reading any philosophy or ethics, that's apparent.

And then there's the bit where his white male heroes take on the real racist of the book, the black guy - he's the true racist, see, because he's the one who hates people for the color of their skin, the white guys being the ones who are above all that, they just judge people by their acts! -- Our White Heroes, who as the book shows have taken up the White Man's Burden (I kid you not, Reynolds quotes from the poem), prove, by the end of the text, to the black guy, whose name, I also kid you not, is Whip, not only that he is the true racist, but that he should change his ways and think as they think, and -- what else! -- he thanks them for the lesson. Wise black fella!

This book has one woman in it. She is a Brilliant Woman Physicist who acts as a secretary to the Brilliant (white male) scientist, and is actually in the story just to have sex with our white male hero, and to prove that women really really aren't being discriminated against. The only other woman, aside from nurses and that, we see is an "oriental" who is in the colony for "entertainment" purposes. Ho! And, of course, both woman are beautiful. And skinny!

This book was written in the 70s. Do you reckon much has changed in mainstream male SF?

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