…I have no children, and no legacy but my work— and you.
I have the power to reach back to you long after I am dead, through these spidery marks on paper or pixels, and remind you that you have a voice, you have agency, and your voice is stronger and more powerful than you could ever imagine, and long after I am gone, you can pick up this beer beside me and carry on the work we are doing now, the work we have always been doing, the work we will always do, until the world looks the way we imagine it can be.
I am a grim optimist, and this is my hope for you: that you will be louder than me, and stronger than me, and more powerful than me, and that you will look back at me as a relic, a dinosaur, as the minor villain in your own story, the rock you pushed against in your own flight to fame, to notoriety, to revolution.
That is my wish for you.
(2) SCIENCE FICTION IS A POSITIVE FORCE. Patrick Nielsen Hayden talks about “The Prospect Before Us”.
This morning, at 9:30, saw a long-planned major meeting at Tor, not quite all hands but definitely the majority of our staff plus various Macmillan-level sales and marketing managers.
It could have been better timed, obviously.
I took the opportunity to make some remarks. Here’s what I said:
Last night, I found myself very grateful that I work in science fiction.
Science fiction came into being in response to a new thing in human history: the understanding that not only was the world changing, but also that the rate of change was speeding up. That in a normal lifetime, you could expect to experience multiple episodes of rapid, disorienting change. Science fiction at its best has always been about examining and inhabiting those experiences when the world passes through a one-way door.
Modern science fiction grew up in the Great Depression and flourished in World War II. It thrived in the strangeness of the 1950s and the different strangeness of the 1960s. It has continued to be an essential set of tools for engaging with our careening world.
I don’t want to argue that reading science fiction makes us smarter or morally better. (I personally believe that, but I don’t want to argue it.) But I do believe that good storytelling is a positive force in the world. And I really do believe that science fiction and fantasy storytelling makes us, in some fundamental way, a bit more practiced in the ways of a world caught up in wrenching change—and more open to imagining better worlds that might be possible.
Bottom line: I’ve never been more convinced of the need for more good science fiction and fantasy, and I’ve never been more fired up to find it and publish it, hopefully with the help of everyone in this room. Thank you.
(3) EXPERIENCED VOICE. Here’s what George Takei has to say:
The unthinkable happened before, to my family in WWII. We got thru it. We held each other close. We kept our dignity and held to our ideals.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) November 9, 2016
(4) 124C41+. John Scalzi didn’t predict the election, but he now predicts this outcome: “Early Morning Thoughts on the Day After”.
- It will be no surprise to anyone I’m unhappy with the result of this election. Donald Trump was manifestly the worst presidential candidate in living memory, an ignorant, sex-assaulting vindictive bigot, enamored of strongmen and contemptuous of the law, consorting with white nationalists and hucksters — and now he’s president-elect, which is appalling and very sad for the nation. I don’t see much good coming out of this, either in the immediate or long-term, not in the least because if he does any of the things he promises to do, his impact will be ruinous to the nation. Add to the fact that he’s the GOP candidate, and the GOP now will have the White House, Congress and will appoint the next Supreme Court justice, and, well. There aren’t any grownups in the GOP anymore, and we’re going to find out what that means for all of us.
Here are some of the things it could mean: A conservative Supreme Court for decades, backtracking on climate change, the repeal of Roe v. Wade, curtailment of free speech, loss of medical insurance to millions, tax policy that advantages the wealthy and adds trillions to the national debt, punitive racial policies, the return of torture as a part of the military toolbox, and a president who uses the apparatus of the US to go after his personal enemies. And these are only the things Trump has said he’s ready to do — we don’t know what else he will do when he’s literally the most powerful man on the planet, with a compliant legislature and judiciary.
(5) WHICH CANCER WOULD YOU LIKE? Larry Correia says he predicted cancer would win and that his prediction was correct.
As somebody who didn’t really have a horse in this race, who had to come to terms with not getting what I wanted months ago, I’ve got some comments for the rest of you. (for the record my primary vote was for Ham Sandwich, only All-You-Can-Eat-Shrimp/Colon Cancer supporters declared that was actually Canadian Bacon because they didn’t understand how the Naturalization Acts work, and his dad killed JFK)
I’m not happy Trump won, but I’m ecstatic that Hillary lost.
From what I heard this morning (haven’t looked to confirm yet, and woke up late) Trump got fewer votes than Romney, but Hillary got WAY less votes than Obama. So people decided they wanted colon cancer instead of brain cancer, but I don’t think very many of us were super enthusiastic about either. They just wanted the other crappy one to lose.
This election turned into “My authoritarian New Yorker is better than yours!” And shockingly enough, a authoritarian New Yorker won. Yay! Go cancer! I did not see a Trump victory coming (apparently, neither did any of the professional pollsters). It is a testament to the sheer, banal, corrupt, unlikable nature of Hillary that she couldn’t beat the guy they picked as the most beatable.
(6) PREDICTION FAILURES. Vox Day has written a series of triumphalist posts about Trump’s win. This one is a roundup about inaccurate polling, which people on both sides are pondering — “The hoax media”.
This is why you simply cannot believe anything they say. The final polls and estimates prior to the election.
The New York Times: 80 percent chance of Clinton victory
Huffington Post: 98.1 percent chance of Clinton victory
Nate Silver/538: 72 percent chance of Clinton victory (323 electoral votes)
Bing.com: 89.7 percent chance of Clinton victory
NBC/SM: Clinton +6
IPSOS: Clinton +4
Fox News: Clinton +4
NBC/WSJ: Clinton +4
ABC/WashPost: Clinton +4
Herald: Clinton +4
Bloomberg: Clinton +3
But this is what demonstrates how SHAMELESSLY dishonest they are: Donald Trump has been elected president of the United States. In an extremely narrow sense, I’m not that surprised by the outcome, since polling — to a greater extent than the conventional wisdom acknowledged — had shown a fairly competitive race with critical weaknesses for Clinton in the Electoral College. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, that Clinton will eventually win the popular vote as more votes come in from California. – Nate Silver Oh, shut up, Nate. You were wrong. You were wrong from the start. You were wrong about the primaries. You were wrong about the election. No one should put any faith in your erroneous models ever again. Keep in mind that Silver not only called a 72 percent chance of a Clinton victory, but actually INCREASED it from 65 percent on the day of the election. This isn’t “statistical science”; it’s not even “statistical analysis”. It is nothing more than postmortem media CYA.
(7) DON’T BOTHER, THEY’RE HERE. George R. R. Martin is not in a mood to unify the country today: “President Pussygrabber”.
Over the next four years, our problems are going to get much, much worse.
Winter is coming. I told you so.
(8) SEEING WHAT THEY EXPECT. Nancy Kress broke her usual silence on things political:
Many people will see this election through whatever lens they interpret the world. Those most concerned with misogyny will say that Clinton lost because she’s a woman. Those focusing on race will say Trump won because he’s a racist. Those for whom guns are a major concern will view Trump as their champion, Clinton as their enemy. Etc. These things may or may not be true, but I think it’s important to see Trump’s win as the complex thing it is. Even if he is misogynist, racist, vulgar, insensitive, and pro-gun (and please don’t give me your impassioned arguments on either side–I’ve heard them already), not all of those who voted for him are those things. Over half the country chose this man for president, and many are fundamentally decent people who don’t want to deport undocumented immigrants, ban Muslims, or even repeal Roe v. Wade. We on the left lost this election because something important is going on out there in the heartland, something involving feelings of exclusion and lost jobs and profound distrust of Washington, and we on the left did not realize how deep that feeling went. We were not paying sufficient attention, which is why the commentators all looked so stunned last night when the results came in. I am not moving to Canada, or Ireland, or anywhere else. This is my country. But it is Trump-supporters’ country, too, and we all need to find some way to work together. No, this is not a “can’t-we-just-get-along’ sentimental plea. It’s a statement that we had better all figure out how to not only get along, but get done the things that need doing, and without scapegoating–not Trump voters, not Muslims, not undocumented immigrants. If we don’t, then the next four years will be hell.
(9) HARI HARI. I guess you could think of it that way…
@SpikeFriedman Asimov's FOUNDATION, which is basically "what if Nate Silver predicted the collapse of civilization & tried to save it?"
— Erik LeDrew (@erikledrew) November 9, 2016
(10) DOOM. Charles Stross has this and a lot more to say in his own post carrying that popular title “The Day After”.
Trump will have to be painfully educated that the office of POTUS is not a CEO’s desk where he can rule by decree, but the head of a 400-person executive team who interact with other agencies and negotiate to get results. The hairpiece that walks like a man won’t like that. In fact, he’ll sulk, and probably retire to his golf course and leave running the USA to Vice President Pence, a man who seems to think that The Handmaid’s Tale was a road map rather than a dystopia, and the likes of Rudy Giuliani (about whom the less said, the better). It’ll be four years of the ugly old white male phobes running the federal government, and only the huge inertia built into the system of checks and balances will prevent it from being a total fright-fest as opposed to a major throwback fright-fest. In the mid-terms of 2018 the Democrats will pick up votes and hopefully re-take the Senate, which will put a brake on Trump … and in 2020, who knows?
But this may not happen, because the airliner of reality which we all ride in has flown straight into a flock of migrating black swans, both engines have flamed out, and that’s not the Hudson River down below. (Also? We now have Donald Trump at the controls.)
I’m calling it for the next global financial crisis to hit before the 2018 mid-terms. Neither Trump nor Pence are far-sighted enough to realize that the USA is not a corporation and can’t be run like one, and that on the macro scale economics is difficult and different from anything they have any experience of. They will, to put it bluntly, screw the pooch—aided by the gibbering chorus of Brexiteers across the pond, who are desperately trying to ensure that the British economy and banking sector commit seppuku in the name of limiting immigration. We’ve already seen Sterling crash, and continue to crash; what happens when the Dollar joins it? Quantitative easing can only stretch so far before we break out in hyperinflation due to basic commodities getting scarce (as witness the 5-20% food price inflation working its way through the UK’s supply chain in defiance of the structural deflationary regime enforced by the supermarkets for the past two decades).
(11) A VOTE AGAINST. David Gerrold has posted a double-handful of responses to the election at Facebook; here’s one.
I feel betrayed.
I used to believe in the good sense and collective wisdom of the American people.
I can’t do that anymore.
A majority of American voters have just declared that they do not care about the rights of Muslims, immigrants, Latinos, LGBT people, women, seniors, the disabled, and so many others. A majority of Americans voted against common human kindness.
I feel betrayed — but if there is a betrayal, it has to be my own, for believing that we were a nation of compassionate and thoughtful people. Apparently, we are not.
… If we truly believe in this thing called “The United States of America” — if we truly believe in the essential strength of our Constitutional processes, then we have no choice but to get to work.
I don’t know what we have to do or how we will have to do it. I do know that we will be facing dire political circumstances. Ahead of us is a decade of frustrating hard work. …
(12) STAY AND FIGHT. Gardner Dozois isn’t leaving the country—but then, who is, really?
Let me make one thing clear, though. I see a lot of my Friends on Facebook talking seriously, more seriously than the half-joking way this is usually mentioned, of moving to Canada. I’m not moving to Canada. This is my country, and I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to stay here and fight, and do anything that I possibly can, even if it’s only to encourage others, to stay right here and work as hard as possible to make things as much better as we can.
For those of you who supported Hillary, or at least DIDN’T support Trump–which, after all, included very nearly half of the people in the country–don’t give into despair. Don’t give up. The fight is far from over, and there are many things on all levels that can still be done. One possibility is that, in one of the great historical ironies, the Democrats and the Republicans may end up switching roles, with the Democrats becoming the “obstructionists” in Congress and trying to keep the Republicans from undoing as much as possible of the gains set in place for the last eight years;…
(13) COMEDY TONIGHT. Meanwhile, back at the bookstore… Gary K. Wolfe reviews Connie Willis’s new novel Crosstalk for Locus Online.
So while the characters and their relationships follow a familiar rom-com pattern, there’s also a fair amount of acerbic commentary on a society already overwired and overconnected, but which seems to want to get even more overwired and overconnected. The two SF elements crucial to this commentary, and in fact the only real SF elements in the book, are a new minor brain procedure called EED, which purportedly allows a couple already emotionally bonded to become super-empathetic with each other – and telepathy.
(14) WIL BADEN OBIT. Condolences to Chaz Boston Baden on the loss of his father, Wil Baden (1928-2016) who died today. Chaz wrote a long post about his life:
This is the man who, as a boy, lived in Hollywood and was an extra in a crowd scene in an “Our Gang” episode about a birthday party.
This is the man whose father took him to the World Science Fiction Convention, in 1939.
He took the bus to visit John W. Campbell Jr. at Astounding Science Fiction magazine’s offices. While at Princeton University, he had tea with Albert Einstein. (Which wasn’t unusual at the time, all the incoming freshmen did.)
He was always good with languages. One day, a man from the government asked the head of the languages department if he could be introduced to the students who were especially good with the following languages? Which is how he ended up spending a summer translating Russian mathematics papers.
(15) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
- Born November 9, 1951 — Lou Ferrigno (TV’s Incredible Hulk).
(16) PRO TIPS. SFWA’s Nebula Suggested Reading List is growing as the year winds down.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]