Monday, April 23

Stross, Again

Charlie Stross' Hugo-nominated novella Missile Gap is avialable online for free. It's pretty dark fiction; a classic story of war determining not who's right, but who's left. I read it through in a couple hours, and it had a powerful effect. Perhaps a bit muddied with exposition, but overall a very solid piece of work.

Talking about it with the Pharaoh, it occurred to me that Peter Watts (whose full name I'm spelling out here for ease of ego-surfing) and Stross both are teaching me the lesson I've heard Ellison and Bradbury and Spider Robinson (in full-on fellate-Heinlein-mode) blather about: SF as mind-expanding, scary stuff that teaches us as much what we're scared of the future being as what the future will be.

The thrust of the argument never really made sense to me. Their stories all seem...tame. Bradbury's tales of mars-people and sun-rockets and Tall They Were, And Golden-Eyed are...nice. Like, "That's nice, Timmy" kind of nice. Even Ellison seems more like the neighborhood pest of a kid trying to wreck automobiles with a slingshot rather than any kind of genuine menace. And then there's Stross and Watts, holding your head under water together while bellowing philosophy of the mind at you. Demonstrating the finer points of interspecies competition by watermelon-off-a-balconying your dog with a sledgehammer.

And my (grand?)kids are going to read them and think "that's nice, Pete and Charlie."

No comments: