The Ideological Conquest of Science Fiction Literature

Tuesday , 4, July 2017 18 Comments

Watch the whole thing.

Watch the whole thing!

18 Comments
  • Hooc Ott says:

    Incredible.

    Everything about this.

    Incredible.

    https://kek.gg/i/7r5Z_t.png

  • Rawle Nyanzi says:

    Quite a good video.

  • Great video. Signal boost it far and wide.

  • Man of the Atom says:

    QuQu the Hammer!

  • Rat~Bastard says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • deuce says:

    Great job on the whole, but there are a couple things that are somewhat out of whack. The major one is Wollheim. Yeah, he was in the Futurians. He was also the man who published REH’s “The Hyborian Age” in The Phantagraph back in the ’30s. Don did great things as a fan publisher/editor.

    http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?826

    In the ’40s and ’50s he kept A. Merritt, CS Lewis and Robert E. Howard — and fantasy in general — out in front of the public with the Avon Fantasy Readers and the Avon paperbacks. Even after he left, Avon kept right on publishing Merritt since he’d shown them ol’ Abe’s name could still move units.

    When Don went to Ace, he got Brackett and Andre Norton into paperbacks and was the first one to publish CONAN THE CONQUEROR and ALMURIC between softcovers. He then sparked the Burroughs Boom of the ’60s and gave Frazetta his first paperback covers. If de Camp and Greenburg hadn’t gotten the Conan rights so entangled, Wollheim would’ve published those in paperbacks as well.

    While Don’s handling of the Tolkien affair wasn’t anything to be proud of, he DID try the legit route first. His wildcat publishing of LotR forced the hand of JRRT and sparked the Tolkien Boom — which led directly into the Conan/Howard Boom.

    Wollheim went on to start DAW books, where he really got Elric and Moorcock off the ground. He mentored CJ Cherryh and also discovered Michael Whelan and Don Maitz. He also gave Kelly Freas and Roy Krenkel work when a lot of people thought — wrongly — that they should be put out to pasture. Wollheim kept old-fashioned “Planet Stories”-style planetary romance and space opera alive through the ’70s and into the ’80s. The yellow DAW spines were a sign of pulpy goodness to those in the know. He also published QUAG KEEP.

    Does this sound like the career of a raving Marxist? Do the Dumarest and Grimes novels he published read like crypto-commie screeds? As Churchill said — and demonstrated — a man can hold to socialist ideals in his youth but gain wisdom as he ages.

    Check out this passage from Brian Stableford talking about how Don jumped him for being too New Wave and downbeat:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=eZVwwTN2LYgC&pg=PA189&lpg=PA189&dq=%22after+completing+dies+irae%22&source=bl&ots=5BqfgJDXdp&sig=NN_ib2cbGtrns5JLzz6CJScHxpQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi924vby6zTAhVV8GMKHbPzDhYQ6AEIIzAA#v=onepage&q=%22after%20completing%20dies%20irae%22&f=false

    The Infogalactic entry on Wollheim isn’t entirely accurate or thorough, but it should give some idea of the titanic span and influence of Wollheim’s career:

    https://infogalactic.com/info/Donald_A._Wollheim#Wollheim_as_fan

    As for the second thing that wasn’t quite right in that clip… Robert E. Howard was NOT the gold standard of fantasy in America — sales-wise or in the minds of fans — from the ’20s up into the ’60s. That would be A. Merritt. Morgan Holmes and I have talked about this. Merritt — and Wollheim — kept the pump primed. Then Wollheim sparked the Burroughs Boom and THEN the Tolkien Boom. Howard and Conan took off on the heels of that. You had a John Carter/Tarzan/Dwayanu-type hero in a Middle-earth world. The Conan paperbacks appealed to longhairs AND guys just back from ‘Nam. It was a perfect storm. THAT is when Howard came into his own.

  • Joe F Keenan says:

    Well done!

  • Hooc Ott says:

    “Does this sound like the career of a raving Marxist? Do the Dumarest and Grimes novels he published read like crypto-commie screeds?”

    Well with Dumerest there certainly is class struggle to be found.

    Also the pitch black cynicism of human nature peppered through out the 3 books I have read could easily be misconstrued as nihilism as can the futile fatalism of Dumarest’s heroism.

    It ain’t say GRRM’s endless hero assassinations but it also multiple levels more cruel then Conan’s chivalrous noble savage.

    Don’t misconstrue. On an aesthetic level I would very much have preferred the left used western ideals of heroism to push economic and class Marxism rather then the West and Christendom destroying cultural Marxism which we actually get.

    In fact if SFF had gone the Tubb route I probably never would have Pulp Revolted and there is a good chance it might not even need to exist.

    • deuce says:

      “Don’t misconstrue. On an aesthetic level I would very much have preferred the left used western ideals of heroism to push economic and class Marxism rather then the West and Christendom destroying cultural Marxism which we actually get.”

      I’m afraid I must misconstrue. I have no idea what youre’re driving at there. Does it all boil down to “Wollheim remained a Communist his whole life and secretly subverted SFF by publishing more pulp and pulp-style fiction for 40 years than anyone else”?

      • Hooc Ott says:

        “Don’t misconstrue.”

        I was only stating I very much like EC Tubb and his Dumerest books.

        “Wollheim remained a Communist his whole life”

        I don’t actually know. He certainly cynically stole Tolkien’s work.

        Also sure he republished some Pulp greats…and made a bunch of money from it.

        Also certainly pulp enthusiast have more then a few Ace books on their shelves and in basements.

        But those are the good ones right?

        Ace also published Damon Knight’s The Rithian Terror” and “The Sun Saboteurs” maybe more. Do you have those books littering your shelves next to Conan the Cimmarian?

        Or how about William Tucker’s “The Year of the Quiet Sun” also an Ace book published under Wollheim’s editorship.

        It could be we remember Ace for the good and popular pulp books we kept or snatched away from our parents basements and not for its unpopular Cultural Marxist drivel written by Wollheim’s comrades.

      • deuce says:

        “I was only stating I very much like EC Tubb and his Dumerest books.”

        So, THAT^^^ is supposed to mean the same thing as THIS?

        “Don’t misconstrue. On an aesthetic level I would very much have preferred the left used western ideals of heroism to push economic and class Marxism rather then the West and Christendom destroying cultural Marxism which we actually get.”

        Did you run that through Google Translate into Latvian, then back to English, then into Japanese and back to English? Those two don’t appear to say the same thing.

      • deuce says:

        “Well with Dumerest there certainly is class struggle to be found.”

        Meaning what? Rich people ride in First Class, poor people ride in steerage. What’s your point? Was Dumarest trying to lead a proletarian uprising amongst the stars? Did Wollheim tell Tubb to put “class struggle” into the series? You do realize that Tubb was a huge Brackett fan, right? Leigh had plenty of haves and have-nots in her tales. Was she a Marxist, too?

        “Also the pitch black cynicism of human nature peppered through out the 3 books I have read could easily be misconstrued as nihilism as can the futile fatalism of Dumarest’s heroism.”

        The cynicism in the series is by no means “pitch black”. To use a detective fiction analogy, Dumarest is hardboiled, NOT noir. Back to Brackett, you do realize at least half her stories were filled with cynical, damaged heroes, right? There are several instances of “futile fatalism” as well. Was she a closet commie, too?

        Wollheim had EVERYBODY workin’ for Comintern from the looks of it! 😀

        • Hooc Ott says:

          “Meaning what?”

          That EC Tubb was English and with Dumerest he very much wore his Labour working class politics on his sleeve.

          “The cynicism in the series is by no means “pitch black”.”

          Oh really…

          “”I haven’t lost one yet” boasted the handler. “That’s why you have me worried. I’ve got a clean score and I want to keep it that way”
          It wouldn’t, of course. Benson was still fresh at the game. Give him time and he would become less conscientious, more time and he would grow careless, finally he would not give a damn. That’s when some of his kind thought it cute to cut the dope and watch some poor devil scream his lungs raw with the agony of restored circulation.”

          As black as the heart of Asmodeus.

          “You do realize that Tubb was a huge Brackett fan”

          No idea. I do know GRRM was. It is interesting to consider how Tubb took heroes like Brackett’s and kept them heroes. Virtue, in moral peril risks self for what is right a sense of good and evil the whole bit and just made his Dumerest a working class hero. GRRM in contrast deconstructed them and when they threaten any actual heroics assassinates them.

          I suppose that is why I like one author and despise the other.

          “Did you run that through Google Translate into Latvian, then back to English, then into Japanese and back to English?”

          What are you doin’ here? Are you lookin for a meme war? Come on fam, I’m not your enemy.

      • deuce says:

        “It ain’t say GRRM’s endless hero assassinations but it also multiple levels more cruel then Conan’s chivalrous noble savage.”

        The same Conan that was known as “Throat-Slitter” among Amalric’s mercs? The same Conan who sailed with and loved the utterly bloodthirsty Belit? REH gave zero indication that Conan brought the crazy bitch around. The same Conan who burned Khwarizm for his mistress, Octavia? Sure there are offsetting moments, but “chivalrous noble savage” might be taking things a bit far.

        BTW, check out this quote:

        “Now in my country sometimes there are famines; but people are hungry only when there’s no food in the land at all. But in civilized countries I’ve seen people sick of gluttony while others were starving. Aye, I’ve seen men fall and die of hunger against the walls of shops and storehouses crammed with food.”

        Sounds pretty damned Marxist. Wollheim or Robert E. Howard?

      • deuce says:

        “I don’t actually know [if Wollheim remained a crypto-commie his entire life].”

        You’re certainly doing nothing to dispel the notion. Neither does QuQu. For now, I’ll just point out the political histories of several of Wollheim’s contemporaries. Heinlein started out as a socialist before becoming pretty solidly libertarian. Poul Anderson was an admitted globalist in the early ’50s before becoming one of the icons of conservative SF. Philip K. Dick attended Communist meetings before eventually ending up quite libertarian. As a modern-day example, Stefan Molyneux started as a socialist and now he’s a libertarian. Such philosophical journeys are quite common and there is nothing to indicate that Wollheim didn’t move in a similar rightward direction.

        “He certainly cynically stole Tolkien’s work.”

        As an orc might say, “A typical Marxist trick”. Right. Wollheim tried very hard to get the paperback rights and was rebuffed rather brusquely. When Houghton-Mifflin refused to publish their own paperbacks, Wollheim thought he saw a legal loophole. It looked plausible. The Ace editions were the best thing to happen to LotR in JRRT’s lifetime, opening the floodgates of commercial success. After the lawsuit, Tolkien actually made more money per copy than he did from the legal copies, since his publisher took a cut of those.

        As I’ve said, Wollheim’s maneuver was nothing to be proud of, but the whole thing started out on the up n’ up. It didn’t start out “cynical”.

      • deuce says:

        “Also sure [Wollheim] republished some Pulp greats…and made a bunch of money from it.”

        Yeah, because making “a bunch of money” by way of free enterprise is a typical commie move. The Marxist hallmark.

        Wollheim DIDN’T just “republish pulp greats”, as I’m sure you know from your deep knowledge of the subject. However, for those those playing along at home, let’s look at the “D” series of Ace SF Doubles:

        https://infogalactic.com/info/List_of_Ace_SF_double_titles

        Wollheim started off with Van Vogt, REH and Brackett. His “comrade”, Asimov, had to wait a full year to get published. Typical KGB ploy. Go ahead and read the complete list. Full of App N authors. Nor were most of the titles old, resurrected tales. Wollheim was cycling many of them in from the pulps/digests within 2-3yrs. Simak’s “Ring Around the Sun” was only a year old when published as a double.

        Wollheim wasn’t just plundering old pulps. Not by a long shot — though I’m sure van Vogt appreciated the checks. Wollheim was supporting working authors. Among many, two were Tubb and A. Bertram Chandler. Wollheim got his commie hooks into them early and never let go.

        By my count, in his first eight years as editor at Ace, Wollheim published his “comrades” a whopping FOUR times. Asimov — one of the top writers in SF at the time — accounted for half of that. The KGB is a patient lot, that’s for sure.

        Meanwhile, Comrade Damon Knight waited patiently in line for six long years. During those six years, Don was putting food on the table of a large chunk of the LIVING writers who would end up in Appendix N. The KGB works in mysterious ways.

  • HOLY Shirt! Who is this fuzzy…I mean furry? He’s a traitor from NPR right? He has Ira Glass’s stuffy nose. It must be him!
    Now he’s name dropping Jeffro Johnson and Castalia House…which means he’s following the PulpRev movement.
    Wait I recognize him. He’s Qu Qu from Gab. A name worthy of a follower of Kek…the plot thickens.
    Go follow him on Gab-> https://gab.ai/TheQuQu

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