Conquest’s Laws of Politics In Action

My reasons for not being active in most interest groups, fan groups, or groups generally are legion, but one of them is one of Robert Conquest’s Laws of Politics:

Any organization not explicitly right-wing will over time become left-wing.

Conquest, you’ll recall, is the lone Sovietologist whose justified response to his colleagues was “I told you so, you fucking fools” after the Soviet Union fell.

Francis Porretto makes the sadly effortless connection to SF fandom and the current dustup. I bought some Barry Malzberg novels and essays on Amazon to

support the poor guy. Breakfast in the Ruins looks fascinating, and I’m already enjoying the hell out of Galaxies, which is just fucking awesome. How did I not know of this book before? I shall quote Michael Battaglia’s Amazon review below the fold.

Porretto has more on the dustup here.

From Michael Battaglia’s Amazon review of Galaxies by Barry N. Malzberg:

 …The plot summary on the back of the book does no justice to the actual content of the book and indeed makes one wonder if the person who did that actually read the book, unless Malzberg himself wrote it as a complicated joke. The “plot” then. Basically, just as the author writes in the beginning, it’s the series of notes for a novel called “Galaxies” where a woman space technician accidentally pilots her ship into a black galaxy (a black hole, essentially). The author uses the idea of sketches for a novel and this as a jump off point for some of the funniest explorations of the nature of writing and science fiction ever, both as a genre and as a publishing market. I’ve rarely laughed out loud so many times, Malzberg dips from seriousness to hilarity while keeping that same dry cynical tone (even funnier if you’ve seen a picture of him, he has the most dour, long face I’ve ever seen), all the while seeming to wink just at the edges that it’s all in good fun. He debates the content of the novel, how much sex to put in, where science comes into play, the nature of science in science fiction, the entire bit and manages not only to hit his mark each and every time but manages to make all this stuff just as relevant today, probably the hardest part. Back then people probably thought this book was “weird” after all it is written as notes for a novel but that’s the entire point there was no other way for the point to be gotten across (and as the author says the novel could never be written properly, since it takes place in the 40th century). A slim work that won’t take up much of your time, you’ll probably spend more time thinking about what you’ve read and pondering it than actually reading the book. … One of the more essential science fiction books, especially if you want to understand what this genre just might be all about.


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7 Responses to Conquest’s Laws of Politics In Action

  1. Sven Blatzkin says:

    Malzberg is a lefty. He’d witch-hunt you or me just the same way, without a speck of empathy for us as human beings. He deserves to be eaten by the stinking jackals he runs with, as they all do.

  2. Rivrdog says:

    Leftism only sems to be a fit with sci-fi, because the absence of conservative values is usually considered essential for writing in this genre. Only in sci-fi does the idea of personal religion get trashed as a matter of course, so all the lefties flock to the genre and claim to “own” it, because they are afraid of giving God some room to exist on a level with their faux-God of collectivism.

    This leaves the genre wide-open to true libertarians, who, alone, seem to manage all the genre’s requirements.

  3. Rivrdog, that’s a great part of the reason I wrote Which Art In Hope and Freedom’s Scion. SF is supposed to be a literature of ideas, yet the idea of a supernatural realm wherein dwells a Supreme Being Who takes an interest in Mankind appears to be effectively forbidden.

    Not around me, my friend. Not around me. Indeed, I can hardly come up with a more exciting, more important idea. It deserves far more respect than most SF writers give it.

    Thanks for the linkage, David, and welcome to the Liberty’s Torch blogroll.

  4. Mollbot says:

    Well that didn’t work the way I planned it. is the website I was *trying* to link to.

  5. Davidwhitewolf says:

    @Sven: well, I’d imagine his eyes may have been opened a tad in recent days. Every little bit helps.

    Francis, thanks as well! Just bought WAIH on Kindle and I look forward to exploring your work.

  6. NotClauswitz says:

    It was very interesting personally for me to meet SF writer Daily Pundit Bill Quick at the last Gunblogger Rendezvous. We’d had a few on-line *moments* of varied articulation and disagreement (when I was DirtCrasher), and in-person the result was much-much more agreeable – but he recollects to me somewhat of the description of Malzberg’s protagonist in Herovit’s World as far as one reviewer states: a career that has hijacked basically his entire life and doesn’t pay all that well. I used to read SF exclusively, but not much in the past twenty years. Something happened when I turned 30, I guess…

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