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Sunday, December 08, 2013

Why Pink SF is doomed

John C. Wright continues his series on Saving Science Fiction from Strong Female Characters. In the sixth part, he explains why Pink SF is intrinsically bound to suck, how some Pink SF authors have attempted to get around the dramatic limits they have imposed on themselves, and points out that Urban Fantasy has done little more than recreate the very sexual dynamic it was supposed to subvert:
The logic of Political Correctness requires that men and women not be complimentary because the concept of complementary strengths and weakness is not a concept that Political Correctness can admit, lest it be destroyed. The concept of complimentary virtues undermines the concept of envy, and Political Correctness is nothing but politicized fury based on politicized envy. We can define Political Correctness as the attempt to express fury and envy via radical changes to legal and social institutions.

Hence, the Politically Correct writer attempting to make the female ‘strong’ cannot make her strong in the particular feminine way of, for example, Nausicaa, because that would be the same as admitting that there is a particular nature of male and female, which are different and complimentary, which, as I said above, undermines the envy-fury on which Political Correctness is based.

So the logic of Political Correctness directly defies the logic of drama. The more you have of one, the less you have of the other.

The more Political Correctness you have, the less Science Fiction you have, because Politically Correct science is Junk Science.

Political Correctness requires the women not to be of complimentary strength to men, that is, not strong in a feminine way, because that would legitimize femininity. Remember, feminism is the foe of femininity, hence of love and romance.

Instead, Political Correctness requires the female to be as strong as a man, as good as a man, in the very areas men are good at and want to be good at. It is a deliberately unnatural pose. The women character have to be portrayed as the types of character female readers, by and large, do not want to be like or read about, and the female character have to do things women by and large do not create a big thrill or many bragging rights about doing, and the male characters are basically extraneous.

Can it be done? Sure. Writers are endlessly inventive, and we get to set the situation and the plot and, in science fiction, we get to set the laws of nature, too. So the basic physical limitations of the female physique in real life need not hinder us in science fiction situations, because your heroine can be from Krypton, or armed with a phaser weapon, or have cat-girl genes spliced into her DNA, or be an Amazon. Second, the writer gets to set the period and the genre. No one can claim that Hermione Grangier is in any way a second class citizen of Hogwarts, because, like a detective in a detective novel, physical strength and fighting prowess are not the main point of a magical school-chums novel.

Third, if your superheroine is stronger than any normal man, and does not need Prince Charming to settle the hash of the evil dragon, but can wield the sword herself, you can either leave out your male love interest, or you can, Anita Blake style, make him superhuman also. This, of course, is a sly cheat, because it put the girl back in the position of being allured to a dangerous male figure who is more powerful than she, so your vampire huntress falling for a fallen angel (or whatever) is in the same dainty shoes as the spitfire Irish lass kidnapped by the ruthless but devilishly handsome pirate Black Jamie (or whatever) which we all see in the Bodice Ripper racks at the paperback bookstore.

Paranormal Romance, in other words, is an example of the logic of drama subverting (or perhaps superverting) the logic of Political Correctness. It allows the writer to eat her cake and have it too: she can make her warrior-princess or vampire huntress as tough and strong in any way she likes, as tough as Scarlet O’Hara vowing as God is her witness never to go hungry again, and then also bring in a supernatural version of Rhett Butler, and she can retell the story of Beauty and the Beast while retelling GONE WITH THE WIND, and make her man a human being.

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60 Comments:

Anonymous Idle Spectator December 08, 2013 4:21 PM  

The root of science fiction is science. Without it, you just have fiction.

Anonymous Idle Spectator December 08, 2013 4:22 PM  

And if your fiction sucks, you are left with... nothing.

Anonymous CrisisEraDynamo December 08, 2013 4:41 PM  

How do you answer the charge that current sci-fi and fantasy is more in line with a modern, 21st-century worldview, as opposed to a reactionary and antiquated one? (I'm not calling it those things, I'm just asking, since "It's the 21st century!" Is a common retort.)

Blogger James Dixon December 08, 2013 4:54 PM  

> hHow do you answer the charge that current sci-fi and fantasy is more in line with a modern, 21st-century worldview, as opposed to a reactionary and antiquated one?

You laugh at them.

Anonymous Idle Spectator December 08, 2013 5:31 PM  

(I'm not calling it those things, I'm just asking, since "It's the 21st century!" Is a common retort.)

Well he's kind of got a point... Idiocracy was the best piece of visual science fiction since 2000. Reminds me of the fat passengers in their floating recliner chairs from Wall-E.

Go away, batin'.

Anonymous Maximo Macaroni December 08, 2013 5:46 PM  

Listening to a CD set of "War and Peace" in my car, I am amazed how a good writer can portray men as men and women as women, showing the strengths and weaknesses of each, making them distinct and natural. What we have lost in always having to watch over our shoulders for the sharpened claws of unnatural vengeful harpies.

Anonymous bob k. mando December 08, 2013 6:20 PM  

*waiting for Schmoe Author to show up and tell us how we don't understand anything*

Anonymous CrisisEraDynamo December 08, 2013 6:24 PM  

@ Idle Spectator

One can say that liberty doesn't care what century it is.

Anonymous Anonymous December 08, 2013 6:38 PM  

-Porphyry
And this is why women are so picky, because they are so strong and only a black vampire inmate T-Rex can subvert their power. We all know that the men they see every day, read about in books, and watch on TV cant even come close to their power. So they better wait for their perfect T-Rex to come out of nowhere right after they've had their fun with every other guy in the world.

Anonymous GG December 08, 2013 6:42 PM  

"The women character have to be portrayed as the types of character female readers, by and large, do not want to be like or read about, and the female character have to do things women by and large do not create a big thrill or many bragging rights about doing, and the male characters are basically extraneous."

This is something I was attempting to point out the other day, women actually do not really want to read pink sci/fi either. We read/write it because it is fashionable, expected, rewarded socially. There are a handful of feminists stuck in that envy/fury cycle he mentions, that viciously insist everything be PC according to their desired world view, but that is not representative of women at large.

Lara Croft comes to mind, Tomb Raider, fun for about five minutes and than you're bored to tears. She's cute, but she's just a smaller, weaker, less capable version of a man.

Blogger RobertT December 08, 2013 6:51 PM  

Hey, I was just on Amazon buying some supplements and your latest book popped up in the recommendations. That's impressive.

Blogger RobertT December 08, 2013 6:53 PM  

Hey, I was just on Amazon buying some supplements and your latest book popped up in the recommendations. That's impressive.

Anonymous Mudz December 08, 2013 6:54 PM  

You laugh at them.

Beat me to it.

I'll have to do a long one:

Just ask them why the 21st century aligns with their particular views as opposed to any other. Does it mean that in the 22nd century that their views would be automatically out-dated and wrong? If we're good sci-fians, shouldn't we then automatically try to do what we think isn't 21st century, but rather an extrapolation or speculation?

For another, we also live in the 21st century, how is it that their philosophy is 21st centurian but ours is not? Does inventing some very recently make it good? Is 'time-tested' now something bad? Remind them that 'modern feminism' began in the 19th century. That's the Victorian era. How is that modern and relevant, but our '20th century' notions are not? (Go back to 1940, they say. Well they can go back to 1850, if reading calendars is now an argument.)

We've been men and women for thousands of years. If something has changed, what is it?

Seriously, how is '21st Century' an argument? That's like saying 'but aeroplanes!'

Anonymous Mudz December 08, 2013 7:09 PM  

If they really want to get snooty and say we're Old Testament patriarchalists, tell them that in the Old Testament, God gave women our first known concessions of 'women's rights' (besides the rights they already had), allowing them to inherit the family fortune, (since all their dudes were dead). (Go figure, women even nagged God.) Is that now just 'reactionary and antiquated'? Should we repeal all laws that allow women to receive an inheritance?

You know how silly the 'age' argument gets? Basically everything has a basis in antiquity.

Blogger Crude December 08, 2013 7:09 PM  

Just ask them why the 21st century aligns with their particular views as opposed to any other. Does it mean that in the 22nd century that their views would be automatically out-dated and wrong?

I've done this before, and the reactions have been great. I think a lot of people who play the '21st century!' game honestly just assume that their views are the ones that shall be prominent forever and for all time. It's as if a lot of them cannot fathom that people 100, 200, even 1000 years from now - if there are people - may find their ideas silly.

Anonymous Josh December 08, 2013 7:11 PM  

Shorter GG:

NAWALT!

Anonymous CrisisEraDynamo December 08, 2013 7:58 PM  

@ Crude

It's like they see culture working according to five-year plans.

"In 2010, we must be here. In 2015, we must progress to here. It's 2013; our cultural transformation is behind schedule!"

What a silly way to look at culture. Control freaks through and through.

Anonymous Joshua December 08, 2013 7:58 PM  

That series from John C Wright is perhaps the greatest argument against egalitarianism in church leadership, marriage, and anywhere else, not to mention great advice for writers and fantastic writing in itself. The more men and women are different, the less realistic an egalitarian approach is, and a more harmful view of reality it entails.

Anytime I encounter a Christian who is dead-set on egalitarianism in marriage and church organization, I just remind them how different men and women are - how those differences complement each other - how the Godhead itself has a hierarchy, despite God being one. It doesn't seem to matter to them, but when someone has to argue their ideology against reality, I think it is enough to plant a seed of doubt in their minds as to the veracity of the ideology.

Blogger buzzardist December 08, 2013 8:12 PM  

We need to call political correctness by what it actually is: Hegelianism via Nietzsche and Marx. Political correctness always relies on this binary relationship between some kind of master and slave. Someone has power; someone doesn't. There are only two possibilities for action, to reinforce that power or to subvert it. In the neo-Marxist, critical theory version of this, the slave can do no wrong and the master can do no right.

But subverting the power relationship just means reasserting the same master-slave relationship with new players. It's never really any different. Even if feminism were to succeed in overturning all of human history, it's accomplishment would be, if we accept the terms of this power relationship, to make women masters and men slaves. There really are no other options in this limited, depressing worldview.

And thus Pink SF is never able to express itself beyond these limitations, and thus it is depressing, uninteresting literature, particularly when the authors remain generally oblivious to the implications of the philosophical and political viewpoints that they are trying to push.

Blogger Krul December 08, 2013 8:24 PM  

Ah, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is such a lovely movie - beautiful and unique visuals to create a fascinatingly original post-apocalyptic world. Why are most of those dark, grimy urban settings anyway?

Here's the foxsquirrel scene Mr. Wright mentions, if anyone's interested.

Anonymous Mudz December 08, 2013 8:29 PM  

Nausicaa was the first Miyasaki film I was ever introduced to, just a couple of years ago. Instantly entranced.

I heard that he's retiring though. What an asshole, right?

Blogger Krul December 08, 2013 8:38 PM  

Unfortunately, the needs of drama interfered with this perfect balance of elements in the last season, when some nitwit decided that Kim Possible should fall in love, not with the handsome and competent Will Du, agent of Global Justice, nor with Josh Mankey, the boy on whom she has a legitimate crush, but with Ron, her sidekick. (Who, by the way, was in love with and loved by the alluring and exotic highschool ninja girl and exchange student, Yori).

It is unsettling and stupid, as stupid as deciding that alluring and snarktastic supervillainess Shego would go for her freaky blue supervillain boss Dr Drakken rather than for the rich and handsome and stump-stupid but devotedly romantic Sr Senior, Jr.


John C. Wright is a shipper.

I'm suddenly depressed.

Blogger mmaier2112 December 08, 2013 8:41 PM  

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151739621526673&set=a.448461036672.238993.611081672&type=1

Plus let's see Scalzi be THIS cool...

Blogger buzzardist December 08, 2013 9:03 PM  

I heard that he's retiring though. What an asshole, right?

The guy is almost 73 years old, so, yeah, total jerk for retiring.

But then he'd said he was hanging up his pens and brushes a couple times before, only to have a new idea for a film that excited him, so who knows? Still, I'd doubt anything he produces now will rise to the level of Nausicaa, Laputa, or Totoro. It's possible, but I give respect to the man for recognizing that he shouldn't force himself to keep making films if he doesn't have the vision and energy for a next project.

I give even more respect to Miyazaki for not getting the hairbrained idea to do a remake, sequel, or prequel for Nausicaa.

Blogger James Dixon December 08, 2013 9:27 PM  

> Nausicaa was the first Miyasaki film I was ever introduced to,

I almost envy you your experience as you explore his work. :) Actually, the entire Studio Ghibli catalog is impressive, not just Miyazaki's work.

Blogger tz December 08, 2013 9:41 PM  

There has been a bait and switch.

Men would want to have high-value women, women of strength and substance, but the feministas have redefined it to be masculine women and gamma/delta behavior. But women themselves have defined deviancy down in that there is little or no conquest for the cock carousel.

Not long ago, conquest was only complete after the wedding ring joined the engagement ring on her finger.

Blogger Unknown December 08, 2013 9:59 PM  

The basis of Mr. Wright's points apply to everything from childrens' books to Fortune 500 human resource departments.

Blogger Outlaw X December 08, 2013 10:19 PM  

So is the delivery of AMD from MLP still hasn't arrived. Coming UPS or USPS? I ordered it in late November.

Anonymous Mudz December 08, 2013 10:21 PM  

The guy is almost 73 years old, so, yeah, total jerk for retiring.

So he's been 21 for 52 years longer than normal. That's no excuse at all. Couldn't he have waited to get old after I discovered his films? It's like he doesn't respect me at all.

It's possible, but I give respect to the man for recognizing that he shouldn't force himself to keep making films if he doesn't have the vision and energy for a next project.

Kudos, of course.
It just makes me cry like a man inside that I won't have this long campaign of Miyasaki to look forward to in the future. So he's an honourable bastard, and I honour him with my fuckyou face. (It looks like this - >:/ - fu )

But there's still more movies of his I haven't seen. So awesome. My face is seventeen shades of yay! :) - yay!

He does have a streak of Tough Girl in his films, but they're so feminine and princessey (with brave sparkley japanese pony eyes as they Inspire The Troops (just kiddin')) that they get away with it.

I loved this bit in Porco Rossi, something like:

'You don't think I'm up for it? Is it because I'm a woman, or a kid?'

"Actually... both."

"Oh, that's fair enough, then!"

Hell if I understand what the message was supposed to be here, but it cracked me up.

But then he'd said he was hanging up his pens and brushes a couple times before, only to have a new idea for a film that excited him, so who knows?

One can only hope. Seriously love that old geezer. Hope he's lined up or inspired some spiritual successors at the least.

I almost envy you your experience as you explore his work. :) Actually, the entire Studio Ghibli catalog is impressive, not just Miyazaki's work.

Oh DUDE. This is like - like a thing I didn't know was a THING. That's awesome! (Somehow I thought Studio Ghibli was just a euphemism for 'stuff that Miyasaki made'. It had a freaking Totoro.)

At the risk of taking a magical axe to the face, I'll confess that next to Nausicaa, Howl's Moving Castle is my favourite so far. (I know it's kind of a chick-story, but I can dig it. I liked the creativity of it. And it came on the exact day that I was thinking 'man, it'd be cool if like, a witch cursed your hero to be a really old man, wouldn't that be interesting?' So it was destiny.)

After that: The Secret World of Arriety (adorable, coulda sworn terrible vengeance for the ending though), Ponyo, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke (love faeries and Japanese mythology), then EVERYTHING ELSE HE EVER MADE EVER.

You have no idea how much Miyasaki redeemed Japanese animation to me. Every bit of japtrap I had tried to watch to that point just went from bad to... just... no, I don't even want to talk about it. o.O

Blogger Outlaw X December 08, 2013 10:43 PM  

Come to think of it, bet it is the ice and bad weather here in the DFW Area for the delay in my book. I had to use 5 gallons of steaming hot water to de-ice and open my trunk because it got down to 17.3 deg F the other night and I didn't want the water stored in there to melt as the freeze might have busted it and ruin my trunk. A case of water did freeze but still shows no sign of busting but swollen plastic bottles in the garage.

Anonymous DonReynolds December 08, 2013 11:06 PM  

In the world of fiction, whether it is science fiction or fantasy fiction, or any other fictional story....the reader is expected to suspend their disbelief long enough to finish the story. That is what they say. So it does not come as a great surprise that some people create many different kinds of alternative universe's that most certainly never existed. (This is true also for those fictional accounts of actual events, disguised autobiographicals, conspiracy novels, and historical fiction.) There is no apparent limits on the human imagination (in the aggregate). (I certainly have limits on my own imagination.) But the point could be that for any fiction to be useful and desirable, it must find its way into the hands of those who are likely to enjoy it. If a person wanted to write pornography, they need to target what that reading audience wants to read. Yes, it is possible to write something that does not now have an audience. There must have been a time when there was no soft-core vampire porn, but that does not happen very often. The usual case is writers cultivate followers and readers by being a good story teller but also by having a fairly consistent product.
In the case of the pink SF, I would imagine that they will continue to dump truckloads of the same bilge on the village commons and there will be some silly people who continue to pick up a copy to take home. I feel much the same way about some forms of music (requiring no tallent essentially). In the end, they will have a different audience of readers than those who take their literature more seriously. What kind of audience do you prefer to read your books, Vox? I believe you will do fine.

Anonymous DonReynolds December 08, 2013 11:25 PM  

Buzzardist......"But subverting the power relationship just means reasserting the same master-slave relationship with new players. It's never really any different. Even if feminism were to succeed in overturning all of human history, it's accomplishment would be, if we accept the terms of this power relationship, to make women masters and men slaves. There really are no other options in this limited, depressing worldview."

Women know they will never be the masters. Ask any of them. They really are not that keen on the idea of "my man" or "my boyfriend" being a slave, either to a female or to women in general. Likewise, men and women alike understand the pecking order and the benefits of being near the top and the hazards of being completely removed from it.

By my own experience, feminism for some is a convenient hustle for lesbians to get access to cute girls, which simply works better if they can keep them away from men. For the non-lesbian feminist, they would admit that feminism is only possible in a fat society, a rich society, where men keep them safe and provide for their needs. Then they can play the feminist games as long as daddy lets them. Were they to be given the choice between their own society OR to continue the parasitic relationship with men.....which would they choose? The lesbians may think they are male substitutes, but the other women are no so convinced.

Anonymous Xer December 08, 2013 11:27 PM  

"The basis of Mr. Wright's points apply to everything from childrens' books to Fortune 500 human resource departments."

Exactly, and the damage both economic and social is incalculable. But it's what boomers wanted and continue to enforce.

Anonymous Johnathan Knight December 08, 2013 11:45 PM  

These people are strange. Recently, the other day, I got into a conversation on Jim Hines' blog. The topic consisted roughly of brainstorming ways to make conventions more inclusive.

To me, this seemed to beg a question. It presumed that conventions *weren't* inclusive, which I personally find laughable. Conventions are some of the most tolerant places I've ever been. Are there accounts and instances of -isms? Absolutely. But nothing, from what I've seen, that points to a systemic, chronic problem. I said as much, challenging the basic premise, ultimately looking for some sort of demonstrable proof that there's indeed a wide-spread problem.

What do I get in return? Accusations that my white privilege blinds me to these secret rendezvous moments of intolerable -isms. Follow-up tweets about how I suck, about how I'm concern trolling. Talk about how I'm monopolizing the discussion, when, in fact, the mass bulk of my comments are nothing more than direct responses to folks addressing me personally.

One person even had the audacity to tell me that someone offering to buy her a drink was sexual harassment.

Literally, there seems to be no talking to these people. The hypocrisy, the grandstanding, the absolute desire they seem to have for outrage, it's staggering. I've never met a group of delicate snowflakes so quick to hunt for reasons to "headdesk," presumably so they get the apparent joy of complaining about it.

Is something wrong with this crowd? Without a doubt. It's a group of people so blindly certain they're right, so morally superior, so unwilling to entertain candid conversation and disagreement. This is why I think they're doomed to failure. They stagnate in their own mire of hatred. They blacklist people who think critically outside of their box, and they applaud folks who tell them what they want to hear. It's incestuous and unhealthy.

My apologies for ranting here, but I'm frustrated. I've made so many heartfelt efforts at talking to these folks. I've tried to understand them. I've listened to them, and I've laid nothing at their feet but polite and honest questions.

Anonymous bob k. mando December 08, 2013 11:56 PM  

Mudz December 08, 2013 10:21 PM
It just makes me cry like a man inside that I won't have this long campaign of Miyasaki to look forward to in the future.
...
15 hours of Miyazaki spooging
....
o.O



so homo.

Grave of the Fireflies is really brutal. mostly because it's primarily the fault of the brother that the little sister dies. yeah, the in-laws could have been more helpful ... but then, so could he.

if you're going to get all Japanese on us, Neon Genesis Evangelion is actually pretty good. REALLY weird. but good.

Anonymous Anonymous December 09, 2013 12:00 AM  

test

Anonymous bob k. mando December 09, 2013 12:00 AM  

Johnathan Knight December 08, 2013 11:45 PM
I've tried to understand them. I've listened to them, and I've laid nothing at their feet but polite and honest questions.



there's your problem.

you're responding to shit tests with respect and concern.

you're allowing them to control frame ( "usurp narrative" in Scalzi speak ), even though their frame is based on lies and false assertions.

Anonymous Mudz December 09, 2013 12:09 AM  


Grave of the Fireflies is really brutal. mostly because it's primarily the fault of the brother that the little sister dies. yeah, the in-laws could have been more helpful ... but then, so could he.


I did actually see that. Man, that was a pretty intense movie. But a different sort from the others I've watched.

so homo.
if you're going to get all Japanese on us

If I do it, then it's okay.

Anonymous DonReynolds December 09, 2013 12:26 AM  

Johnathan Knight....."One person even had the audacity to tell me that someone offering to buy her a drink was sexual harassment."

Thanks for visiting, Johnathan. You are almost a legend here. And yes, there is no easy way to extricate yourself once the bitter harpes start to swarm and sting. I never let other people decide what is "sexual harassment", because they never know what I am thinking. If I hold the door open for their fat thighs, it does not mean they are being sexually harassed. If I offer to buy them a drink, I save money if they decline my kind offer. I might even stand too close, cause I often cannot hear well in a noisy bar, especially if they mumble. That is not sexual harassment. It is me being tolerant and accomodating to their shortcomings. And when accused of sexually harassing anyone.... incorrectly.... I always say......"Who asked you?" "Until I ask, you bringing it up means you are a hooker."

Blogger Chiva December 09, 2013 12:26 AM  

@ Knight
Asking a polite and honest question is usually a very good way of revealing a persons misconceptions or falsehoods. The issue you ran into is asking polite and honest questions only really work on polite and honest people.

Anonymous CrisisEraDynamo December 09, 2013 1:42 AM  

@ Jonathan Knight

Like I said, control freaks through and through. If it's not to their exacting specifications, it is "-ist" and "-ism" and "-privilege."

Anonymous shibes meadow December 09, 2013 3:54 AM  

I love Miyazaki's films, too, but keep in mind that he is a self-proclaimed Marxist.

Blogger Markku December 09, 2013 4:00 AM  

My sister has informed me that Nausicaä the manga has actually pretty complex and epic plot, and the movie is pretty much a mess of the sort that LOTR would be, if it was just one normal-length movie.

Blogger buzzardist December 09, 2013 4:01 AM  

Women know they will never be the masters.

Most women do know this. But most women also are not true feminists. The number of women who actually believe fully in the tenets of feminism is very low, but they are out there. They are the hard feminists.

As for the rest of women, a large number of them play along with a kind of soft feminism because they want that double standard. They buy into the same silly like that Pink SF does, that they can be the strong woman who is just like a man and have a strong man, too. They want the man who provides them with material stuff and who fulfills the masculine role, but they also want to have their own jobs and get out of the responsibilities that are involved in the feminine role. Twice the money and no responsibility...woohoo!

This really ought to be the motto of modern soft feminism.

But, of course, it is a lie. When women accept no responsibility, bad things start to happen. When women try to take men's roles away, men either start to act like women, which women don't respect (despite many women saying they like), or else men simply leave. What is playing out in SF is playing out in the culture as a whole.

Blogger Markku December 09, 2013 4:46 AM  

And note the diaresis - if you omit it, everybody will know you're not a real fan...

Blogger Markku December 09, 2013 4:50 AM  

That would be about as embarrassing as not knowing how to pronounce Gunnm.

Anonymous Stilicho December 09, 2013 6:05 AM  

OT: when can we expect the televised death match between the Vampire Squid and The Octopus that Mounts the World?

Blogger buzzardist December 09, 2013 6:12 AM  

I love Miyazaki's films, too, but keep in mind that he is a self-proclaimed Marxist.

Yes, although this needs some clarification and context. Miyazaki is decidedly pacifist and anti-nationalist, and he has a lot of environmental concerns. These views probably derive as much from Japan's Shinto Buddhist tradition as from Marx, so these alone don't make Miyazaki Marxist. But Miyazaki has expressed some socialist views (companies are common property of the people who work there, etc.). Still, these need context because that same view in Japanese culture doesn't carry quite the same connotations as it does in the West.

The Communist Party in Japan, for example, shares a number of socialistic values, but as much as anything it simply means stringent opposition against the saber-rattling nationalists and, to a lesser extent, against the cozy government-corporate relationship. There is a lot that Japan's Communists share with international communism, but there is plenty that they don't. So context matters.

As for Miyazaki, his films express considerable anxiety about any kind of government or authority, particularly those in uniform. If anything, Miyazaki is probably more interested in natural relationships among people and with the world, while critical of the artificial relationships we create through government. Some people may identify this with Marxism, and maybe Miyazaki himself even does, but I don't see much in Miyazaki that would line him up neatly with any of the Marxists I know.

Blogger James Dixon December 09, 2013 8:19 AM  

> ...next to Nausicaa, Howl's Moving Castle is my favourite so far.

It was good. Have you seen "Kiki's Delivery Service" or "The Cat Returns"? You might like both of them if youlike Howl's.

Anonymous LL December 09, 2013 9:16 AM  

Gah.

Why is #5 even on the list?? The article author specifically says it is a romance novel. We need to stop this crap. At least Marko Kloos made the list.

Why it made the list: Romance. Pure and simple, it is hard to find a well developed romance in science fiction that isn’t the basic smashing together of two characters. Lord develops a relationship between two characters that feels real (and incredibly hot) as an alien races shakes off the effects of a near genocide to find new pathways to survival.

Anonymous Anonymous December 09, 2013 11:43 AM  

I'm actually a bit more worried about 'pink sf', and wonder if, rather than pink sf being doomed, society is.

It takes quite a culture to support blue, or hard, sf. It takes a bunch of men, interested in science, and interested in scientific ideas, and interested in spending their free time reading, to support blue sf.

And that's why I'm worried. Sure pink sf pushed blue sf out of the mainstream of sci fi. Sure it is in the process of destroying conventional sci fi publishing. But the fact that it is successful in doing so is worrying. In other words, blue sci fi readers aren't going somewhere else (competitors to those traditional publishers, for instance). They are simply going away. Where are they going?

What if they don't exist any more? What if the critical mass of men who 1) like to read, 2) like science, and 3) like to contemplate the future of science and culture just aren't being raised any more? In other words, the fall of blue sci fi may very well be a 'canary in the coal mine' for our culture: we aren't creating enough intelligent, confident males to keep things going any more.

I know pink tv has displaced blue or masculine tv, and pink movies are destroying masculinity in movies, and so on. But these forms of entertainment are culturally irrelevant. Male tv viewers or movie watchers aren't significant for our culture-because tv and movies are crap entertainment. So those male tv viewers have switched to watching youtube or playing video games-this is a mildly interesting but culturally irrelevant fact.

But blue sci fi readers and writers: if they switch from writing and reading sci fi to something else (youtube, internet porn, Fast and Furious movies, whatever), they are switching to culturally irrelevant (even culturally decadent) activities.

And I wonder if this is a worrisome development.

anon

Anonymous Blume December 09, 2013 11:52 AM  

no its just wierd. It started out good but that movie ending screwed it up.

Anonymous Arakawa December 09, 2013 12:47 PM  

I'm pretty sure Miyazaki is no longer a Marxist. For proof, a movie from him with actual Marxist overtones would be Future Boy Conan, back in the 70s:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_Boy_Conan

You can see that his recent stuff (i.e. absolutely everything he did at Ghibli) has moved away from it.

That series strongly resembles the type of children's adventure story that was also common in the Soviet Union; even during that period, you can see he's already exhibiting second thoughts as you have the agrarian traditionalist Marxists (really, resembling the Mennonites more than they do any actually existing Marxist ideology) fighting against the evil technocratic Marxists.

Going even further back, Horus, Prince of the Sun is *really* Marxist in comparison, but Miyazaki only had a contributing role to that.

As far as I can tell, his only current ideology is a sort of generalized pessimism, which doesn't think there are any easy solutions -- neither ideological or religious. However, people should still live as best as they can even though it's hopeless. That makes him what John C. Wright would call a 'virtuous pagan'.

Anonymous bob k. mando December 09, 2013 10:21 PM  

pick a name. we don't care what it is, just pick something.

Anonymous December 09, 2013 11:43 AM
They are simply going away. Where are they going?




the same place that male college enrollment is going.

males are being driven out of education and culture at all levels, especially at the primary education level.



Anonymous December 09, 2013 11:43 AM
And I wonder if this is a worrisome development.



eh, Schmoe Author will be along any moment to tell you that you're emotionally over reacting ... just like a woman.

on the other hand, many of us here have been biding our time waiting for the barbarians and parasites to collapse the civilization.

Blogger JaimeInTexas December 09, 2013 10:48 PM  

"... the JCVI team employed a three-stage process to build the genome using a yeast assembly system. The first stage involved taking ten cassettes of DNA at a time to build 110, 10,000 bp segments. In the second stage, these 10,000 bp segments are taken ten at a time to produce eleven, 100,000 bp segments. In the final step, all eleven, 100 kb segments were inserted in yeast cells, the DNA-repair enzymes of which linked the strings together. These medium-sized strings were then transferred into E. coli bacteria, then back into the yeast. After three rounds of this process, they had the complete synthetic genome that was over a million base pairs long."

Still, no scientist has created life. This experiment started with yeast.

Anonymous Joe Author December 09, 2013 11:22 PM  

"But blue sci fi readers and writers: if they switch from writing and reading sci fi to something else (youtube, internet porn, Fast and Furious movies, whatever), they are switching to culturally irrelevant (even culturally decadent) activities."

Welcome to the wonderful world of liberty!


“except when they stop.”

I am most certain in your fantasy world you pen a happy ending, complete with a one-man wrecking crew who ends up seeding the faces of a bevy of beauties.


“real, historical sales data == strawman argument”

YOU are the one assuming that I made the grandiose statements that sci-fi is wonderful and that Pink Sci-Fi is flourishing financially. I will put it as succinctly as possible, keenly aware that you are capable of even fucking that up--There is a market for Pink Sci-Fi since it is currently the dominant form of that genre. Will this trend continue? WHO CARES!

Even if overall sales of Sci-Fi continue to decline markedly, Pink Sci-Fi will continue to have an audience, regardless of its size. It is the liberty of any author, despite objections from uppity gatekeepers, to write their own interpretation of a genre, whether it be a “faithful” or “bastardized” version. Will the “do-gooders” of Blue Sci-Fi emerge victorious over the “evil” Pink Sci-Fi’ers? WHO CARES!

It is downright laughable that people here are wasting considerable digital ink and brain energy harping over what amounts to be a trivial matter in the overall scheme of things. People will choose what books they want to read. People will support those writers ideologically and financially. In the end. the customer is always right, however it plays out.


"on the other hand, many of us here have been biding our time waiting for the
barbarians and parasites to collapse the civilization."

We will all be dead from natural causes before that magical end-game will come to fruition.

Anonymous Mudz December 10, 2013 5:36 PM  

It was good. Have you seen "Kiki's Delivery Service" or "The Cat Returns"? You might like both of them if youlike Howl's.

I've seen KiKi's (John C. Wright's wife's new book reminds me of it, funnily enough), but I'll have to check out the Cat, cheers buddy.

I love Miyazaki's films, too, but keep in mind that he is a self-proclaimed Marxist.

Oh, yeah, you can tell from even Nausicaa that his politics are probably retarded. Doesn't make his films not awesome. (And would it kill him to have one heroine isn't obsessively short-haired? Well, his animators maybe.)

But if Arakawa is right, hey, all the better.

Will the “do-gooders” of Blue Sci-Fi emerge victorious over the “evil” Pink Sci-Fi’ers? WHO CARES!

Apparently, you care about it even more than I do.

Anonymous Joe Author December 11, 2013 12:17 AM  

Obviously, it is high on Mudz's list since he responded to my comment.

Anonymous Mudz December 11, 2013 12:49 AM  

Yes.

So I guess it's important after all.

See what I did there? That's right. I won by making you suicide. *receives adulation*

Anonymous Joe Author December 11, 2013 10:03 PM  

You just hung yourself out to dry by clearly admitting a trivial matter is one that requires repeated commenting on despite a desperate effort on your part to appear to be generally disinterested.


"I won by making you suicide."

{Laughs} And you want to be my latex salesman!


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