SENSOR SWEEP: Rampant Nihilism, Blatantly Silly Chats, Malthusian Narratives, and Zero Chemistry

Monday , 7, August 2017 12 Comments

A Look from the Outside (Kairos) Superversive vs. PulpRev — “Though my work doesn’t meet the ideal of either literary movement, I’m sympathetic to and have friends in both camps. For those who are unfamiliar with the Superversives and the #PulpRev, the former seek to overturn the rampant nihilism in contemporary SFF from above with stories informed by genuine virtue, while the latter identify post-World War II Campbellian sci-fi as the point where the genre went off the rails. The PulpRev revisits the classic pulps for the inspiration to make science fiction and fantasy–which are really the same genre–fun, heroic, and truly romantic again.”

Pulp Revolution (Cirsova) Brian Niemeier is Saving Superversive + a Warning to the Pulp Revolution — “One of the nicest things about Castalia House’s blog offering a platform for the Pulp Revolution is that while Castalia House is a brand, it has not imposed itself on movement. In fact, the commercial publishing wing of Castalia is almost wholly independent from the Pulp Revolution. Vox Day has never said ‘You’re on my site, so you’re going to talk about and promote the kind of science fiction I like and publish.’ And Jeffro, the blog’s editor, has not put the clamps down or laid down the law or acted like he was the pope of the Pulp Rev despite having a tremendous amount of clout within the movement.”

Movies (Wasteland and Sky) The End of Pop Culture — “Hollywood has been telling audiences what to like for decades, but there have always been smart folks in the system willing to get around the suits and give the audience what they actually want. Star Wars was Golden Age pulp that bypassed the acceptable Silver Age sci-fi literature at the time. It ignored the grimdark Hollywood movies and gave the audience their good vs evil stories back again. It was a major hit and phenomenon as a result, causing an explosion in genre films throughout the 1980s. All it was was a battle of good and evil with really good guys and really bad guys. It was straightforward and it was honest. But Star Wars isn’t that anymore, Rogue One even went out of the way to destroy that aspect of the series, and Disney is milking the nostalgia for all its worth. Something new needs to arise.”

Science Fiction (Black Gate) Dune by Frank Herbert — “Herbert knows humans crave a savior, capable of leading them to some perfect world, where all hardship and troubles have been swept away. The Bene Gesserit have been breeding the members of the Great Houses for thousands of years to force one into existence. The Fremen, exiled across the galaxy for untold ages before reaching Arakkis, have long hoped for one’s coming, and when he seems to arrive, they are ready to place all their trust and faith in him. Only Paul fears what it means to be a messiah and what it will do to the Fremen, their world, and the galaxy. Only by great dexterity, and with fully-realized characters and setting, was Herbert able to make this exploration relatable as well as believable, but he did.”

Pulp Revolution ( PulpRev and the Gatekeepers — “A PulpRev gatekeeper issues a warning to the PulpRev community. ‘Some folks worried about the Pulp Rev ossifying because I was gonna maybe go invite only in a year and a half from now.’ P. Alexander publishes a seminal PulpRev magazine, Cirsova. This quote isn’t his warning, but I use it to illustrate he is a gatekeeper. I believe at the heart of his warning to the PulpRev community is a warning about gatekeepers.”

SuperversiveSF (Injustice Gamer) Superversive Recovery and PulpRev Direction — “I really hope the WHOLE group takes this to heart. But, I’ll believe it when I see John C. Wright, Tom Simon, and Anthony having a blatantly silly chat about something being superversive on Twitter. This is about actively building relationships with readers and each other in public.”

What People Are Saying (John L. Monk) Very cool review from Jon Mollison of Castallia House — “Just got an incredibly deep and insightful review of my ‘This Dark Age’ series from Castalia House. The reviewer — Jon Mollison — really seemed to capture the spirit of the novels, and I’m flattered that I seem to have hit the notes soundly for him (and for me).”

SuperversiveSF (Injustice Gamer) Superversive? I’m waiting to be uplifted. — “What’s this mean for how I interact with Superversive itself now? Until I see changes, I’m going to be a lot more wary. I’m friends with a few of them, and that won’t be affected on my part, but this whole controlling nature really hurts my ability to trust the ‘movement’, and to an extent, the Press. The whole keeping the rest of the world in the dark gets me down. I can’t support something where there’s literally no info on it, and since the group won’t communicate publicly as a corporate body or individually, there’s nothing to be found.”

Pulp Revolution ( PulpRev Sampler: Very Short Call For Very Short Story Submissions — “That said, ‘we’ (basically myself and the people who hang out on the discord) want to make a sampler, an anthology of the beauty and strangeness of PulpRev movement as it is now. To reduce the burden on reader and writer we want stories between 750 and 1,500 words. You can write that in an hour, though it would be easier on us if you spent an extra hour editing it. N. A. Roberts wants at least 16,000 words. I want at least 20 contributors. This call for submissions will close one week from now. That’s August 10th, 2017, oh… 2:12 CDT.”

Appendix N (PC Bushi) Hiero’s Loooong Journey — “Thankfully Lanier doesn’t push and push with his Malthusian narrative, but the explanation about how Earth was thrown into chaos and death because of overpopulation, capitalism, and religious fanaticism, and scientific advancement is…well, stupid.”

The End of an Era (Puppy of the Month Book Club) Thank You For A Great Year — “The Puppy of the Month Book Club kicked off last August by three men with a love of adventure fiction and a desire for a place to read and discuss works by our favorite authors. In the year since launching this blog, the literary scene has since exploded, with massive growth in the numbers of authors writing in the anti-modern styles we love, and a proliferation of blogs dedicated to such works. The literary party so long dominated by the established publishing houses and their chosen few rightfans has been crashed by wrongfans of many different stripes.”

Movies (Declan Finn) The Pulp Fails of Kong: Skull Island — “Additional PulpFails:   -10 Pulp points for ‘Evil / Crazy military dude’ cliche. -20 for the retread Avatar / Pocahantas eco-themes. -50 for ‘Man’s efforts are futile’ (Bullets, bombs, the grenade fiasco). BS. -100 points for having zero chemistry between the girl and Loki, or even between the girl and the monkey. -100 points for making me reconsider Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake kindly. -100 points for having most of the military men get slaughtered, while most of the civilians walk away,  unscathed.”

RPGs (Comics Madness) Dynamic mechanics — “There it is: why ‘play my character’ is not only a tactical or thespian exercise regarding what’s on the character sheet, and why ‘tonight’s adventure’ is not only a battle mat. This had perhaps not been absent from role-playing tables until the early to middle 1980s, but it was certainly absent from the texts and was absent from my experiences I’d had to date. This lack was the single reason my age-group left the hobby during high school, before the Satanic Panic and the social backlash, and why a lot of us came back for the superheroes, where – again, for us – the subject, or idiom, was synonymous with its presence.”

SuperversiveSF (Injustice Gamer) Clarifying my posts on Superversive — “The biggest thing we need to know is WHEN STUFF COMES OUT. I literally only knew about Astounding Frontiers launching because Lou Antonelli posted on his Facebook account, I didn’t see it in my Twitter feed or on any author blogs at the time. There was no launch announcement on either Superversive page. If your boss doesn’t know you completed a job, don’t expect to hold that job for a long time.”

Appendix N (Into the Night) Latest News: August 6th 2017 — “So, my reading and writing took a big hit over the last few months, my usual two books a week becoming two books in 6 weeks. One of those two books I started yesterday and finished today. That’s right, I read Jeffro’s Appendix N in under 24 hours and a cracking good read it was too.”

  • Thanks to Jeffro and everyone who’s taking part in the discussion about the future of our genre. I see a lot of folks citing me as the impetus for this renewed dialogue, but all I did was pass along what the fans told me. I gladly give all of the credit to them!

  • Nicholas Archer says:

    I’ll be honest this Movement vs Brand Debate is all Greek to me. I didn’t even know there were Literary Movements or Schools of Thought until this year when I stumbled upon SuperversiveSF and Castalia House. I’m still having a hard time pinning down: What is Superversive? What is PulpRev? What is Pink Sci-fi? What is Blue Sci-fi? What is the opposite of Superversive and PulpRev? I just started writing in 2015 when I realized most Modern Sci-fi was from a Atheistic/Evolutionary Worldview and was very Nihilistic and Anti-Religion, which I hoped to counter. Thus this is all new to me, though very interesting.

    • Jeffro says:

      Hey I don’t either.

      It’s like every time I opine on what is punk rock, there is always some punk around to tell me I have no idea what I’m talking about. To which I can only reply: that’s so punk rock!

      At the same time, if you don’t know what the OSR is, then you probably won’t have any idea why the Pulp Revolution worked the way that it did for the past year or so.

      From an rpg blogging standpoint, all of this was business as usual. And utterly foreign to the typical book blog or author panel scene.

    • Anthony says:

      FWIW, brand vs. movement is fairly simple. Brand is like Hasbro or Mattel or Tor: We use it to sell our stuff, other people only have that brand if they go through us.

      Movement is something you WANT more people participating in, because you’re hoping everyone starts doing it. Baebie is a brand product, “More girly dolls!” is a movement.

    • deuce says:

      “What is Superversive? What is PulpRev? What is Pink Sci-fi? What is Blue Sci-fi? What is the opposite of Superversive and PulpRev?”

      Read Jeffro’s APPENDIX N. Also, use the search engine here on the blog. Search “pulprev” etc. Plenty has been written about all of this. Whatever you don’t find here, just google it. It’s what I did a year ago.

      BTW, good to hear you want to throw your hat in the ring!

  • john silence says:

    Vredenburgh is almost the sole reason to visit Black Gate nowadays.

  • JD Cowan says:

    Thanks for the link! It was a surprisingly busy time last week.

    • deuce says:

      JD, I’m right there with Brian. You knocked it outta the park. It’s up to all of us who actually know there’s a world and history outside the Echo Chamber to use whatever talents we have and carpe diem. We’re looking at a tectonic shift and such periods have always been where the greatest opportunity — and lasting impact — lies. Time to build anew.

      • JD Cowan says:


        I’m really excited that it struck a nerve with so many people. It’s one thing to notice something, but it’s different when so many others notice it as well.

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