I became fascinated by the culture of the region. At the time I felt I was simply using the materials that came to hand, in a conventional genre tale. My character Cho, the metagenetic gynoid, was built in Beijing, at the Tumbling Dice Toy Factory, but she came from Asimov's robot stories. Lord of Light Album), like Dune, is a fantasy adventure in which a highly advanced technological community confronts its relationship with its subject peoples.
In Dunethe monoculture comes to Arrakis and finds the mediaeval tribesfolk already in place. In Lord of Light we learn through inference and reminiscence that Hindu culture was salvaged from the archives of a long-ago starship, and imposed as a tool of social control.
The original explorers of this alien planet have developed powers as near to divine as makes no difference. They re-enact the Hindu Pantheon, while their descendants populate the world below in helpless, caste-ridden ignorance. However, after some highly colored and long-winded battle sequences entirely justified by the original tradition the gods are defeated not by Sam's "Accelerationism" but through the turning of the Great Wheel.
Intervention is not enough. The gods can only be displaced by time, internal conflict, and unwise recruitment. Roger Zelazny, according to admirers better qualified to judge than I am, did most of his best work in shorter forms. Magic is power and power is magic.
In the brilliant stroke of presenting the Hindu pantheon as comic-book superheroes, Costumed Clowns with Cosmic Powers, he leaps the gap between the technophilic worshippers of USA consumerism and every other population of dazzled, adoring peasants. Nothing else in the book is so memorable, not even the Rakasha demons in the form of energy-entity aborigines or Sam's dashing, wisecracking progress to genuine Enlightenment. Much of the novel isn't a great deal different from anything in Zelazny's prolific fantasy output.
But the final fate of Accelerationism is telling. At the end of the story, when the Promethean gift has been delivered, Sam simply vanishes, indistinguishable from the human crowd. But no further. Can we survive without our subjects? The Halls Of Karma. We write about "our own" present, other people's pasts. When we read about the alien world where Hindu culture has been deliberately recreated, or the far future empire where a neo-Byzantine society has been thrown up by convergent evolution, our viewpoint is that of the economically dominant cultures of the twentieth century, and we will find that viewpoint embedded somewhere in the narrative.
But science fiction's alien societies are always situated in a frozen past of their real world counterparts. The Hindus or the Arab tribesfolk, the magical animists of the world called Forest, dress in ethnic uniformity.
They may have special futuristic versions of their traditional artifacts and costumes: they don't have fashion. Their diction, even when they aren't quoting anything, is archaic.
Their cities, houses, furniture, means of transport are fixed in stasis, until the science- fiction plot arrives. My own treatment of the Promethean story, in Divine Endurancebelongs to this school. It has some realism, some use of the dynamic and volatile situation in the ASEAN region in the late seventies. But I wanted dreamy, exotic local color: sarongs and gamelans, the Ramayana Ballet by moonlight, the scent of a grove of frangipani trees.
Essentially I was looking to recreate Zelazny's effects: "Near the city of Alundil there was a rich grove of blue-barked trees, having purple foliage like feathers. It was famous for its beauty and the shrinelike peace of its shade In it will seem strange to think of Singapore as a locale of "shrinelike peace and beauty," but this was a long time ago.
I remember the extraordinary weight and softness of the air as we stepped off the plane, I remember a wall of grass-green creepers hung with vivid blue flowers. When I started to write Divine Endurance I wanted, naively, to capture an enchantment, even if it was only a false-colored shadow; as unreal as those pictures of the moons of Jupiter they show us on the tv.
But though like Zelazny I had my metaphysical agenda, and a serious use for the region's culture, the book belonged to my viewpoint, not to the locals'. While I was living in Singapore the brutal annexation of East Timor had begun. But I did not incorporate the rising ferocity of the Indonesian Empire into my fiction.
In my liberal sf account, the bad guys had to be the big, white, mechanized colonialists. Arguably, colonialism is finally responsible for the evils of all post-colonial regimes: it's still true that I dragged my "Rulers" into the plot because I couldn't imagine a world without them.
My story was as much bound by convention as the Ramayana Ballet itself. It ended in the traditional way. The Nuclear Weapon, symbolizing my culture's evil infatuation with life-destroying technological power, was brought onto the stage. Thus guilt was expiated, and power in an internalized, life-enhancing form passed into the hands of the coming race. Whereupon Cho vanished, like Zelazny's Sam, into a world I could not describe.
For a respectable length of time, at least since Arthur C. Clarke's famous reproof to the government of Azania over the treatment of their country's struggling white minority, 14 sf has been reading the demographic writing on the wall. Once it was brave and noble to suggest such a thing. Nowadays, though you don't have to be black or Hispanic, or Asian to be a starship captain, it certainly helps. Futuristic novelists lace their pages with African, Asian, and Hispanic detail not to provide picturesque scenery on another planet but to demonstrate their grasp of the way things are going on earth.
The radical-conservative mainstream has adopted the celebration of multiethnic "traditional lifestyles," while the world's poor can be demonized without a murmur of protest from the public. But to date, neither the Karmic wheel nor those slow grinding mills seem impressed. Sf has yet to establish a viable relationship with the world beyond post-imperialism. Talking Furniture. Divine Endurance is a feminist novel.
The topic of women's human rights gave me the advantage, unavailable to Roger Zelazny, of an authentically futuristic subject besides magical tech. Female characters have frequently been treated like so much talking furniture; much of classic sf is openly, ingenuously misogynist.
Yet women writers and editors have maintained a significant minor presence and power-base within the genre, through all the shifts in sexual-political climate. Science fiction's attitude to non-white characters and cultures over the years has been consistently, remarkably sympathetic. Perhaps this is a stupid question. Dedication is rare, and you have to be pretty dedicated to devote yourself to scribbling futuristic fantasy if you have a pile of other troubles to deal with.
Maybe if we factored out all the commercial pap, all the dumb, it's a living filler that gets onto the bookshop stacks, the racial disproportion would be less striking. But there is also a question of allegiance. Women white women, anyway have had a historical stake in the technophile export business. The housewife who packed the lunchbox, who lusted and nagged after the new fridge-freezer, was also working for the Metempsychosis - Dave Vorhaus* - Industry 33 - Science Fricktion (CD and in some sense she knew it.
Science fiction did not have to change its basic charter before women wanted to get involved. All they asked was a bigger piece of the action. Perhaps the resistance of those people who were the action is bound to be more stubborn.
World Music. When I found out I was going to live in Singapore, I had to look it up in an atlas. Now the electronic island is famous. All the changes I made in my nineties, revisionist Divine Endurance story, Flowerdustwere in the direction of recognising the other place as part of my own world. The monoculture has come closer since I started to write, but its genesis is more painful and more costly than liberal sf ever imagined, in the days when wealth creation was supposed to be unlimited, and more for them never had to mean less for us.
We are reaching, they say, some very profound limits. In many of our probable futures Accelerationism seems likely to be replaced by futile attempts to keep the precious secrets of "technology" locked up probably in the vaults of the Pentagon, along with the Ark of the Covenant, the frozen alien embryos, and all that other fancy stuff.
Science fiction is already recording the spasms of isolationist paranoia that will convulse the territories formerly known as "The First World. Meanwhile, the genre itself has recently been opened up for exploitation by post-modern academics. Possibly it was the poetic justice of this latter development that started me thinking about the subject of this essay.
There was also a panel at the Worldcon in Glasgow inwhen we asked the question "Where are all the African, Asian, South American writers of the future? But what about the rest: and why are there so few non-white faces here in this hall? We were sure there must be enclaves of sf writers and readers everywhere, but we couldn't prove it. Someone dredged up a memory of a little boy in an African town running around in a Superman tee-shirt. I didn't find this image reassuring.
I dismissed Superman as a form of Coca-Cola, mere White North merchandising, and then I wondered: has science fiction ever been anything else? We've been talking from the start about "World Government," "Earth's Starfleet," now we want to make good our claim to speak for the whole race, and we get twitchy if there are any voices missing from the chorus.
And perhaps I should change my mind about that tee-shirt. And yet, though I try to be positive, I see few signs that the Economic Expansion Machine, the eater of souls, has achieved enlightenment in its juggernaut progress from North to South. Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell nee Stevensonthe biographer of Charlotte Bronte, wrote several novels and stories of Manchester life in the mid-nineteenth century. The best known may be North and South ; Mary Barton was the first.
Her sympathy for the sufferings of the "hands" in the industrial and commercial upheavals of those decades was compromised by political timidity, Metempsychosis - Dave Vorhaus* - Industry 33 - Science Fricktion (CD.
It dawned on me that the other unknown land was real too. Fair exchange is no robbery. Without doubt many "ethnographical" and "classical" exhibits now in European museums were more or less honestly bought and sold, and don't require to be returned to their homeland any more than my son's miniature basemetal model of the Empire State Building.
But the Greeks still haven't got their marbles back! Robert Altman,US. Dune, Appendix II, Herbert's capitals. It could be argued that the "social realist" cyberpunk writers themselves only offer a different tourist itinerary, exploiting colorful natives and weird rituals closer to home.
Notoriously, some critics have read the use of "voodoo" lore in Gibson in this way. Gibson's Mona Lisa Overdrivemeanwhile, has some of the most dreadful "ethnic" dialogue, for the British secondary cast, that I've ever seen.
Magical science can explain anything: in Nicola Griffith's Ammonite a virus causes human settlers on a distant planet to revert to Celtic tribal matriarchy. In Orson Scott Card's Xenocide novels one can visit a "traditional Japan" planet complete with "corrupt politicians"! Sheri Tapper's Arbai series features the same kind of deliberate old-earth pastiche set up for highly questionable motives Sideshow I started writing in ; Divine Endurance was first published in The original story of Cho is much older, dating back to about Occasionally the Hindu re-creation seems to falter.
There's a passage in which a citizen, having heard that modern plumbing is in the pipeline, keeps buckets of faeces in a back room so as to be instantly ready to avail himself of the new technology. This sounds unlikely, considering the Subcontinent's enduring popular resistance to the disgusting Western practice of having people emptying their bowels anywhere inside a dwelling place.
My "Rulers," a powerful remnant of the technological past, were said to have come from a great island continent in the Southern Ocean.
Many US readers took this "island" to be North America, but my geography isn't that bad. Thaaaank you BlackwatchPlaid!!! What a truly great album that one is. And it contains one of my favourite artists Geoff Bastow on it What a wonderful thing to wake up to today. You've made my day. I wasn't familiar with this label as well. Late 80s is usually off my radar, but you make a convincing case, BWP. Thanks for all the work you're putting into these posts! ITK Member Posts: Now this is a welcome sight.
I've recently found several songs I've been looking for from the late 80s on this label. Thank you BlackwatchPlaid. I'm looking forward to the other two categories once you add them. Big Archive Guest. I know the album is listed as incomplete, but thankfully the track I was looking for, Album) is on there. Brown Member Posts: I will be very interested to listen to the next series of this label. I got lazy as usual and just plain didn't feel like tagging for several more hours.
I have too many other things to get to to be tagging like it's a job. So, I finished the uploads for Music House, but many of the latest uploads are not tagged. The ones that don't have a year FLAC in the folder name Album) tagged, and the filenames are as they come from emipm.
So Obvious - Runner Runner - So Obvious (Vinyl), Catastrophe - Rapt - A Never Ending Nightmare (Vinyl, LP), Robert Ridley-Shackleton - 16/09/2013 (Cassette), Visions Of Johanna - Bob Dylan - Genuine Live 1966 (CD), Warchild - Running Wild - Heavy Metal Like A Hammerblow (Vinyl, LP), Дежурный По Апрелю (Love In April) - Bulat Okudjava* - Песни / Songs (Vinyl, LP, Album), Outcome Live Mix, Takeydo - Soldier (File, MP3)