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December 8, 2011

Krugman is from Trantor; Gingrich ain’t
Posted by Teresa at 04:07 PM * 134 comments

Far be it from me to discourage mainstream political commentary that’s framed in terms of science fiction, but Ray Smock’s Newt Gingrich the Galactic Historian gets it wrong:

If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, Newt Gingrich is from the planet Trantor, a fictional world created by Isaac Asimov in his classic Foundation series about galactic empire.
Wrong. The Honorable Newt is not from Trantor. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is from Trantor. This is known. He’s said on multiple occasions that he went into economics because the field of psychohistory doesn’t exist. What Krugman took from the Foundation Trilogy was the idea that you could learn everything about history and put it together in order to understand not only what has happened, but why things happen the way they do. Remind you of Gingrich? Me neither.*
Newt’s master plan for America does not come from a Republican Party playbook. It comes from the science fiction that he read in high school. He is playing out, on a national and global scale, dreams he had as a teenager with his nose buried in pulp fiction.
Do not blame that on science fiction. 93% of the people in my social circle read the Foundation Trilogy and assorted pulp SF in their youth, and none of them turned into Newt Gingrich.

Smock’s thesis is unwarranted. The argument present in his actual evidence is that Gingrich is prone to wishful thinking, and a grandiose view of his own place in the world. That’s not the fault of the books he’s read; it’s his innate character, beginning to end. If he’d read other books, he’d have drawn the same conclusions but used other examples to illustrate them.

Look at his relationship with history. I’ll allow that Gingrich has read more of it than the average citizen, but I’ve never seen any evidence that his reading has led him to form opinions not already present in his thinking. He mines history, shallowly, for illustrative examples. He uses it to put on airs. And if you’ve read Catton, Foote, and McPherson, Gingrich’s novels certainly won’t give you any surprising new takes on the Civil War.

Newt Gingrich’s knowledge of history is like George Bush’s religion: it exists only to validate what he already wants to believe. When the influence is that shallow, the texts are not to blame.

More from Smock:

Exhibit 42 of the House Ethics Committee report issued in the wake of Speaker Gingrich’s ethics violations regarding the suspicious tax-exempt status of his course Renewing American Civilization, reveals how much Newt internalized the fictional historian Hari Seldon. Scribbled in Newt’s own hand are notes he made during a 1992 meeting with a major contributor of GOPAC. He outlined his role as a visionary leader. His “primary mission” was to be an “advocate of civilization” — a “definer of civilization” — the “teacher of the rules of civilization” — and “leader (possibly) of the civilizing forces.” Newt saw his mission as “universal rather than national.”
That is so not the Foundation Trilogy, which is about hard work done in obscurity for the benefit of generations yet to come. If it resembles anything in science fiction, it’s the later Childe Cycle: Final Encyclopedia, not Encyclopedia Galactica. But really, what it is is Newt Gingrich.
Comments on Krugman is from Trantor; Gingrich ain't:
#1 ::: Evan ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 06:09 PM:

Gingrich and at least several of the others are actually from Jackson's Whole.

#2 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 06:15 PM:

None of them turned into Gingrich? Didn't Tim Kyger had try? Or was that just working for him?

#3 ::: Rick Owens ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 06:23 PM:

Evan@1:

"Gingrich and at least several of the others are actually from Jackson's Whole."

Or possibly Mesa. Compare and contrast PNAC and the Mesan Alignment....

#4 ::: Becca Stareyes ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 06:24 PM:

I'm reminded of the quote about Ayn Rand versus Lord of the Rings. The thing about fantasy world with rayguns and magic is that many of the readers recognize that solutions that work in such worlds won't work in our world, even if the characters all act like people in the real world*. Harder to do when the 'fantasy' boils down to 'people like me are running the country and our plans all lead to prosperity for all, or everyone who matters'.

* Uterine replicators wouldn't solve the abortion debate, but they'd sure change the dynamics, for example, if it was possible to terminate a pregnancy but keep the fetus viable. Not to mention what magic would do as a source of energy -- is it sustainable and ecologically friendly (and will we care, if it's cheaper and safer than current sources?)

#5 ::: Michael H Schneider ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 06:24 PM:

Considering Newt's sensitivity and empathy, he's a Vogon who wants to be Khan Noonien Singh.

#6 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 06:35 PM:

Newt wants to live on Trantor. The completely enclosed world, as visualised in the 1940s, with pesky nature kept out.

Plus, he'd like immortality via the Time Vault.

Beside which, as Hari Seldon said, in the Dutch version, for Abi: "De geschiedenis van elke tot nog toe bestaande maatschappij is de geschiedenis van klassenstrijd." Newt's on the wrong side of that.

#7 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 06:49 PM:

THANKFULLY: I cannot imagine an egregious twit like Newt getting elected. (I mean, if Obama was found drunk and naked in the lamb & baby goat pen by the morning cleaning crew of a petting zoo, maybe then.)

#8 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 06:54 PM:

Newt is more psycho than historian.

#9 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 07:11 PM:

Stefan, we couldn't imagine an egregious twit like Dubya getting elected either. And then he did, with disastrous results for the nation and the world. I mention this in hopes of averting the ill omen, and also to stave off complacency.

#10 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 07:29 PM:

none of them turned into Newt

"I got better."

#11 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 07:40 PM:

Stefan Jones # 7: You have never been to the north Atlanta suburbs, have you?

#12 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 09:32 PM:

Between this, the Paypal debacle, the Penn State situation and TNH's latest particle, I feel like the universe is leading me rather heavy-handedly towards the observation that the problem with having social institutions with tremendous power isn't really that the institution itself will use it for evil, but that having that kind of clout available empowers every nitwit, psychopath, and narcissist who finds a way to attach themselves to it--and they will find a way to attach themselves to it.

#13 ::: Tehanu ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 10:21 PM:

Evan@1:

"Gingrich and at least several of the others are actually from Jackson's Whole."

Now that is a great insight. House Fell, indeed. If only he'd go back there.

#14 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 10:50 PM:

Tehanu, I was thinking more House Ryoval...mostly because of its ultimate fate.

Or maybe he's in league with the Nameless Ones...may their temples fall.

#15 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 11:16 PM:

Xopher, #9: "Stefan, we couldn't imagine an egregious twit like Dubya getting elected either. And then he did, with disastrous results for the nation and the world. I mention this in hopes of averting the ill omen, and also to stave off complacency."

It's an old trope. It was widely said of Reagan. It was even said of Nixon in 1968 (how widely I don't know).

Typing this out, I wonder if it's older than that. Or is it all based in simplistically extrapolating what happened with Goldwater in 1964?

#16 ::: MG ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 11:33 PM:

I wonder if Newt Gingrich likes apples....

#17 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 04:27 AM:

"Gingrich and at least several of the others are actually from Jackson's Whole."

Dr Ledgister was there well ahead of you.
http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/009448.html#218580

(Ryoval Publishing...)

#18 ::: Pete Darby ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 05:47 AM:

Is there any evidence that Tony Blair read Dune at an early age? Because that would explain a LOT.

#19 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 07:03 AM:

"Advocate of civilization," etc., etc., etc. is pretty standard conservative rhetoric. Why do faux "conservatives" always pick the toxic things of the past to conserve, or resurrect? I mean--child labor?

#20 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 07:31 AM:

The phrase which comes to mind is Ein volk, ein reich, Ayn Rand.

I have a twisted mind. Why did you ask?

#21 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 08:00 AM:

What Krugman took from the Foundation Trilogy was the idea that you could learn everything about history and put it together in order to understand not only what has happened, but why things happen the way they do. Remind you of Gingrich? Me neither.*

Actually it reminds me of Karl Marx. Just saying.

#22 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 08:42 AM:

Pete Darby #18 - I doubt Blair would have been into Dune, although making a mistake about the book's message wouldn't be beyond him...

Possibly Stranger in a Strange land is closer? Charismatic stranger brings peace to the world and disappears bad guys, whilst preaching a hippie-ish love and peace to all people idea. See Blair and his wife's dalliance with various new age types when in office.

Certainly a lot of people associated with him and his government thought that 1984 and Animal farm were manuals.

#23 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 08:46 AM:

I see, from a piece compiled on Slate.com by Jacob Weisberg, that Newt The Historian, sees himself not only as the defender and definer of "civilization" but as the "leader of the civilizing forces".

In my mind this produces a picture of a man in khakis and a solar topee leading a regiment of others similarly attired, on horse and camel-back, charging Fuzzy-Wuzzy in the Soudan around 1889. If this is Dr Gingrich's self-image, I am both alarmed and appalled.

#24 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 08:50 AM:

Chris Y #21: Donald Wollheim said that psychohistory was like Marxism, except that it worked.

#25 ::: Sufferin' Succotash ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 09:11 AM:

I knew Preem Palver, and Newt's no Preem Palver. More akin to Lord Stettin of Kalgan if you ask me.

#26 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 09:12 AM:

Exactly, Teresa. Or, in the words of Paul Krugman -- "Newt Gingrich is a stupid man's idea of what a smart man sounds like."

#27 ::: Junsok Yang ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 09:16 AM:

Issac Asimov must be spinning in his grave since he was a well-known liberal (with exceptions for certain issues like nuclear power). On the other hand, if you are a conspiracy theorist ... in the wider Robot/Foundation series, the robots working in a secret conspiracy, did bring Hari Seldon about...

#28 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 09:21 AM:

I see Paul Krugman has now linked to this from his blog.

#29 ::: Mirik ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 09:57 AM:

All of the neocons make me think more of the pigs in animal farm.

#30 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 10:18 AM:

Fragano @ 23

Yes! And a monocle.

How are we to take him seriously as a defender of civilization if he won't dress the part?

#31 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 10:39 AM:

Fragano @23: In my mind this produces a picture of a man in khakis and a solar topee leading a regiment of others similarly attired, on horse and camel-back, charging Fuzzy-Wuzzy in the Soudan around 1889. If this is Dr Gingrich's self-image, I am both alarmed and appalled.

Given his ideology I suspect that Newt actually has 1898 in mind, and his Mary-Sue is a certain British Army captain and frelance journalist.

#32 ::: Londo ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 10:49 AM:

I believe the real heart of the matter is that Newt is actually being controlled by a Drahk Keeper and the minions of The Shadows. I wouldn't be surprised to hear of his increasing tendenancy toward alcoholism in an attempt to put his Keeper to sleep.

#33 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 10:50 AM:

Fragano Ledgister, #23: a defender of civilization has to have a hat, or who's to know?

#34 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 10:58 AM:

KayTey #30: Definitely a monocle.

The Raven #33: True:

Charlie Stross #31: I think you have it.

#35 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 10:59 AM:

31
Newt doesn't write that well, either.
(I'm pretty sure that all he provides for most of his books is the ideas; his co-authors or his ghostwriters do the actual work.)

#36 ::: David Langford ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 11:03 AM:

#28 — I see that Paul Krugman, for all his general wonderfulness, needs a copy of the ML Spelling Reference. "Theresa Nielsen-Hayden", indeed.

#37 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 11:11 AM:

Charlie @31

Somehow, I can't imagine Mr. Gingrich staying on his horse, not with the 21st Lancers.

#38 ::: Nangleator ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 11:24 AM:

Londo @32, It seems possible, but I think the Keeper is losing control and any measure of restraint on the host's evil nature. Yes, Newt's actual ideas are too shocking for the Drahk.

#39 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 11:34 AM:

#12: I believe Sutton's observation about banks applies to going where the power is, as well.

#40 ::: lightning ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 11:34 AM:

Charlie Stross #31: Not this one?

#41 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 11:51 AM:

"Newt Gingrich? Sounds like a creature from Dune."
- from Doonesbury

#42 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 11:52 AM:

I am in general wary of anyone who uses "civilization" in the singular.

#43 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 11:58 AM:

Arthur D. Hlavaty #24: Donald Wollheim said that psychohistory was like Marxism, except that it worked.

Well yes, but Oscar Wilde said, "The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means." And therein lies the distinction.

#44 ::: Thehaymarketbomber ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 12:09 PM:

"All of the neocons make me think more of the pigs in animal farm."

I'll have you know that we pigs resent that!

#45 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 12:19 PM:

TheHayMarketBomber... That sowed discontent among your porcine brethren?

#46 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 12:24 PM:

Jon Meacham recently wrote a Time column which made the improbable claim that Newt might grow "from a dwarf to a giant."

I advised Meacham via Twitter that he should read Gingrich's science fiction.

#47 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 12:39 PM:

Newt Gingrich nonetheless has long embraced science fiction. Heck, he's a Baen Books author.

To my knowledge, he is the only Speaker of the House to have attended, and been a program participant at, two Worldcons.

Virginia Postrel wrote that in 1983 in Baltimore, "He was the only member of Congress who thought the WorldCon worth addressing."

Here's a photo of Newt speaking at the Atlanta Worldcon in 1986.

#48 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 12:44 PM:

None of them turned into Gingrich? Didn't Tim Kyger had try?

Really, you should ask Tim.

Or was that just working for him?

Tim worked for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R, CA) for many years, including the period of Gingrich's ascendancy as Speaker in the mid-Nineties, but Tim did not, so far as I know, work for Gingrich.

#49 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 12:50 PM:

#12 ::: heresiarch

Bingo. And any organization set up to control sociopaths will be run by a sociopath. I know this because I've read Slan.

As for psychohistory, I found the idea depressing when I was a kid, because I took it to mean that nothing I could do would make any difference.

Aside from not registering the difference between a cool idea for science fiction and the real world, I'd call this a hint that I was inclined to depression.

Eventually, I developed a button business, and it seemed to me that it was making a difference on a small scale, and I decided that maybe institutions developed predictability with time, but it really was possible to start something new.

There was less emotional effect to thinking (possibly even early on) that psychohistory requires an implausibly low rate of invention.

Anyway, chaos theory came along (and the later sequels tried to incorporate it, but I don't remember the details), but what really put the last nail into psychohistory's coffin for me was a bit from Nassim Taleb (the black swan guy)-- the more people you have, the less predictable they are. They invent things.

#50 ::: SummerStorms ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 01:06 PM:

Antonia at #20: *splort*

That will forever be stuck in my brain now. Thanks, I think.

#51 ::: SummerStorms ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 01:08 PM:

Addendum: Yes, I'm still alive and kicking, although I have been very busy. Hi, everyone.

#52 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 01:40 PM:

Heresiarch @12, the word you are lookign for is "apparatchik".

Stephen @15, there are pitfalls in reasoning from historical parallels. I grew up watching the Watergate hearings, so I was stunned when Reagan was allowed to retire in peace, and that he is to this day regarded as some kind of hero by many.

Antonia @20, I am gobsmacked that I haven't heard that one before. I may make it the new quotation in my signature.

Heresiarch @42: At least he isn't speaking of Civilization with a capital C. Then he'd be envisioning himself with a shiny red Homeland Security all-in-one surveillance device/lie detector/Taser/revolver strapped to his wrist.

#53 ::: Andraia Blue ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 01:41 PM:

And now Andrew Sullivan has linked to Smock's essay.

I think what's going on here is the old idea that science fiction readers are immature crackpots in propeller beanies. Gingrich, so worth attacking for both person and politics, tends to bring this prejudice out. Wasn't there an old article in the New Republic that namechecked Chris and Janet Morris?

#54 ::: Glen Tomkins ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 01:59 PM:

About those Civil War novels

I ran into one of them, the latest, at Barnes and Noble the other day. It's about the Battle of the Crater, surely one of the greatest debacles in US military history. But the teaser info on the dust jacket implies that it wasn't the massive flail that everyone thinks it was, and that, wait for it, Burnside is the unsung, unfairly castigated, hero of the piece.

Given that Burnside proved his utter incompetence on several other occasions, and that the whole idea of making the crater happen was objectively and clearly quite resoundingly stupid, this attempt to do rep rehab on a complete idiot seems timely. When will Gingrich find the champion that he has been to Burnside?

By the way, I did not buy the thing, and I didn't even thumb through it enough to confirm the impression left by the dust jacket blurb, so if I got the wrong impression, please inform my ignorance. I'ld hate to think that Gingrich is an idiot for the wrong reasons. I'm sure the right reasons put any idiocy I could imagine in the shade.

#55 ::: Barry ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 02:04 PM:

#7 ::: Stefan Jones :

"THANKFULLY: I cannot imagine an egregious twit like Newt getting elected. (I mean, if Obama was found drunk and naked in the lamb & baby goat pen by the morning cleaning crew of a petting zoo, maybe then.)"

Easy. The ECB takes the Euro into the trashcan of history, and Europe into Great Depression II, along with us.

And after a GOP sweep in 2012, it would *be* the Great Depression II, with full membership. The only hope would be that it wouldn't earn the title 'Greatest Depression', and that we wouldn't start saying 'World War __' again.

#56 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 02:15 PM:

Psychohistory, IIRC, was a heavily mathematical discipline that taxed the abilities of the best graduate students (see the beginning of the first story of the series, the only one in which we meet Seldon in the flesh, where he sets one of his students a problem and then holds his computing pad out of the student's reach so he's got to do the math in his head). Somehow I just can't see Gingrich even getting the chain rule right.

There was an ex-Speaker named Newt
who thought himself brainy and cute.
Unlike Hari Seldon
the future he looked on
included a face and a boot.

#57 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 02:17 PM:

What I really don't want to see is President Gingrich and Prime Minister Putin starting up Cold War II.

#58 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 02:49 PM:

This thread makes me want to reread Donald Kingsbury's 2001 novel "Psychohistorical Crisis".

#59 ::: Melissa Singer suspects spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 02:53 PM:

poor grammar and punctuation at the very least

#60 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 03:02 PM:

In the aftermath of the Battle of the Crater the confederate troops stage a massive massacre of the black Union troops. The Newt doesn't touch that.

His history is a joke. And filled with fantasies such as Pickett's charge at Gettyburg led to a confederate victory. While in history the confederate invasion of Pennsylvania was a pillagers' dream. It wasn't only food and everything else the army stole, they and slave catchers grabbed every black person they could, which included huge number of free black people, to sell when back down south. You can understand why he and his alternative Civil War books can make a reader who knows her history physically ill.

Love, C.

#61 ::: Matthew Davis ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 03:02 PM:

re #53

The article you're probably thinking of is Thomas M. Disch's essay about Gingrich and the writers for Baen: "Speaker Moonbeam" published in The Nation.

It was collected in Disch's "On SF" but the publishers have made it available at:

http://press.umich.edu/pdf/9780472068968-32.pdf

#62 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 03:06 PM:

Barry:

Yep. That's something it's really important to remember: Our whole political system is built around the two parties, and so no matter how awful one candidate is, he can still win under the right circumstances.

Whoever the nominee is for the Republicans--Romney, Gingrich, Perry, Paul, Bachmann, Huntsman--Obama can self-destruct through some stupid scandal (think about the bomb John Edwards was sitting on!), or can be creamed by events beyond his control (Euro meltdown leading to Great Depression 2.0, terrorist attack).

That's one reason why it's dumb to cheer for the worst candidate on the other side to win the nomination.

#63 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 03:24 PM:

albatross @63: I'm thinking of changing my registration to Repub next Spring to vote for Huntsman if he's still in the running.

I'm hoping someone will primary Zero but I don't think it's very likely.

#64 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 03:33 PM:

Stefan Jones #7, Barry #55: Yep, look at what happened to Jimmy Carter: He fielded historic peace and disarmament agreements, promoted energy conservation, not a scandal in sight ("I have lusted in my heart", indeed!)... but he couldn't fix the economy, nor deal effectively with the Republican obstructionists. There's also some indication that he may have been backstabbed by his own subordinates, specifically a CIA honcho (Vice-Chief, iirc) named George H.W. Bush....

#65 ::: Consumer Unit 5012 ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 05:02 PM:

The Raven @19: Why do faux "conservatives" always pick the toxic things of the past to conserve, or resurrect? I mean--child labor?

Because we _KEEP_ the good parts. The things of the past that are WORTH keeping generally can stand on their own merits without having to be propped up.

#66 ::: melior ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 05:09 PM:

#65 ::: David Harmon

Lest we forget, James Earl Carter unfortunately had two disqualifying characteristics among the power brokers, either of which, for many of the same reasons, would lead to a motion to strike from a jury pool:
1) his substantial educational level (as a nuclear engineer)
2) his anachronistic interpretation of Christianity as motivating a perversely unAmerican concern for the poor (evidenced by his dedicated participation in Habitat for Humanity)

#67 ::: martyn ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 05:25 PM:

#53 Bruce Cohen. 'What if they gave a war and nobody came?'

#68 ::: E55 ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 06:18 PM:

Wow, got here from Krugman's blog. (He's sooo vain, lol.)

Anyway, I'm seeing lots of references to SciFi/Fantasy and would love a fix. George R.R. Martin is okay, but comparisons to Tolkien are overblown, imo.

I liked Piers Anthony, Harry Harrison, Frank Herbert, Ursula LeGuin (sp, I know), those Dragonsinger books, and lots of others I'm forgetting. I came across the 1970 book 'Science Fiction Hall of Fame' a few years ago and it's a truly awesome set of short stories by early luminaries.

I have a hard time in the SciFi section of B&N because so much is just so formulaic and self-indulgently overdone.

Throw me a bone! Give me a few suggestions of some great writing out there, new or old.

[Oh yeah, and Bush (the coward, not the wimp) has lowered the bar so much that a Gingrich candidacy isn't out-of-the-question, scary as that may be. It says more about the Right's descent than anything else. I used to be able to respectfully disagree with politicians on the conservative side; now I can't even respect them. A NY Times op-ed piece on the anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall sort of crystalized it for me: today's Republicans are like Communist Party members from 50 years ago, so locked into partisan sophistry that there's not much point in engaging with them. There's a great article in 'New York Magazine' from a week ago in which a Bush speechwriter and solid conservative admits that his party has gone off the deep end. Really, it's worth reading and citing!]

#69 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 06:21 PM:

Indeed, I would have thought it would taken at least one presidential-period for GHWB to be forgotten. And John Kerry didn't suffer from a stupid scandal; just a criminally-ignored "voting controversy", to put in mildly.

But I worry about any person getting one step away from the presidency; even Bachman, even Palin.

#70 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 06:35 PM:

@E55: Highly random suggestions:

You want your mind blown? Last and First Men and/or Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon. That's an old one.

Newish? Player of Games by Iain M. Banks, A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge.

Cool and new? Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (zombies! zeppelins!)

#71 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 06:46 PM:

Matthew Davis at #62, and Andraia Blue at #53:

I read Tom Disch's piece with interest.

Disch and The Nation were hostile to Newt Gingrich. I began to wonder whether Gingrich's friend and ally, Jerry Pournelle, had written anything about his presidential run. Indeed he had; here's a brief excerpt. Last May, commenting on a quote from Peggy Noonan claiming that Gingrich had bad judgment, Pournelle wrote:

Newt has always had a very great deal of the Great College Professor in his makeup. The mark of the great teacher is that when a student asks a question the great professor answers not the question that the student asked, but the one that the prof thinks ought to have been asked. That makes for great classes. It does not make for great politics, and Miss Noonan is quite correct in pointing out that being really smart is not the same as having great judgment. Judgment generally comes from practice, particularly from executive experience. Judgment is the ability to deal with problems and crises without committing yourself to a disastrous course of action.

More recently, Dr. Pournelle has commented on the child-janitor thing and on recent campaign events.

#72 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 09:31 PM:

John M. Burt @52: there are pitfalls in reasoning from historical parallels. I grew up watching the Watergate hearings, so I was stunned when Reagan was allowed to retire in peace, and that he is to this day regarded as some kind of hero by many.

Sure there are pitfalls. But one of their strongest uses is giving reasons against asserting impossibility. I was not saying, from the Nixon/Reagan/W examples, that it was therefore impossible that Gingrich would be judged so loony as to be (in some fashion) denied the nomination. Of course it could happen. Rather, I was asserting that those examples proved (as much as one can prove anything about the probability of a unique event) that saying that it is *impossible* that he *might* be nominated, simply because so extreme, is overconfident. And I think that will remain true even if he is in fact defeated (which is to say, his actual defeat would not prove that his victory had been *impossible* -- merely that he hadn't pulled it off.)

Saying "X will happen because it's like this historical situation where X' happened" is iffy. But saying "X *might* not happen since in similar situations X' has happened, so the alternatives have some precedent" is less so.

So in this case I stand by the historical reasoning.

(As far as Reagan goes, my sense is that he wasn't impeached in part *because* of Watergate, i.e. various people didn't want to do that again for various reasons.)

#73 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 09:34 PM:

E55 #69:

Lots of good stuff, obviously, but given what you've said, a few places to look:

Dan Simmons, Hyperion

Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars (sequels are Green Mars and Blue Mars)

And if you like fantasy, Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

#74 ::: Grimgrin ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 10:05 PM:

Late to the party, but Gingrich is clearly the Mule.

A random, destabilizing element who's skill at manipulating the human mind plays merry hell with the predictions and theories of the Foundation.

#75 ::: fsteele ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 11:17 PM:

He outlined his role as a visionary leader. His “primary mission” was to be an “advocate of civilization” — a “definer of civilization” — the “teacher of the rules of civilization” — and “leader (possibly) of the civilizing forces.” Newt saw his mission as “universal rather than national.”

That sounds like the way Rand described her role, as tiding civilization over between Aristotle and the future, or between Aquinas and the future, I forget which.

#76 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 12:00 AM:

E55, #68: Since I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "formulaic and self-indulgently overdone" (I know what I mean by it, but everyone's standards are different), I'll just offer a few things that I've found mind-blowing in various ways.

- the Telzey Amberdon stories by James Schmitz [1]
- the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane [2]
- the Mageworlds series by Doyle & Macdonald [3]
- the Changed World series by S.M. Stirling [4]
- the Neanderthal Trilogy by Robert J. Sawyer (Hominids, Humans, Hybrids)
- HellSpark by Janet Kagan
- The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robertson [5]

[1] These have been conveniently re-released by Baen in 2 omnibus collections, Telzey Amberdon and TnT: Telzey and Trigger.
[2] These are YA fiction, in a very well-realized universe. Start with So You Want to Be a Wizard.
[3] The Price of the Stars, Starpilot's Grave, By Honor Betray'd, The Gathering Flame (prequel), The Long Hunt (next-gen), The Stars Asunder and A Working of Stars (much-further-back prequels, dealing with one of the secondary characters from the original trilogy). I recommend reading them in that order.
[4] Alternate history. The first 3 books (Dies the Fire, The Protector's War, A Meeting at Corvallis) lay out the (more-or-less post-apocalyptic) universe and how things settle out after the world as we know it comes to an end. The books after that are next-gen and have an overall Sacred Quest arc, but there's still plenty of action.
[5] Very ambitious alternate history -- what if the Black Plague had killed off 90% of Europe's population instead of just 30%? Done as a series of interlocked vignettes.

#77 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 12:02 AM:

Agh. Kim Stanley Robinson.

#78 ::: Zaslav ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 12:05 AM:

This is the finest comments section I've read in many a month, or longer. The knowledge, intelligence, and wit are superb.

Stephen Frug #72, yes indeed, as I remember it was well understood that Reagan escaped at least in part because people were afraid of repeating the Watergate experience. Which shows that there's always a worse case coming.

But, Stephen Frug #73, I can't agree about the very disappointing Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which never came to any conclusion.

E55 #68: I admired A Fire Upon the Deep for its brilliant idea, which I hope will be developed more completely. And there's lots of old SF/fantasy that's simpler but very enjoyable and even stimulating, much like the Foundation trilogy. Try Lest Darkness Fall by deCamp for ingenuity. Also deCamp and Pratt's The Incomplete Enchanter (a.k.a. The Compleat Enchanter, a.k.a The Complete Compleat Enchanter) for wit and cleverness - but do not read the pastiches by deCamp et al. Try most of the Heinlein juveniles, especially Starman Jones and The Rolling Stones. Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End. Back to Asimov: I'm inclined to think The Caves of Steel is his best novel, followed by its sequel The Naked Sun, though not as grand as the Foundation. And even more ...! but it's late.

#79 ::: Consumer Unit 5012 ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 12:51 AM:

Fantasy I've liked includes:

Robert E. Howard's Conan. Accept no substitutes! :D
Glen Cook's Black Company novels - epic fantasy told from the point of view of a band of mercenaries...who happen to be working for the Evil Overlord.
John Bellairs' The Face In The Frost - a novel about two wizards facing an ominous threat from an old colleague of theirs, with the help of some very eccentric spells and a magic mirror that shows modern-day baseball games.

#80 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 02:28 AM:

Zaslav @ #78: I admired A Fire Upon the Deep for its brilliant idea, which I hope will be developed more completely.

I hear the sequel's about to come out, or has just come out. "Children of the Sky", I seem to recall is the title.

#81 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 02:46 AM:

The thing to remember about the Foundation series is that Asimov came up with the idea in the fifties, a decade before chaos theory was a twinkle in Lorenz's eye. It's a reductionist's idea of utopia: all we have to do is measure everything, figure out the mathematical relationships between it all, solve for x and then we can plot the future course of history as easily as that of a comet. It's a world dominated by equilibrium theories and convergent outcomes. But non-linear dynamics knocks that a loop: all of a sudden unmeasurably tiny variations in starting conditions can lead to totally divergent futures; emergent systems introduce new variables that you didn't even know would need to be measured. Psychohistory is the fond fantasy of the quantitative revolution, dead before arrival.

#82 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 03:09 AM:

fsteele 75: That sounds like the way Rand described her role, as tiding civilization over between Aristotle and the future, or between Aquinas and the future, I forget which.

Whereas the rest of us remember the old saying "Ein Volk, ein Reich, Ayn Rand."

Actually I just saw that on Facebook the other day, but I really like it.

heresiarch 81: Psychohistory is the fond fantasy of the quantitative revolution, dead before arrival.

Which would, to close the loop, be why Paul Krugman turned to The Dismal Science instead.

#83 ::: Peter Card ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 03:15 AM:

Directed here from Krugmansland...
The plan for the Battle of the Crater was sound, but it wasn't Burnside's . The execution sucked, and that wa

#84 ::: The always civilized KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 05:53 AM:

This is just to say

I have giggled
at the notes
that were on
your blotter

and which
you were probably
saving
for a Science Fiction novel

forgive me
they were egregious
so smug
and so droll

#85 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 08:57 AM:

Asimov did play around with some of the problems with the idea. He had to have the Second Foundation secretly mucking with things just to keep society tractable enough that history would follow the Plan. And the Mule was capable of wrecking it without active opposition, though the Mule was more like a large perturbation than a small one.

Also, he seemed to realize that if Hari Seldon himself was capable of affecting the course of history by application of psychohistory itself, then things couldn't be all that insensitive to Great Men. So you couldn't have just anyone messing about with psychohistory.

#86 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 09:10 AM:

What worries me is the concept that Krugman may not be Hari Seldon, but that he may be Jor-El. One can certainly imagine Krypton's Science Council calling his predictions of doom "shrill".

#87 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 09:16 AM:

"This is no fantasy - no careless product of wild imagination."

#88 ::: ThomasisaPaine ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 10:28 AM:

it is all going to be science fiction-y when those EBT cards no longer work. Prepare for a "transition", and you had all better get on your knees and pray for Newt/Mitt to win.....because if BHO gets the "blame" for the next four years the consequences will be significant.

Revolution is pending

#89 ::: Dave Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 11:22 AM:

Glenn @ 86: That's a scary prospect.

#90 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 12:17 PM:

Paul A. @ 80:

The sequel is out; I just finished reading it yesterday. Very good work in its own right, as well as advancing the original story considerably (and deepening the ideas behind the Tines). (Un?)fortunately, I think a third book is now required to carry some of the themes out to their conclusions. I sure hope there's less time between books 2 & 3 then between 1 & 2. Anything else we say about it should be rot13 for spoilers.

#91 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 02:51 PM:

Right now, I am wondering why the earth did not swallow Newt when he declared that the Palestinians were an 'invented people'? Even Elliott Fucking Abrams has pointed out the idiocy of that statement.

#92 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 04:03 PM:

Peter 83: Did you intend to leave that comment broken off in midword? If so, I don't get it. I mean, there are always things like

I never finish anyth
(a t-shirt I have) or
They can't hit the broad side of a barn at this dist
but I don't see the point of this one.

At this point I'm guessing you were suddenly called away, and someone else hlepfully clicked Preview and Post without reading your comment. Now that I've said that, of course, I will see the point as soon as I've posted myself, because the universe moves to maximize me looking stoopid.

#93 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 04:07 PM:

Xopher (92): I thought the original was "elephant" not "broad side of a barn".

Now someone will tell us it's all a myth anyway. :)

#94 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 04:33 PM:

The blessing/curse of American government is that either party can pretty much guarantee gridlock, so even on the off chance that the Newt took the election, he's limited in the amount of damage he can do.

#95 ::: Chris Winter ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 04:37 PM:

A good job on refuting Smock's analysis. And I deeply appreciate the quality of the comments here.

E55:

In addition to Lee's recommendation, I'll tout these by Schmitz: The Demon Breed and The Witches of Karres.

Also:

Poul Anderson's Brain Wave (and so much else.)

Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination.

Glen Cook's Starfishers trilogy (He's best known for fantasy and mystery, but his SF is good.)

Timothy Zahn's Spinneret

(Lee: that Neanderthal trilogy has always looked interesting; maybe I'll get around to it soon.)

#96 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 04:51 PM:

Mary Aileen 93: Ah, I think you're right. And according to this, he said the full sentence twice, separated with other conversation, and his actual last words were "All right, my man; go to your place," but no one talks about famous next-to-last words.

#97 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 05:11 PM:

Fragano @ 91:

I bet the Earth doesn't want to swallow Newt. I can understand that attitude, what a bad taste he would leave.

#98 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 05:39 PM:

Xopher (96): If one defines "last words" a bit more broadly, to mean something like "last conversation", those *were* his last words. I think they count, anyway!

He was right, too. They didn't hit an elephant, they hit him.

#99 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 10:47 PM:

I would suggest that Gingrich is from Trantor. Just remember, 99.999999998% of the population of Trantor was not Hari Seldon, and had no idea what was coming.

#100 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 11:08 PM:

Slate provides us with a handy-dandy Newt Gingrich dog-whistle decoder.


#101 ::: Everett ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 10:49 AM:

Becca Stareyes #4
But maybe magic is finite, and nonrenewable, see Niven's "The Magic Goes Away". Wastrel magicians have burned through that resource long ago. However, it might still be abundant off planet? Dark energy = modern day equivalent to manna? I wonder...

Nancy Lebovitz #49
But if I understand my psychohistory " :-) ", the more people you add, the more the ensemble is constrained by statistics and the emergent large number phenomena.
We can have all of the invention that we want (though there could be limits to that) and people will still be faced with the same fundamental challenges and choices that they have had throughout history. So maybe the task psychohistory faces is just incredibly monumental, but not impossible.

#102 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 11:14 AM:

Everett @101: Back when I was seriously considering doing some GMing, I was kicking around worldbuilding ideas to run players through. Basic concept is "we are in the 1400s-equivalent in a world whose Romans-equivalent empire had serious, organized schools of D&D magic". Which means in the old Empire, level 1- and 2-spell-crafted items were utterly commonplace (they're what apprentices do before they hit journeyman status). Streets were lit by spheres of extremely hard stone with Continual Light cast on them -- which last until it wears away the stone. And so on, and so forth, adding in some homebrew spells 'lost' in the Empire's fall, and so on, and you get a landscape with fairly prevalent ruined giant aqueducts made of no substance anyone today can explain or replicate, and a lot of ruined-towns-become-hillsides that, when dug into, reveal staggering pieces of magic or un-recreatable objects.

The seeds of this world were sown by a poster I had once of just such an aqueduct soaring over a tiny little thatched-roof town, and my amusement at the fact that the 'money' in the post-apocalyptic videogame Fallout is bottlecaps, mined from our landfills. In a post-Fall world, even the disposable commonplaces of the lost Great Empire are incredibly valuable.

It seemed to me a fertile ground for adventuring. I've not worked out all the details about how it fell or why, but 'now' magic is taught by individual crackpot hermit weirdo wizards who are feared by the countryside around them.

#103 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 11:27 AM:

Everett @101:
My recollection is that that's the space psychohistory was supposed to operate in. The problem is nonlinear dynamics; it turns out that there simply can't be a complex system that doesn't have the possibility of something that looks like it should be in the statistical noise somehow getting magnified to visible, and potentially world-shaking, proportions. Moreover, it's not even a rare occurrence — and it's globally pervasive.

Psychohistory is the ultimate "statistics über alles"; but nonlinear dynamics is the ultimate Achilles' heel.

#104 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 01:36 PM:

geekosaur @ 103:

Yes, that's one of the problems of psychohistory, and by itself serious enough to prevent it from being useful. The other problem is that while we can be pretty confident that properties will emerge from a system as it grows and evolves, the nature of those properties is contingent on the evolutionary path, and there's no way to predict what they will be. As an example, think about the political boundaries of the states of the US. It was pretty much inevitable that some sort of subdivision of US territory would occur, but the lines on the map that we have today are contingent on the movements of populations, the meanderings of rivers, the actions that were taken by the US military to sweep aside the native population, and the whims of local politicians and surveyors.

#105 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 05:03 PM:

#94 ::: Steve C.

"The blessing/curse of American government is that either party can pretty much guarantee gridlock, so even on the off chance that the Newt took the election, he's limited in the amount of damage he can do."

The lessons of 2000 - 2008 and beyond been that there is no limit to the amount of damage these ilks can do.


#106 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 05:21 PM:

Constance... Especially as Our Side showed itself to be spineless even with it had the majority.

#107 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 06:13 PM:

Constance, Serge: And, even in the face of a quite-likely-existential threat to the very nature of America, there are still Democrats who can't be trusted to stand against the Republican machine.

#108 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 06:24 PM:

David... Like I said, spineless, or they're like Joementum, who was a Democrat only as long as it suited him.

#109 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 06:53 PM:

Well, I just googled the exact phrase "America is doomed" and got 334,000 hits, and then I tried "America is not doomed" and got 15,500 hits. So teh Google proves it - we're doomed.

#110 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 07:04 PM:

All hail Doctor Doom, Steve C?

#111 ::: rgh ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 09:35 PM:

@heresiarch - I think you mean forties rather than fifties.

Hari Seldon wasn't from Trantor either.

#112 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 11:15 PM:

The even bigger worry is not that Krugman is Jor-El, but that Newt is short for Nehemiah:

“Elections are won not by converting the opposition but by getting out your own vote, and Scudder’s organization did just that. According to histories I studied at Boondock, the election of 2012 turned out 63 percent of the registered voters (which in turn was less than half of those eligible to register); the True American party (Nehemiah Scudder) polled 27 percent of the popular vote… which won 81 percent of the Electoral College votes.”

“In 2016 there was no election.”

–Robert A. Heinlein, To Sail Beyond the Sunset, 1987

#113 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 11:30 PM:

...which is just an embellishment of what is IIRC said somewhere in "If This Goes On—" (or possibly in "Methuselah's Children", which has a couple of backreferences to Lazarus's spending that period on Mars and why; my copy of The Past Through Tomorrow is buried in my sister's shed somewhere, so I can't check...).

#114 ::: Barry ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 09:18 AM:

Adding on to Constance @ 105:

Steve C. "The blessing/curse of American government is that either party can pretty much guarantee gridlock, so even on the off chance that the Newt took the election, he's limited in the amount of damage he can do."

Aside from the counterexample which we just lived through, do you really think that the Blue Dog Senators who were Oh-so-manly against Obama will not get back down on all fours with the next GOP president? Do you think that the Democratic Senators will pull filibusters like the GOP Senate does? What's the relative power of a President who accommodates the elites (Obama) vs. a President who wh*res for them shamelessly?

And that's before we get to events. Bush looked relatively harmless, and then 9/11 happened. Newt/Romney will almost certainly have a war, since the right wants one - probably with Iran, although picking one a small country with no trouble-making power at all has advantages.

#115 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 09:45 AM:

Barry @ 114 -

There's damage, and they're damage. Despite Bush and the GOP, the country is still here, we're still having elections, and we are not doomed.

If you want to see what history can really throw at us, look at 1861. Or 1929. Or 1941.

As far as predictions go, I threw away my crystal ball. What will then next congress do? What will the next president do?

Beats the hell out of me. I have enough trouble figuring out what I'm gonna do.

#116 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 10:00 AM:

That first sentence was supposed to be "There's damage and there's damage.

#117 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 02:42 PM:

I heard on the radio this morning that tonight Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman will engage in a "Lincoln-Douglas debate" at St. Anselm College.

I wonder which one will be softer on slavery...

#118 ::: Shawn ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 04:11 PM:

You insult Dickson's good works. Gingrich may not be from Trantor but neither is he from Dorsai.

Cletus, Donal Graeme, and Hal Mayne all worked for the progressive historical force. Gingrich is on the side with the Others trying to freeze history. And not Bleys Ahrens either but more like that sniveling little phychohistorian who was working for William of Ceta.

#119 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 05:22 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 117... Who'll play the part of Oliver Wendell Douglas?

#120 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 01:15 PM:

#115 ::: Steve C.

There's no reason why you would know this but I spend my life looking at everything leading up to 1861 and what comes after.

I've never in my lifetime seen anything that looks so much like that last trainwreck of the secessionists to get their way as I have seen now, including the same rhetoric. Including the same pusilanimous bend-over by the Dems of that time to the southern slaveholding power elite. Which forced a new party, the Republicans into being, which provided then the final excuse for them to force through secession, since Lincoln was black abolitionist -- meaning he had made clear there was to be no EXPANSION of slaveru into the territories, while the secessionsts trumpeted he was going to take away their slaves. Big difference. Lincoln told the truth. They told a Great. Big. Lie. Which oddly enough then, did lead, via the war they made and were determined to have, because that way, they were sure, they'd Get. It. All., which meant they indeed did lose their slaves. (Though they immediately went to work to not only reinstitute slavery by another name, but to rewrite all the history that led them to make the war in the first place, including THEM making the war.)

Love, C.

#121 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 01:32 PM:

"There you are, Rutlege, you have your slavery. little good may it do you, now VOTE, damn you!"

#122 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 02:31 PM:

Is anybody there?

Does anybody care?

Does anybody see...what I see?

#123 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 02:41 PM:

Bill Higgins #117: I gather it turned out to be a lovefest which sent one of Huntsman's daughters to sleep.

Gingrich wants a Lincoln-Douglas debate with Obama. I'm hoping he gets a Lincoln-Douglass debate.

#124 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 02:50 PM:

Would he make Obama kneel so their heights would be comparable?

#125 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 02:54 PM:

Serge Broom @ 121:

Yeah, Serge but the corollary to that is Rutledge's comment to Hancock, which seems eerily prescient of the current Republican no tax strategy:

Most [Americans] would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich, than face the reality of being poor. And that is why they will follow ... US!"

#126 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 03:02 PM:

Serge, #121: I think the key phrase comes a few lines earlier:

"Mr. Adams, you must believe that I will do what I have promised to do."

Rutledge is willing to hold the entire (nascent) country hostage to getting his way. Sounds an awful lot like that last budget debacle, doesn't it?

#127 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 03:07 PM:

pedantic peasant @ 125... I've come across people like that. They highly amuse me, especially since they have benefitted from living in the Society kludged together by Our Side.

By the way.... I watched the Alastair Sim "Christmas Carol" last night and I couldn't help but think about the Newt, especially the scene where the junk man has very-underage kids sorting thru piles of rags.

#128 ::: edstock ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 06:03 PM:

Trantor? Nope, Giedi Prime.

#129 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 08:14 PM:

edstock #128: I can't see him as the Baron, he's not that smart. He's not handsome enough to be Feyd-Rautha. That leaves... Beast Rabban. Sounds about right.

#130 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 08:16 PM:

Further to my #129: I suspect that Newt would just love to be the Count Rabban of Lankiveil. His ego would just about fit the title.

#131 ::: Josh Lukin ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 10:49 PM:

#112, twenty-seven percent? John Rogers, call your office.

#132 ::: iucounu ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 12:30 PM:

Gingrich is from Omelas, where he maintains a summer residence.

#133 ::: DaveMB ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 06:24 PM:

Going back to the top of this thread, I don't think Newt would
last two minutes on Jackson's Whole. His skill set has made him
rich and powerful in a society that has (at least relative to JW) the
rule of law. Could someone like Newt really assemble a powerful
enough gang quickly enough to prevent his being killed by
someone who was just annoyed with him?

I think Newt may have another SF echo in the Pournelle-Stlrling
novels set on the planet Sparta in the CoDominium timeline.
I believe Sparta was founded by intellectuals/politicians on a
somewhat Randist model, and the novels involved its successful
defense against collectivist insurgents led by a woman of
Jamaican ancestry.

#134 ::: umbrarchist ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2012, 01:46 PM:

Let's get real. Asimov started writing the Foundation series in the late 1930s and early 40s. How much planned obsolescence was going on then?

World War II planes could do 400+ mph.

What do these nitwit pseudo-intellectual economists say about what the world has lost on the depreciation of automobiles since the Moon landing? Before 1960 did Asimov ever predict a date for that landing?

So Krugman and Gingrich are full of crap.

http://www.toxicdrums.com/economic-wargames-by-dal-timgar.html

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Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.