Do NOT let fantasy writers sneak in

Roy Edroso checks in on a symposium at Acculturated about conservatism in pop culture. His particular focus is “Instapundit” Glenn Reynolds, who asserts that “Science fiction is inherently rational and forward-looking. That puts it at odds with contemporary liberalism” though worried that “academic-writing-seminar types have been proliferating in the science fiction world (often creeping in via fantasy).”
This is fairly standard practice for any conservative/libertarian pundit defining conservative/libertarian fiction/music/movies/TV shows. They identify the particular work as conservative/libertarian because it’s about freedom/independent thought/patriotism/standing up against evil and that’s a definitively conservative trait. This performs the double duty of giving them a work they can celebrate while subtly underlining that the Evil Liberals are against all of that. Or in Reynolds’ case, not so subtly.
Needless to say, I find the argument there’s anything rational about current conservativism laughable (I know rational conservatives exist, but they’re not the ones steering the train, unfortunately). Then again, I suppose a large chunk of the Republican party and its base is acting rationally in its efforts to deny women the option to have sex without pregnancy, wipe out the middle class and the social safety net and deny gays civil rights (not to mention eliminating any protection in the Bill of Rights) and force their religious faith down the throats of anyone else.
Their premises are wrong and irrational, but they certainly work rationally to put them into law. But I don’t think that’s the kind of rationality Reynolds wants us to think of.
And I have no idea why fantasy is supposed to be so subversive (presumably the standard Ick, Fantasy! reaction so many SF fans have).
Further links of interest for readers and writers:
•A good list of best SF novels from the 1960s. Another here. Though I remain unimpressed by Solaris.
•Neil Gaiman gives a commencement address.
•Jack Kirby (along with Stan Lee and Steve Ditko) made Marvel what it is today. He got very little in return, and his family aren’t getting much either (they lost their lawsuit over rights to his creations). The Comics Journal recounts what Kirby went through just to get his original art back. MGK weighs in here. Unfortunately, as the judge in the case says, this isn’t about what’s fair, it’s about what’s legal (as it usually is).
It continues to annoy me how many people can’t see why Kirby’s family should have any rights to his creations—after all, they didn’t create anything, did they? Of course, neither did the current Disney/Marvel company co-create Thor, Captain America, the X-Men, the Hulk and so on, but apparently that’s different.

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Filed under Comics, Politics, Reading

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