I blame John W Campbell

Having just finished the big fat omnibus edition of John Halderman's brilliant (even forever peace, even if it is odd as all get out) Forever books.

But what I love is that apparently the biggest problem with most of the pulp/anthology era sci-fi being conservative and stuff appears to be John W Campbell being a major editor of the time, I knew Asimov bitched about how he rejected some of his early writing (which, according to Asimov, largely centered around noble heroic aliens and their quite dimwitted human freinds*, and so he wrote the robot novels instead).

But the dedication to Forever Peace (excelent book, run, don't walk, to get it) basically dedicates the book to Campbell, who declared that no one wanted to read a book about women soldiers fighting for america, and to another editor who didn't.

So John W campbell = complete asshole.

* Asimov and Cherryh are my favorite Sci-fi writers becuase they aren't afraid to actually not have super aryans versus evil woggy aliens, but have heroic aliens and complex characters, even in their villains (the mule for instance is perfect as a villain, in fact my main problem with Clancy is that he can't write villains, or heroes, or characters or do research or...). For instance, it should be noted that all the cast of the elijah baley novels are basically "olive skinned" i.e. brown by modern standards,which you can tell because Daneel (the humaniform robot who later takes control of the universe in a benevolent sort of elder of zion thing) was "olive skinned" and fit in perfectly in the New York arcology of hte future. In fact it's only "currents of space" that has truly "white" characters, and they're the poor oppressed slaves who a black character waxes ironic about because, in a universe of various shades of brown, obviously the notably light skinned florians must have suffered such tribulations on account of their exceptionally white skin tone, akin to what the character's own people must have gone through for being black.


ms_xeno said...

I haven't read any of Cherryh's books in ages. My last glance at some of the titles in a bookstore made it seem as if she only writes men in the lead nowadays, not women as she did back in the days of 40,000 In Gehenna or Cyteen, for instance. Am I wrong ?

I always thought the ending of Cyteen was blah, but until then it was terrific;One of my favorite books in any genre, in fact.

Chuckie K said...

No accident on Asimov. In his youth, he was one of the writers who belonged to Futurians, a science-fiction writers club in the ambit of the communist cultural movement.