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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Thursday, March 01, 2007 - 09:47 am:   

FYI, the latest installment of my column at the F&SF website just went online today. This time I look at Alien Invasions in a handful of stories as lead in to a discussion of Carolyn Ives Gilman's story "Okanoggan Falls" (F&SF, Aug., 2006).

It is lengthy, quite informal in style, and I hope informative and/or thought-provoking. You will find quotes on a variety of subjects: from Damon Knight (views on several invasion stories), RAH (morality and extinction), James Gunn (critical reading tips), Ursula K. Le Guin (the generic pronoun in English), and Joanna Russ (on criticism and politics).

Basically, the column looks at invasion stories from the past (pro-military and pro-pacifist views), while asking whether Objective Reality or Moral/Ethical intent is more important.

Please note that the opening, italicized paragraph is a mistake and should be totally ignored. It was the prefacing graph for my last column, which somehow was included this time as well. A correction is in the works and it should be deleted soon by whomever sets up the column for the website.

Dave
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PM
Posted on Thursday, March 01, 2007 - 01:46 pm:   

Here's the link:

http://www.sfsite.com/fsf/2007/dt0704.htm
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Lars Thorsen
Posted on Saturday, March 03, 2007 - 07:38 am:   

Great column Dave !

Oddly, I was writing an outline at the same time; about a story I was working on last week and adding some questions about where it was going as a way to leap further ahead in mind, before trying to write any more of it. The asking of questions, What would happen when two different civilizations meet in outer space. How would the body language of the ships be interpreted as they became aware of each other. Would flight prompt pursuit. Would fear triumph over curiosity, and killing the alien be the safest choice so their backup remains ignorant of us longer, likewise for them.

Perhaps this is the reason spacetime has given us such a large margin between stars, so that the 'large time to go anywhere' gives life the opportunity to grow, flourish, and be insulated from each other, as aggression is the safest logical choice over peace, in terms of survival in an eat or be eaten Cosmos.

So sad that the logic of empire determines this.

But then, Energy, being infinite, is not concerned with change, it is so fungible, death is not in its language. And the universe is populated by energy. Energy is the citizenry of the universe, gravity is the Law, and inertia/momentum is the characteristic of susceptibility to that law.

ps. I wish to thank all those who advised and encouraged to write about what one loves to write about, and not worry about the critics and others. Thanks !

As my interests and style would have next to nil as an audience, I write for my own intrigue, and being published is no longer a probability, which is OK, I am beginning to accept that.
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Saturday, March 03, 2007 - 06:22 pm:   

Thanks for the kind words, Lars.

When you wrote--

"Perhaps this is the reason spacetime has given us such a large margin between stars, so that the 'large time to go anywhere' gives life the opportunity to grow, flourish, and be insulated from each other, as aggression is the safest logical choice over peace, in terms of survival in an eat or be eaten Cosmos."

--it made me think of a John Brunner novel from the 60s (for the life of me I can't recall the title just now, darn it) where this is his theme...that maybe insterstellar distance is God's quarantine.

But then comes Joe Haldeman and his award-winning novel THE FOREVER WAR, where such distances have become an impediment to halting a war; where the fighting is so far advanced in real space that it outdistances even speed of light messages to halt the war.

So maybe Brunner was right after all, and Joe showed us one of the (possible, albeit negative) consequences of trespassing that quarantine.

Sturgeon was big on always asking the _next_ question. So I'm given to wonder if just as powerful a story as Joe's could be written where somehow mankind benefits from finally reaching interstellar civilizations in just as grand and uplifting a manner as Joe's speculation was in the negative...without turning into the usual Utopia, of course, but with real challenges, real people, real struggles, etc., etc.

It's been done, I know, but there's still great possibilities and lessons to be learned along the way in exploring the optimistic side of the question. Joe showed us a scenario we would do well to learn by avoidance. I love stories on the up-side even more. They offer real hope and excitement for our far future (if we can avoid killing ourselves in the process). :-)

Dave
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Lars Thorsen
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 03:36 pm:   

Wikipedia has a long list of Brunner's stories, but none ring a bell as to the title your mentioning his name started ringing. It may have been a short story I'm imaging, not a novel, and unlisted on Wiki yet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Brunner_(novelist)

OT; finished the first story, and now waiting for a flash drive, to download it from the MacBook to transfer it in RTF to the Gateway W98 and upload into W97 to edit to put page numbers in the top right corner w/o the time-date. Apple really messed up by not allowing me to custom my headers and footers; it is a title w/date-time, and page numbers in the lower right corner only setup template. What a pisser! One of my pet projects was to write a story and print it up in submission format. It was a deal to learn how to change the font and type size. The one step the book neglects to mention stops the entire process. (left click drag and highlite first, then right click the highlite) It's a miracle the story poured out in the first place, the hassle of computers is merely frosting the cake. Tho now having learned how to 'wrap to page' and 'wrap to window' is such fun! I'm getting my revenge as it were by putting the computer through lots of format changes now. Tho I must commend Apple on click/drag a PDF ontop of a TextEdit icon and it changes format! Maybe Linux is the way to go. That's next!

ps, Dave, there's no way to avoid killing ourselves :-)
the Grace is we have our choice of how.
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PM
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 04:07 pm:   

FWIW Office is available for the Mac.

And iWork may have been preinstalled on your Mac Book which does headers/footers.
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 04:51 pm:   

Lars,

I _think_ the title of the John Brunner novel I'm thinking of is BEDLAM PLANET. And if I remember correctly, it came out somewhere around 1966-68.

Dave
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Lars Thorsen
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 09:59 pm:   

Many Thanks, PM ! iWork is installed, but on a 30 day trial basis, but that's all I need! It sure is powerful in its multimedia versatility! After an hour it was ready to print. I hand numbered the pages as every one was pg 1 , haha. It looks nice.
I do dream of doing a presentation and Keynote would be (favorite adjective here) for that. I can see about 20 years is needed to get good at using this MacBook. Apple's had 20 years to perfect this software, and they've done quite a job. It's always the old trade-off of intricacy of abilities vs simplicity of operation.
Thanks again PM, you made my day!
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PM
Posted on Monday, March 05, 2007 - 04:43 pm:   

Lars, glad to help.

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