“Sometimes I think I’ll give up trying, and go completely Russian, and just sit on a stove and moan all day“

— straight out of 1928, and reads like a hot take on 2016-2021.

*Chef’s kiss*
Dorothy Parker reviewing Mussolini’s pot-boiler puts me in mind of Saddam Hussein’s SF novel and Muammar Qadaffi’s poetry. In hindsight, the Hitler Diaries were a bit implausible—but if Norman Spinrad had tried to pass off “Lord Of The Swastika” as real…

If I was fluent in Russian I’d totally be up for “discovering” Leon Trotsky’s long-lost novel of the 1917-21 Russian civil war, written in exile in Mexico City while conducting a clandestine affair with Frida Kahlo. Bonus points: Trotsky goes full Cosmist in the epilogue.
“Founder member, the Dead Dictators Online Writers’ Workshop.”

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More from @cstross

7 Apr
The BBC is isomorphic with late Brezhnev-era Pravda, only in English, this century. State propaganda mouthpiece and a distraction from what’s really going on, which is the decay of a de-facto one-party state as it rots from inside.

The UK preserves the form of democracy but not the substance, since 1979. Labour can only achieve power (as under Blair) by wholeheartedly adopting and continuing Conservative policies. We’ve had 42 years of Conservativism and nobody much under 60 remembers anything else.

There are peripheral hold-outs, especially at regional government level (eg. the SNP in Scotland) but the Conservative party in Westminster is instinctively centralizing (eg. Thatcher’s abolition of the GLC in 1986). Local tinkering is a pressure relief valve, not a solution.

Read 7 tweets
5 Mar
Be aware that I will *NEVER* run a raffle, prize draw, or giveaway on social media. (My publishers might, but I don’t.) I’m not able to mail books directly from my home office without a lot of heavy lifting.

(I may donate items for charities to auction, but again: not directly.)
Also note that my Facebook account is moribund/unused and I refuse to use other Facebook services—Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc. (Facebook are evil and need to die.)
My “no giveaways” rule exists because to mail a parcel I have to carry it two-thirds of a mile uphill to a post office that is inaccessible by vehicle, then queue for counter service (in a pandemic). Books are heavy, y’all! And pickup from my doorstep isn’t practical either.
Read 6 tweets
17 Sep 20
Honestly, the BEST solution to Tory whining about the UK’s voice not being heard in the EU would have been to fission into NI, Wales, Scotland, and England back in the 1990s. Then we could have had 4 seats on the Council of Ministers, 4 votes, all with about 90% common interests.
With full Schengen membership on top, the 4 former UK states would have had free movement, no internal borders, and disproportionate combined lobbying weight in Brussels.
Instead? Because of misplaced Imperial nostalgia we’re doomed to get the worst possible outcome: fragmentation of the UK without the benefits of EU trade links and soft power.

All it needed was a determination to *lead* the EU, rather than sulk. But the Tories screwed up.
Read 4 tweets
1 Sep 20
Satire is dead, my last alternate-present book is off to production, and I’m fleeing screaming back to the relative topical safety of boringly conservative space opera where I don’t have to worry about the theatre of the absurd becoming institutionalized as the new normal.
Ahem: I mean “boringly conservative space opera” by *my* standards. A setting with psychopomp starships, Soyuz capsules and paleolithic hand-axes are indistinguishable in their antiquity, science is a completed human project, and genetically-engineered religiosity leads to wars.
Also genderflipped queer anti-racist Flash Gordon vibes, to offset the high concept setting a little.
Read 4 tweets
22 Aug 20
What COVID-19 has taught us about the Zombie Pandemic:

1) There will be Zombie Parties so you can catch the virus and acquire herd immunity faster.
What COVID-19 has taught us about the Zombie Pandemic:

2) Facebook bots will gaslight your ranty uncle and explain that it's a conspiracy to get you to willingly be uplifted by black helicopters for relocation into the concentration camps FEMA has prepared for you.
What COVID-19 has taught us about the Zombie Pandemic:

3) Televangelist grifters will offer to sell you magic UV lamps that kill zombies/a can of bleach to spray up your ass to make you unpalatable/guaranteed salvation if you're bitten.
Read 9 tweets
2 Aug 20
Seeing discussions of the SF canon on twitter, I’m realizing now that I read much of the canon back in the day because I began reading SF about 50 years ago, and *there wasn’t a lot else on the shelves*. Most of the field today is newer.

A lot of the golden age SF authors were *terrible* writers. Lots of vision, but wooden characterisation, poor descriptive skills, emphasis on melodrama over structure, and so on. They’d be unpublishable today unless they upped their game enormously.

I’ll give them a conditional pass (mostly) on social/cultural change—if you live in a society where pervasive sexism and racism are the norm and you’re not the target of discrimination, it’s difficult to notice and avoid replicating it to some extent. But …

Read 7 tweets

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