2019/04/02

White Knighting for Campbell

Astounding

The Unz Review shows how the Right all too often rushes to enshrine earlier Leftist subversion simply because it precedes current Leftist subversion.

This time, the subject of misguided right wing hagiography is John W. Campbell, Jr.
Alec Nevala-Lee, an Asian-American science fiction writer, has here written something remarkable: an intentionally PC multi-biography that nevertheless manages to be well-informed and informative, well-written and compulsively readable.
It’s the first substantive biography of John W. Campbell, Jr., the man – or, as we’ll see, some would insist on “the white male” – who basically invented modern science fiction; and that last point means that to do so properly, we have to take into account the three men – yes, again, white males – whose writing careers he promoted in order to do it.
It’s an index of Campbell’s importance that, although I am not really a science fiction fan – certainly not to the level of the fanatical creeps that slip in and out of these pages – I could recognize almost every work referred to, and had indeed read most of them; and I bet you have, too.
The reviewer stumbles right out of the gate. Nevala-Lee is an intersectionalist true believer straight from central casting. A quick glance at his bio reveals he is a Hugo Finalist who mostly writes nonfiction books about how problematic science fiction is.

If the reviewer is unaware of SJWs' compulsive dishonesty, why would he take Lee's religious tract--which is what his book really is--at face value? Especially if he's admittedly unfamiliar with science fiction beyond the "important" books all the revisionists say we should read?

But like a broken clock, Lee does present two accurate data points, which science fiction readers who know better will see as red flags.
All [Campbell, Asimov, Hubbard, and Heinlein] were generalists who saw science fiction as an educational tool – although to radically different ends. And they all embodied Campbell’s conviction, which he never abandoned, that science fiction could change lives.
Therein lies the origin of message fic--the scourge that has plagued science fiction sine the 1930s.

Campbell wasn't the man who, "basically invented science fiction." He helped destroy the far more popular pulps--science fiction's true Golden Age.

The reviewer may have read "Nightfall", Foundation, and Stranger in a Strange Land. Once upon a time, everybody read Edgar Rice Burroughs and Walter B. Gibson.

Lee notes Campbell's association with notorious perverts Isaac Asimov and Samuel R. Delany--especially Asimov, whose career Campbell made. Why, then, does the reviewer white knight for Campbell?

Because Lee calls him waciss.
At his worst, Campbell expressed views that were unforgivably racist, and even today, the most reactionary movements in modern fandom – with their deep distrust of women and minorities – have openly stated, “We have called for a Campbellian revolution in science fiction.”
Lee's quote is out of date. It comes from a 2015 Vox Popoli post written before Vox's publishing house released the seminal Appendix N.

Appendix N

The pulp revolution Jeffro Johnson fostered is neither reactionary nor part of a decrepit fandom. It recognizes Campbell as a deleterious influence on science fiction who replaced the fun and mass  appeal of the pulps with agenda-driven message fic.

Folks on the Right desperately need to learn not to defend people the Left is attacking just because the Left is attacking them. The death cult's need to constantly reset to year zero means they routinely anathematize their former fellow travelers.

Today's commissar throwing the useful idiot under the bus is tomorrow's useful idiot. Don't interrupt him.

12 comments:

  1. As I have stated before, I'm a bit of a Campbell era SF fan. I've also become quite the pulp fan. So I can see why the pulp era stuff had/has a much bigger following. It takes a certain antisocial bent to really get into stories that hinge on some obscure bit of math or science trivia.

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    1. Don't get me wrong. There's plenty of good Campbellian science fiction. "Who Goes There" is a classic. Dune is the most highly regarded and perennially best selling sci-fi novel, as well as my favorite.

      Nevertheless, the Campbellian age was a silver age; its glitter a pale reflection of the pulps' glory. The revisionist narrative that Campbell's era was the golden age needs to be set straight.

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    2. Agreed. As much as I enjoyed those stories, I'm also enjoying the heck out of the pulp stuff. The disdain (which I admittedly shared) for the pulps is inexcusable. Trying to bury their legacy is unforgivable.

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  2. This exemplifies the old saying of conservatives being more interested in conserving discarded liberalism than they are in actually reclaiming anything.

    I can see it now: "The conservative case for N.K. Jemisin."

    This is why the Pulp revolution exists in the first place.

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    1. She does serve as an example of just how bad this SJW crap can get. :)

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  3. I think this is also related to the end of good cartoons in the mid 90's. Everything switched from crazy fun themes and concepts to being forced to be "educational". Educationally communist, that is.

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    1. It's related, but the change started well before the 90s. Every 80s cartoon from G.I. Joe to He-Man revolved around teamwork and getting along. Most kids' shows even shoehorned in a PSA at the end. They're kitsch now, but the producers back then were serious.

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    2. "Today, on a very special episode of Blossom..."

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    3. Peggy Charren pushed to kill Saturday morning cartoons and eventually succeeded. First it was about not rotting kids' brains and then it eventually had to be basic propaganda or else it had to go. Once we lost those cartoons were never going to recover.

      Now cartoons are made for sad sack losers and autistic kids who can't pay attention to the screen for more than four seconds. Once more the normal people were chased out.

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    4. *Once we lost Saturday morning cartoons.

      The 90s were a weird ground when it came to animation if you look at how it started with late 80s anime coming over here, Don Bluth, and the Disney Afternoon, Nickelodeon, MTV's experiments, and eventually ended . . . well where it still is now.

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  4. Your comments are on the money, Brad.

    Conservatives are the weaker side in a tug of war battle. They plant their feet in the ground where they've been pulled to and say, "No more", while adding, "This is the best ground I've ever stood on! please don't call me racist/homophobic/badperson." The result? Hagiography for the Campbells. That's the current awesome ground!

    It all seems so bleak. Did the individualism built into the founding of the USA mean that individualists would always be vulnerable to collectivist action? Entropy's a bitch. Things fall apart.

    There's a similar interrelated phenomenon on the left where they will pine for the days of previous "conservative" leaders. "They were literally Hitler once, but damned if we don't miss 'em." Message to right leaning people: We'll be cool with you if you align with the leaders of the past who folded to our pressure.

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    1. "Did the individualism built into the founding of the USA mean that individualists would always be vulnerable to collectivist action?"

      How could it not have? It's simple arithmetic.

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