Category Archives: Sci-Fi

WorldCon Controversy 2015 – Historical Perspective

The current Worldcon kerfuffle may seem to some like a recent phenomenon based on the flaming currents of social media. However, such controversy has existed throughout the history of fandom. In fact, going back to the the very first Worldcon convention, prevalent members of science fiction were excluded based on their political beliefs. Sound familiar?

So with a desire to gain a better historical perspective, I called David Bischoff. I write science fiction with Dave, and he’s really the man to speak with regarding the history of SF&F fandom. Not only does Dave have a 40 year (and counting) history writing genre fiction, but he has extensive experience going to SF cons long past and getting into a heated debate or two…er, hundred.

The following is a transcript of our discussion: Enjoy!

Saul – What’s your thoughts on the Worldcon controversy involving Vox Day and the Sad Puppies?

David Bischoff – Well I just heard about all this hullabaloo when my esteemed colleague Jerry Oltion started posting notices on our local writer’s group page. I’m still puzzled about this whole thing about Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, I didn’t know it was about Libertarianism. I just thought it was about people looking to push their own sad self published books. I don’t really know how a political philosophy pertains. Frankly as far as that goes, this seems to more the kind of thing that L. Ron Hubbard’s creeps do. But then Ron was an SF fan and writer who lived in a slan shack in the early 40s, so the tradition goes way back.

Saul – Is this really on par with Hubbard?

David – What I know is this. Why are people taking this so seriously? I think it’s a hoot and great publicity for SF and Worldcon. — Vox Day is a genius!

Saul – (Laughter)

David – He’s done what John W. Campbell used to do which is have fun being a Devil’s Advocate and poking sharp sticks of pseudo-reason at the dopey heart bleeding liberals.

Saul – I don’t know, it seems to be more than just having fun. Anyway, where do you place yourself on the scales of reason?

David – Me? I’m a rational and perfect Super-Liberal who has voted Democrat all his life, but actually would prefer to hang with conservatives who are lots more fun. Did you hear about the gorgeous Wonder Twins and their books? Now I’d collaborate with them in a heartbeat. Oops! Maybe I better read one of these gems first.

Saul – Do you think Libertarian SF is making a strong comeback?

David – How the hell am I supposed to know? I don’t see sales figures. I do know that some of the looniest people I ever met were Libertarians. I went to the 1981 Denver Worldcon which was just winding down a Libertarian Conference and lots of the nutters were staying on to the Worldcon. I remember all these weird people talking intensely to each other about their various personal theories. The talk of the early Worldcon was how one Libertarian had gotten so overexcited in a discussion or argument that he’d keeled over with a heart attack and died on the spot.

Saul – Sheesh, that’s horrible.

David – Frankly, I think that science fiction people INVENTED Libertarianism. Prominent amongst these was Robert A. Heinlein, who actually had a strong medical excuse.

Saul – Now that’s interesting. Did you know Heinlein? What was your impression of him?

Well I met him all the time in SF. Personally I was lucky enough to not only meet him in personally not long before he died, but to witness him in remarkable action at an SF con in the mid 70s when he was guest of honor.

Saul – How did that go?

David – His stint at the Worldcon was wild. First, he had this blood drive. Awesome. On the other hand, did the blood bankers really want blood so filled with booze and drugs? Then he demanded that if you wanted a book signed by him, you needed to show proof you’d given at least a pint of blood that weekend.

Saul – Sounds pretty driven for a good cause.

David – And that was just the beginning. His Guest of Honor speech was in a special auditorium to accomadate the masses who wanted to hear him. He walked on stage to a standing ovation. He set an alarm clock and put it on the podium. “I have a half hour to talk, and that’s all I’ll take. When the alarm rings, the talk is over.”

He proceeded to ramble on about wonky political stuff, often incoherently, for the full 39 minutes.

Saul – Then what happened?

David – People started booing.

Saul – Really?

David – I for one was happy the speech was only a half hour. Now mind you, I’m a big fan of everything the man wrote before TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE. I once had an argument about this with Charles N. Brown, the remarkable founder of LOCUS, but I know people who agree with me. Nonetheless, I still read and reread his earlier stuff and it was and still is great. The man was not only a modern visionary, he wrote like a dream and really could draw a reader into a book. Just recently I reread THE DOOR INTO SUMMER . Hey. Any books up for the Hugo this year as good as DOOR INTO SUMMER. Rabid Poopies? Sad Poopies? Hey that’s the title of your next book Vox Day.

THE DOOR INTO DUMBER

Saul – (Laughter.)

David – Anyway, I got to meet him another time because a woman I was dating once and a while at the time knew him and his wife Virginia. I lived in Maryland at the time. Heinlein was a graduate of the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland and was attending a reunion there. Heinlein invited my friend to a party and she took me along as a date. My friend and collaborator Charles Sheffield was also there, so I was relieved about that.

Saul – So what happened at the party?

David – It was a wonderful party. Heinlein was so gracious. I think I heard later that he’d had some kind of operation that improved his mental facilities. You know, when you look back you can see there are plenty of SF fans and authors who were low grade autistic. Not Robert Anton Heinlein.

When he came over to chat with my friend and I shook his hand, and I asked him how his reunion was. He said it was wonderful. We talked a little more and he called Charles over and also a Japanese rocket scientist from NASA who both Charles and I knew and who was one of the biggest Heinlein fans in the world. We talked a bit more and then Heinlein excused himself.

“Pardon me, I really should go and talk the the Admiral over there now. But before I go, in case I get too tired and have to go to bed — Dave. Could you do me a favor.”

“Sure!” I said.

I was ready to give blood.

Saul – Ha!

David – He winked at me. “Just a minute.” He went off into the bedroom of the suite. When he returned he had a copy of one of my books.

“Could you honor me by autographing this for me?”

And he even had a pen. I find tears in my eyes now even as I think about that. You know what? Robert A. Heinlein won some Hugos and he cherished them. I don’t think he needed any help in getting on the Hugo ballot, ever.

—- To be continued in my next post. Stay tuned. —-

Advertisements

Favorable Book Reviews – Freedom Club

Freedom Club - KindleI’m very satisfied to report that Freedom Club continues to gain favorable reviews. Recently, I received a positive review from Eeclectic Breakfast who rated my book 4 stars on Amazon. A second four star review came from Adam-P-Reviews who also had a favorable opinion of my writing.

In addition, both Goodreads and Amazon have a continuously growing number of optimistic star ratings and comments. It’s a good sign, and gives me confidence that the years I spent writing this book are starting to pay off.

Take a look for yourself. If you find that the synopsis and reviews are to your liking, by all means, please take a read of Freedom Club.

New Post – Voodoo Robot Chili

For those who haven’t yet subscribed  to my new blog,  Voodoo Robot Chili (and you know who you are, but not necessarily in Heideggerian terms) please note that I’ve posted some new articles which you’re sure to love.

They’re witty, yet prophetic in the, “my god this beats the pants off a Magic 8-Ball” sort of way. Though, come to think of it, Magic 8-Balls don’t wear pants…

But who cares about that?

Trust me, I’m making fun of everyone from Dick Cheney, all the way up to Taylor Swift. Do you see the connection? I sure don’t. But that’s not the point. I’m just damn sure I’ve targeted everyone who’s scratched their butt at least once in their life. (Once again, you know who you/they are.)

So whoever (or whatever) you want to laugh at, don’t worry. And don’t get your  panties all bunched up into a pretzel. You’ll find a chuckle at  Voodoo Robot Chili.

Click on the link baby. You know you want to.

New Blog – Voodoo Robot Chili

Because I’m now working on my second novel, I’ve decided to start making posts in a new blog entitled, Voodoo Robot Chili. Some people feel it’s best to post from one single blog, and focus readers all in one spot. In the future I may do that. However, for aesthetic reasons, I feel there are benefits to dedicating a blog to one particular book. To begin, all the art and colors can be tuned to the new book’s aesthetics. More importantly, it’s easier to focus the posts in line with the genre of this particular book. In this case, military SF comedy.

Anyway, if you’ve enjoyed my writings in the past, I can only make a humble appeal to follow me on my next writing adventure. Please join me at Voodoo Robot Chili. I’ll make it worth the time.

Freedom Club Showcased on AISFP

Shaun Farrell, who runs the Adventures in SciFi Publishing podcast, interviewed my editor David Bischoff last week.  The whole thing went very well, and David did an excellent job talking about his long career both as a writer and editor of SF, and his recent foray into indie publishing. As you may know, David started Hotspur Publishing, an independent company to publish his backlog that has accumulated over the years, along with new titles like Freedom Club, written by me.

I’m especially pleased that my book was mentioned as well during the podcast. It was really nice of Shaun to help promote the book, and I would urge everyone to listen to episode 154 of Adventures in SciFi Publishing and even comment on the the podcast web page if you can.

AISFP Rocks!

Conflux7 – Small convention with a big heart

Some of you may not have heard about Conflux, a speculative fiction

convention that just took place in Canberra, Australia. Unlike last year’s Worldcon (aka Aussicon4), Conflux is small. Only a few hundred people attended. But what Conflux lacks in size, it more than makes up for in passion

and soul. The sense of community is everywhere, from the shared joy of a book launch to the palpable loss of fantasy author Sara Douglass, who died shortly before the conference began. Overall, Conflux was a cozy get-together, where likeminded fans and writers mingle and enjoy their love of SF and Fantasy.

Of course, lots of stuff happened over the 4 day event. I’m not going to post
everything here at this time, but a full report will appear soon on the Adventures in SciFi Publishing website. Keep your eye out for it.

In the meantime, special congratulations go out to Patty Jansen, a major figure in the Australian writer’s scene.  She was kind enough to spend time talking with me during the entire event. Having won the second quarter of the Writers of the Future contest, the fruits of all her hard work have now gained her global attention. It’s well deserved in my opinion.

Freedom Club – Launched!

Freedom Club - KindleWell, my first Kindle novel Freedom Club has finally been launched as of early October. Many thanks to the entire staff of Hotspur Publishing. Everyone worked very hard to get this first release ready.

Also, notice the final cover design. Isn’t it great? I am thankful to everyone who voted on the two versions that were posted last month. Clearly, the one named simply, transistor man, was a clear favorite by a margin of 3 to 1.

In any event, I’m looking forward to feedback from all my readers. All comments are welcome. Well…at least the nice ones 🙂