Archives for 2003


The failure of subversion in imaginative literature

‘Do you believe in God, Winston?’


‘Then what is it, this principle that will defeat us?’

‘I don’t know. The spirit of Man.’

[Read more…]

Hentun and the Storm Bear

This is a fragment of a long ballad of the Falo’i Rogon. In The Eye of the Maker, Azakai, the Rogon war leader, sings it to his people as part of their Yule celebration. But he is mortally ill from fighting against demonic possession, and partway through, his strength fails him. 

In the land of Winter’s heroes,
where the great white Storm Bear wanders,
driving drakes with tooth and talon
   from the place of endless snows,
Where the snow falls like the white hair
on the ruff of Khail, the ghost-wolf,
there the Storm Bear roars and hungers,
   and he ravens as he goes. [Read more…]

Sturgeon’s Law School

Or, Why do people with good taste create bad art?


Theodore Sturgeon is the sort of unfortunate author who is far better known for a single pithy aphorism than for all his books and stories combined. His brilliant science fiction is seldom reprinted nowadays, as it requires a certain sensibility and flexibility from the reader, and this is an investment that the big reading public just doesn’t want to make. (It doesn’t help that the publishing industry in general is doggedly averse to reprinting old books, but that’s another rant.) The average sf reader today has never read ‘Microcosmic God’ or More Than Human. If he knows Sturgeon at all, it’s likely to be in the context of Sturgeon’s Law:

Ninety percent of science fiction is crud, but then ninety percent of everything is crud.

Many people nowadays say that Sturgeon was being charitable. And that 90 percent figure leaves out all the vast mountains of unpublished fiction, the stuff that is simply too cruddy for anyone to print. But the crud gets written, and some of it gets published, and hardly any of the perpetrators are aware that the stuff they’re trying to inflict on the world is crud.

Crud happens. Why can’t the crudsters tell? [Read more…]