Saturday, June 22, 2013
22 June 2013
Tim Russ b. 1956 (Star Trek)
Octavia E. Butler b. 1947 died 2/24/2006 (won 2000 Nebula for Parable of the Talents)
Kris Kristofferson b. 1936 (Blade, Planet of the Apes, Millennium)
I put Ms. Butler's picture up today because I sometimes favor actors over writers, though in my defense there are a lot more actors now famous for their work in genre films than there are writers. It's also important to note there is some diversity in the field even though it tends towards being both overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly male.
Prediction: In 1999, an Aryan resistance army in the United States destroys the government and starts a successful worldwide race war, destroying most of Africa and half of Asia.
Predictor: William Luther Pierce, writing under the pseudonym Andrew McDonald
Reality: I struggled for several weeks deciding whether I would include The Turner Diaries on this blog. Given the Prime Directive of the blog, which is to publish predictions with dates from fiction and essays, it obviously qualifies. But in general, I like to keep the tone light, and this isn't light. It's an invitation to race war and some unbalanced people take it seriously today and as others taken it seriously in the past, most notably the murderous American terrorist Timothy McVeigh. Here are the arguments against bringing this up as well as the arguments for, with the "pro" arguments eventually winning the day.
Arguments against publishing
1. I don't want to give this crap any more oxygen. It doesn't deserve to be part of a mainstream argument, just a favorite book of people filled with hatred and noted by people who want to keep track of the hatred.
2. I never promised this would be an exhaustive reference source. I'm just one guy, though I happily get help from readers. There will be plenty of predictions with dates that I miss.
Arguments in favor of publishing
1. The slippery slope that is the scumbag Larry Niven. I couldn't ignore Larry Niven when starting this blog. He's a major writer in the field and he loved putting dates in his books, just like Heinlein and Clarke and Wells. But Niven is also a bigot with murderous revenge fantasies. Asked what he foresaw for an entire millennium, his best guess was the destruction of Mecca by 2025, because he is stupid enough to think someone with power will consider this a good idea. If I publish the stupid bigot Niven, what is my objection to publishing other stupid bigots?
2. Pierce's place in the history of speculative fiction. There are a lot of links to more mainstream speculative fiction in The Turner Diaries. Nearly a century earlier, a writer named Ignatius Donnelly wrote an anti-Semitic novel called Caesar's Column about a future dystopia and Donnelly likewise chose to write under a pen name. Pierce claims Jack London's The Iron Heel as one of his influences, a book that also influenced H.G. Wells and George Orwell, significantly better and more important authors. And last though likely least, Pierce started off with his predictions in the 1980s and changed the dates in a later edition published after those dates had passed, which is what Steven King did when he released the uncut version of The Stand.
3. Getting the chance to say that Pierce's was wrong. So far, the predictions of an all-out race war in the United States have not come to pass. It's certainly worrisome to see how massively armed American society is and how many of the armed share the racist and violent tendencies of Pierce. But even as allegedly mainstream thought is pushed farther to the right by ignorant elected officials and so-called celebrities like Donald Trump and Pat Robertson, no one can get up in public and say "Timothy McVeigh got a raw deal."
If The Turner Diaries was a call to action, McVeigh was its most visible proponent. Now, eighteen years after he killed 168 people and twelve years after he was executed, McVeigh's reputation suffers a worse fate than merely being reviled. He is in equal parts reviled and forgotten. The farther away you live from Oklahoma City, the less reason you have for remembering that Timothy McVeigh was ever alive.
Here endeth the lesson.
Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!
Here's a name that hasn't been on this blog before. Nikola Tesla. Want to know what this esteemed scientist had to say about the 21st Century?
The join us tomorrow... IN THE FUTURE!