alternate-universe nazis, the bush administration(1) and the writers of golden age sf

Grad school flashback! I bored Jeremy and Danny by reading at length from The Man in the High Castle:

“A psychotic world we live in. The madmen are in power. How long have we known this? Faced this? And – how many of us do know it? …

“It is their unconsciousness. Their lack of knowledge about others. Their not being aware of what they do to others, the destruction they have caused and are causing…

“It is their sense of space and time. They see through the here, the now, into the vast black deep beyond, the unchanging. And that is fatal to life…

“And, he thought, I know why. They want to be the agents, not the victims, of history. They identify with God’s power and believe they are godlike. That is their basic madness…

“What they do not comprehend is man’s helplessness.”

R: Dick’s so-called psychotic episodes? I think he was just telepathically watching TV in 2006.

D: He actually thought he was in Ancient Rome.

R: Same deal. Caligula, Nero.

D: Quinn doesn’t like Dick. She thinks he’s a misogynist.

R: Ha! Not like the golden-agers. Jerry Pournelle! Robert Heinlein! Although I still have a sneaking fondness for Heinlein.

D: What! Why?

R: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

J: But it was awful!

R: Yeah, but it was my awful. I must have been all of ten when I read it.(2)

D: Quinn has a good Jerry Pournelle story – the upshot is that he may be a bad man, but at least he’s no Harlan Ellison.

R: Do you think Harlan thinks he’s better than L. Ron? We really need a reverse hierarchy of SF authors!

D: Absolutely! With arrows marked “Thinks he is better than…”

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