Pixel Scroll 11/6/21 The Arrakis Island Line Is A Mighty Fine Line

(1) CLI-FI. Peter O’Dowd has quotes from several sff writers in WBUR’s post “Novelists illustrate the climate futures that could await us”.

Omar el-Akkad authored 2021’s “What Strange Paradise” and 2017’s “American War,” which is about a second civil war triggered by a ban on fossil fuels.

“[Climate change] is happening geologically in the blink of an eye,” says novelist Omar el-Akkad, “but in human terms, it’s too long to think about. Very few politicians in power right now have to worry about getting re-elected 30 years from now. Once you move past the lifespan of a mortgage, you’re in trouble.”

El-Akkad says that stories can make the abstract threat of the climate crisis real for readers.

“I think that’s one of the things that fiction allows you to do. To try to say, ‘hey, listen. Care about someone who’s not you,’ ” he says. “Is that going to work against the massive tide of incredibly individualistic society that we’ve created? I don’t know. But fundamentally I have to believe that it might”…

(2) AFROFUTURISM. The New Yorker signal boosts “An Afrofuturist Seneca Village, at the Met”.

In 1857, Seneca Village, a community of predominantly Black Americans, was destroyed to build Central Park. Beginning Nov. 5, the Met imagines an alternate world, one in which the village still thrives, with “Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room,” combining historic and contemporary art and décor. Its visionary lead curator, Hannah Beachler—who won an Oscar for her production design on “Black Panther”—is pictured here, with wallpaper by the Nigerian American artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby.

The Met’s online guide to the imagined room is here: “Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room – In-Gallery Guide”. One item on the walls is this Henry Taylor portrait:

— based on a photograph taken in 1982 at a U.S. Navy facility in Panama City, Florida, of Andrea Y. Motley Crabtree, the first woman to pass the rigorous qualification for deep sea diving, a highly specialized aspect of military service. While Crabtree wears a standard white diving uniform and holds a Mark V helmet in her lap, both the rich, dark painted backdrop and her seated posture align her with depictions of regal subjects such as popes, kings, and cardinals by artists such as Velázquez or El Greco, similarly marking her as a figure highly worthy of prestige.

(3) BOARD GAMES OVER THE MILLENNIA. LASFS’ Nick Smith presents the Pasadena History Museum’s video lecture “From Senet to Monopoly to Terraforming Mars: 4,600 Years of Board Games”.

The evolution of board games has transformed them into a popular pastime all over the world. Join Nick Smith for another fascinating adventure as we discover the history and popularity of ancient games, familiar classics and today’s popular versions of this age-old pursuit.

(4) REINING IN RAMPANT CAPITALISM. In the UK, “Monopoly Sets Up Holiday Hotline To Settle Family Disputes” says Huffington Post.

…Family members attempting to ruin Christmas by bending the rules or blatantly cheating during the game will now have to answer to an official board.

The folks over at Hasbro UK are setting up a dispute hotline from Dec. 24 through Dec. 26 for game enthusiasts in the United Kingdom and Ireland stuck in the midst of an argument.

Hasbro conducted a survey of 2,000 adults and found that players are widely unfamiliar with Monopoly’s official rules. As a result, games regularly devolve into disputes. In fact, in a statement sent to The Huffington Post, Hasbro listed 10 common arguments that occur during playing and found that “people making up rules” is the No. 1 issue.

So the company set up the hotline to mediate issues….

… Hasbro expects to receive a “flood of calls” around 6 p.m. on Christmas day.

(5) SEREDIPITY. Kim Beil touts the benefits of writers having a project in “What I Learned While Cataloguing an Entire Library of 19th-Century Schoolbooks” at Literary Hub.

Chapter 4. Accidents are meaningful. Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly write about another volume of the National Reader, something fell out of its pages: a newspaper advertisement for “The Most Popular Writer of the Day for Boys and Girls.” Clearly, the book’s owner wished he was reading something else, too. This bookmark led me to other things filed in the Reader’s pages: a small engraved portrait, a scrap of emerald silk. And this, an anathema, or book curse: “Steal not this ^book for fear of strife/ For the owner carries a big/ Dirk Knife.” The project can take you places you’d never think to go on your own.

(6) LEIA’S LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES. At Reason.com, an excerpt from Stephen Kent’s new book on the philosophy of Star Wars, How The Force Can Fix The World. “Princess Leia shows us why hope is crucial for a liberty-oriented way of life.” “Hope Must Conquer Fear in Politics”.

… Hope is a lot of things. It can be personified, objectified, or embodied in places, faith, and prose. But the most simple definition for hope is that it’s to want something you can have, at least in theory. I want very badly to have the Jedi power of levitating objects and moving them around my house with my mind, but I don’t have hope of achieving such a thing, nor should I, even in theory. It’s not within the realm of possibility. But what if I watched enough YouTube videos made by weirdos living in their mothers’ basements, telling me beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m wrong, and this power is in fact attainable? All I’d have to do, according to these armchair wizards of the web, is watch enough of their videos and wire them some money. There’s a good chance that at some point you’ll become bitter and angry. After all, someone sold you false goods, hope beyond hope.

This is what happens to Anakin Skywalker when he is told by a supposed friend, Chancellor Palpatine, about the power to control life and death that is known only to the Sith. Anakin, suffering from visions of his wife Padme dying in childbirth, is lured in by a twisted kind of hope we might understand as an intergalactic spin on the snake-oil salesman who travels from town to town hawking miracle cures that almost certainly will let the buyer down.

Just as hope can push the likes of Princess Leia forward through a tragedy like the destruction of Alderaan, hope can also move a desperate and loving husband to spend the last of his savings or sell the house to get that cure from the roving snake-oil salesman. It’s not unlike the snake oil hawked by politicians who say all our problems will be solved if we just give them votes and power, warping the minds of people who go to great lengths to follow them. There is a light and dark side to everything….

(7) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • November 6, 1981 — Time Bandits premiered. Co-written, produced, and directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Kenny Baker, Sean Connery, John Cleese, Shelley Duvall, Ralph Richardson, Ian Holm, Michael Palin, and David Warner. Gilliam has referred to it as the first in his Trilogy of Imagination followed by Brazil  and ending with The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. It received widespread critical acclaim with a current ninety percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes among audience reviewers and was a financial success as well.  Apple has gained the rights for a Time Bandits television series for their Apple TV+ service with Gilliam on board in a non-writing production role and Taika Waititi who directed Thor: Ragnarok as the director of the pilot.  You can read Kage Baker’s review of the Criterion edition here.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born November 6, 1907 Catherine Crook de Camp. Author and editor. Most of her work was done in collaboration with her husband L. Sprague de Camp, to whom she was married for sixty years. Her solo work was largely non-fiction. Her Science-Fiction Handbook was nominated for Retro Hugo at Noreascon 4, and Dark Valley Destiny: The Life of Robert E. Howard was nominated for a World Fantasy Award. Heinlein in part dedicated Friday to her. (Died 2000.)
  • Born November 6, 1914 — Jonathan Harris. Doctor Zachary Smith, of course, as seen on Lost in Space. He was somewhat typecast as a villain showing up as such as Mr. Piper on Land of the Giants, The Ambassador on Get Smart and the voice of Lucifer on the original Battlestar Galactica. He did play lighter roles such as Johann Sebastian Monroe on Bewitched  in the “Samantha on the Keyboard” episode, and the voice of Professor Jones, the second Butler of Freakazoid on the series of that name. (Died 2002.)
  • Born November 6, 1948 Michael Dirda, 73. Currently book critic for the Washington Post. His connection to genre is a fascinating work entitled On Conan Doyle; or, The Whole Art of Storytelling which won  the Edgar Award for Best Critical / Biographical Works in 2012 and which looks at his SF work as well. Also worth bringing to your attention is Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books which y’all should naturally be interested in reading. 
  • Born November 6, 1955 Catherine Ann Asaro, 66. She is best known for her books about the Ruby Dynasty, called the Saga of the Skolian Empire. I don’t think I’ve read them, so if you’ve read them,  please do tell me about them. She won Nebula Awards for The Quantum Rose novel and “The Spacetime Pool” novella. And the Analog readers really like her, having voted her three An-Lab awards for Best Novella, “Aurora in Four Voices”, “A Roll of The Dice” and “Walk in Silence”.  
  • Born November 6, 1958 Trace Beaulieu, 63. Puppeteer, writer, and actor. For the first eight seasons of MST3K, he wrote for the show, operated and voiced the Crow T. Robot puppet, and played the role of Dr. Clayton Forrester, the head mad scientist at Gizmonic Institute.
  • Born November 6, 1968 Kelly Rutherford, 53. She’s here for having the recurring role of Dixie Cousins on The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. and that’s in addition to managing to get herself involved in some bad genre series that got cancelled fast such as Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures and Kindred: The Embraced (eight episodes each). And her very first genre gig had the dubious title of Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge.
  • Born November 6, 1972 Rebecca Romijn, 49. Played Mystique in the X-Men film franchise but my favorite role for her is as Eve Baird, The Guardian of the Library that cross all realities in The Librarians series.  She also was a regular playing Roxie Torcoletti in Eastwick, yet another riff off the John Updike novel. She is now Number One on Discovery and the forthcoming Strange New Worlds

(9) THE SHARP OF THINGS TO COME. Heavy.com demands to know “Why Are the New ‘Star Trek’ Ships All so Pointy?” There’s a lot of info about Trek’s design history packed into this article, and input from key artists like Rick Sternbach.

… Perhaps it was due to the success of Probert’s Enterprise-D that things had to change. Fans knew all about Picard’s ship from seven years of “The Next Generation.” When that change happened, it was in the form of the Enterprise-E and the Voyager.

Rick Sternbach, who served the franchise as a senior illustrator, designer, scenic artist, or technical advisor, created the design for the Voyager for executive producer Jeri Taylor. She asked Sternbach to create a new ship for the show, which was “sleeker and smaller than the Enterprise-D,” according to Trek expert and writer Nick Ottens

(10) SUITABLE FOR ANY MISSION. Add the flagship-with-a-theme-song to your holiday celebrations with the Enterprise Christmas tree topper. Or skip the tree and use the lighted model as room décor year-around: Enterprise Musical Tree Topper With Light from Moonlofty. (Click for larger images.)

(11) BEZOS LOSES. “Blue Origin Loses Legal Fight Over SpaceX’s NASA Moon Contract” reports the New York Times.

A federal judge on Thursday rejected Jeff Bezos’ latest legal attempt to overturn NASA’s multibillion-dollar moon lander contract with Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The decision ended a monthslong battle between the space companies of two of the world’s richest men that posed a significant obstacle to NASA’s plans for returning humans to the moon for the first time since 1972.

The ruling makes it all but certain that whenever American astronauts return to the lunar surface, they will be traveling in a spacecraft built by Mr. Musk’s company. That adds another victory for SpaceX, a company that has become a dominant player in orbital spaceflight, including serving as a primary partner of NASA in carrying astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station.

But NASA has been unable to work on the program with SpaceX for the duration of Blue Origin’s legal challenges, which may delay the return to the moon….

(12) COMEDY TONIGHT. From last night’s Amber Ruffin show: “Lotionelle Thinks You’re Beautiful… Even With Those ‘Ugly Secrets’”. Sixty years ago this would have been the premise for a Twilight Zone episode.

(13) MORE PRO TIPS. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “The Movie Locations Tutorial” on Screen Rant, written by Seb Decter, Ben Harrison Smith plays “Wild” Ron-Jon Mason, movie location scout, who says he found the school in School Of Rock and the house in Big Momma’s House and lots of warehouses and dark alleys for Marvel.  His advice:  shoot everything in Toronto but make sure you have a little metal Empire State Building for those New York backgrounds.

(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. When Owl Kitty is on the rampage in Jurassic Park,cat food always helps! “Jurassic Park but with a Cat” on YouTube.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, John A Arkansawyer, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dune, er, Dern.]

47 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/6/21 The Arrakis Island Line Is A Mighty Fine Line

  1. First
    I’ve read a bunch of Skolian Empire novels of Asaro, my favorite being THE LAST HAWK.
    Oddly in some ways, it resembles the late Patricia Kennally’s novels about a human civilization brought by aliens to space and establishing a starfaring civilization…except for Asaro it was a matriarchial mesoamerican culture, not Celts.

  2. (8) Michael Dirda is also a consistent genre chapmpion who keeps it present in the Washington Post’s Book Review. For example, Dirda responded to the new Dune movie by writing an article connecting the film with fandom that included a personal encounter with Frank Herbert, while the NYT Book Review had nary a mention about the book and the film.

  3. Ben Bird Person says time bandits was released forty years ago? dang

    Yeah that surprised me as well.

    I am looking forward to seeing what the Apple+ series does to reimagine this premise. Given modern digital technologies, they could create a really awesome story provided that they’ve got a great script as well.

  4. I mourn the loss of classic Trek spaceship design. The worst was the Enterprise D, which was an ungainly tub in space. Nothing has really improved on Matt Jeffries’ original design, though I do give credit to the design of the original movie Enterprise with the swept pylons for the warp nacelles. They certainly enhanced the look of speed. The newer spearhead designs remind me of just a silly cosmetic design, much like tail fins on cars in the late 50’s early 60’s;

  5. (2) Not to disparage Henry Taylor, but there’s nothing about that painting that aligns it with works by Velázquez or El Greco.

  6. Troyce: I still have the saucer section of my circa-1968 Enterprise (diameter circa 9″). I agree that the Enterprise-D is an ungainly tub, but it also holds more than twice as many people (crew + families). It’s the same reason the original-size, rather nimble 1997-2008 Subaru Forester (of which we have two, stick and auto) was replaced by the tall, ungainly more recent models: adult-size rear seat room. Sleek and capacious don’t go together. I don’t know why the complement of the D had to be any larger than in the 1960s series.

  7. I think Star Trek ship design is one of those things everyone’s going to have opinions on, and no one is any more right than anyone else. I personally think the Voyager design the best, most elegant example of the form first created in the 60’s. But I’ve always been more partial to Captain Janeway over the other series’ ship captains (Sisko being the exception, but he didn’t exactly captain a ship other than his occasional command of the Defiant, which doesn’t fit any normal Star fleet design standards).

    See? Even I have opinions. 🙂

  8. POUND! POUND! POUND!
    “Open UP! Monopoly Police! Drop the dice and step away from the game board! You’re being charged with first degree rules fabrication and unauthorized do-overs!
    Yeah, take the tiny battleship, we’ll need it for evidence!”

  9. Meredith moment: Tom Shippey’s J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of The Century, nominated at ConJosé for a Hugo, is available from the usual suspects for a buck ninety nine. That was the year The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring won a Hugo.

  10. (6) I hope we get a “Risk” board of governance too…

    @Paul Weimer: Last Hawk was the first Asaro I read.

  11. I’ve read every single one of the ~17 Skolian War / Major Bhaaj novels and the short fiction too, and I love the series and recommend it to SF fans. But The Last Hawk, while having some really cool SFnal concepts, has such massive dubcon and noncon issues* that it still makes me cringe, thinking about it.

    * Okay, I’ll say it. This novel features rape – and as not necessarily a horrible thing. 🙁

  12. (4) Some people calling the Monopoly hotline are going to be surprised to learn that, according to the official rules, you don’t get anything when you land on Free Parking… you just sit there till it’s your turn to roll again. Practically everybody seems to play a variant where you get some money when you land there, but it’s never been part of the Parker Brothers/Hasbro original.

  13. Rusty: Practically everybody seems to play a variant where you get some money when you land [on Free Parking], but it’s never been part of the Parker Brothers/Hasbro original.

    WHAT??? I just landed on Free Parking. Give me ALLLLLL OF YOUR HOTELS. 😀

  14. John A Arkansawyer: Asaro is a good writer.

    She’s an awesome writer! She’s a physicist and chemist, so there’s a lot of fantastic science (and science-ish) in her SF.

    There’s a bit of romance, too, and that’s really not my thing, but she doesn’t make it the primary element, and when it does occur, I just skip over it.

    I fucking love Major Bhaaj. I’m still a massive Soz fan – she’s awesome – but Bhaaj, hey, I am so here for Bhaaj.

  15. Hmmm. I just checked Audible and the first two Skolian War novels are available there so I’ve downloaded them to listen to. That’s thirty hours of great SF waiting me!

  16. The way I read LH is that Asaro was deconstructing romance tropes (including cringing ones) by genderflipping them, so as to make them more starkly visible AS tropes, problematic ones included.

  17. You all have made me curious now. I’ve just put the first Major Bhaaj book on my Christmas list. 🙂

  18. @Mike.
    Really? Taylor doesn’t do it for me, but if he speaks to you, then good. De gustibus non est disputandum, and all that.

  19. Nancy Sauer says You all have made me curious now. I’ve just put the first Major Bhaaj book on my Christmas list. ?

    One of the joys of doing these Birthdays, in fact the prime joy, is discovering authors I didn’t know about it and their works, and of course finding out what y’all know about these authors.

    So now I’ve got thirty hours of her first two Skolian War series to listen to this autumn. Oh bliss!

  20. Bill: Although Taylor does “speak to me”, the article is discussing how the artists have in common specific elements of composition. Which they do.

    both the rich, dark painted backdrop and her seated posture

  21. (9) there’s a compelling graphic at the start of the article, but it only really works of you allow it’s cherry picking. Sure, there’s a progression from the original enterprise, to the D, to Voyager, to Protostar, but as soon as you add in Archer’s Enterprise, Discovery and Cerritos the thesis collapses.

  22. The Stand on Zanzibar by Stephen King and John Brunner. A double-thick novel, but somewhat confusing – as if the authors couldn’t decide whether they were writing an overpopulation dystopia, or a sudden depopulation dystopia.

  23. @Mike — true, but those elements of composition are not what make Velazquez and El Greco the artists they are. It would be like saying that Dan Brown uses many of the same nouns and prepositions as Kazuo Ishiguro, and is thus aligned with him.

    And while the dark background is Taylor’s choice, I can’t give him much credit for the seated position in that the photograph he copied has Crabtree sitting. If depicting Crabtree sitting regally as if on a throne marks her worthy of prestige, then credit for that depiction should go to the photographer, and not Taylor. For that matter, the photograph (in my mind) is a better work than the painting.

    But better to leave it at I think the commentator is reaching in the comparison between Taylor and Velazquez & El Greco; I don’t care much for the painting; and I don’t hold Taylor in the same high regard that others do. If you like it, and agree with the commentary quoted in the item, I’m not trying to change your mind; just saying why I don’t find it convincing. I’m sure that others don’t care much for some of my esthetic choices. A piece of art is a conversation between the artist and the person who experiences the art, and each conversation is unique.

  24. Bill: ….It would be like saying that Dan Brown uses many of the same nouns and prepositions as Kazuo Ishiguro, and is thus aligned with him….

    Resorting to this nonsense must be your way of admitting you lost the argument. Which shouldn’t even be an argument, it’s an issue of doing an accurate reading of the commentator’s original point, which you now grudgingly admit to understanding.

  25. The Stand on Zanzibar by Stephen King and John Brunner. A double-thick novel, but somewhat confusing – as if the authors couldn’t decide whether they were writing an overpopulation dystopia, or a sudden depopulation dystopia

    Which is why it didn’t sell until they got LeGuin to help – she added the subtitle “An Ambiguous Dystopia”

    I amuse myself, anyway.

  26. (4) Although I played Monopoly many times in my youth, I don’t understand why Hasbro thinks that the game is fun for the family under the official rules. (Or even under house rules.) Since the point of the game is to drive the other players into bankruptcy and out of the game, by the end of the game some of the players will not even be at the board and will have drifted off to watch television or do something more fun.

  27. bill says I wasn’t even aware I was having an argument.

    That’s your problem, you never know that you’re having an argument. Or being irritating for that matter when you don’t have to be. Many times I’ve wanted to kick you hard for replies you’ve made to things I’ve posted when anyone else would’ve let it slide by.

    There I’ve said what I’ve wanted to say for sonetime now.

  28. Now we see the violence behind the pleasant mask. Or was I supposed to let this slide by?

  29. David Shallcross: Now we see the violence behind the pleasant mask. Or was I supposed to let this slide by?

    I’m friends with Cat. A few years ago, he died several times after a horrific accident. They managed to bring him back, but he suffered severe head injuries and other physical trauma – which profoundly affected his short-term memory for recent years, and he pretty much has medical care on a daily basis and is in pain all of the time. (But ask him about books he read years ago, or reviews he wrote back then, and he’ll run circles around you.)

    So it’s always aggravating when people get super-nitpicky on the Birthdays. Cat puts in a massive amount of work on these; I know just how much work, because I assisted with them for several months before I finally had to say that I couldn’t do it anymore, with all of my other obligations and commitments. And since then, he’s actually upped the level of the quality of the birthdays and historic moments.

    I’ve also done numerous Pixel Scrolls for Mike in the past when he had major personal life things which required his attention. So I understand very well just how unbelievably damned hard it is to put out this blog every single damned day because I’ve done it. Cat and Mike are not the only ones who get cross when people seem to take pleasure in sabotaging or bad-mouthing Scroll items and Birthdays, I do, too.

    If Mike and Cat didn’t put in the incredible amount of work that they do every day, y’all would be back on Usenet Google Groups or Facebook or Twitter, none of which are as satisfying for fannish interaction, or provide such a great roundup of fannish news, as this blog. Please remember that when you respond to the Scroll and Birthday items.

    Cat, please forgive me for speaking on your behalf, but I think a lot of people here don’t know this or don’t remember it, so it bears repeating.

  30. Nancy Sauer: You all have made me curious now. I’ve just put the first Major Bhaaj book on my Christmas list. 🙂

    Yay!

    While the Bhaaj books are fairly standalone, it would probably be helpful to have a little bit of background on the worldbuilding. I would recommend reading the first half of the Wikipedia article. Starting with the section “Main characters of the Ruby Dynasty”, it gets into major spoilers for the earlier novels, so I would stop there.

    If you finally get a chance to read Undercity, I would be interested to hear what you think.

  31. 1) I read The American War. Based on the book, the author does not understand America from the political, cultural, and economic perspectives. There were other flaws.

    I don’t think we were supposed to root for the main character, but that was the result nonetheless, for me.

    Regards,
    Dann
    I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them. – Isaac Asimov

  32. @Dann, I think you miss the target at which el-Akkad aims. He aims at the powerful who use the passions and grievances of the powerless to keep them divided and weak and battling against shadows and futile causes.
    Think of the solar power wealthy Bouazizi Empire as the avatar for the USA as she currently exists and you might see another perspective. And yes I believe the reader is encouraged to understand Sarat as she does the unthinkable. But much of the blame lies elsewhere (though not of course, exclusively).
    I did think the premise for the 2nd Civil War (fossil fuel proscription) was a bit of a stretch, but understand, this predates mask wars and vaccine mandate resistance in the once great USA, so I am not so sure that it is so risible now.

  33. @Ken Richards

    I apologize for the delay.

    I caught those elements when I was reading the book and gave them all due regard.

    While I might have criticisms about those elements, they aren’t part of my criticism regarding the author’s understanding (or lack thereof) of American culture. The two major areas where I think the author lacks the requisite experience are with regard to the bifurcation of American political culture and our social culture of inventiveness.

    I agree that mask and vaccine mandates are revealing a split in our culture. Equally so are the murder, arson, theft, and assault that are attendant to the riots being fomented by the Cheka-lite elements on the extreme left.

    In the case of a carbon-inspired conflict, I think the more apt dividing line would be a line running north/south either through western Pennsylvania or north/south through Indiana or perhaps somewhere in between. Much of our cultural divide is urban vs. rural rather than north vs. south. The people in Michigan outside of the greater Detroit metro area would be more sympathetic to the “south” as represented in the book. The same applies to rural/suburban Pennsylvania. I think it would be more conflict everywhere rather than across some sort of distinct piece of geography.

    Additionally, Americans have a history of inventiveness. When there is a problem, we don’t wait for “officials” to solve it, we devise solutions on our own. That focus on individual effort appears to be non-existent in the book. I think it would be interesting to know what broke it before accepting that it doesn’t exist. I can’t see Americans accepting a low power reality without seeking productive ways around, over, under, or through any obstacles to progress.

    Otherwise, it seems to me that the author is just using existing country names with little/minimal rhetorically connective tissue between those real nations and the fanciful ones in the book.

    We ain’t “once great”, yet. It’s not even close.

    Regards,
    Dann
    Insert tag filled with wit, wisdom, and humour here…

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