For once, I'm not talking about furries.
I just finished a book called 'Fallen Angels' by Larry Niven and I've got to say, it had a respectable start to it. Post-Ice-Age world has blamed polar caps covering most of North America on 'illegal technology' and spacestation technocrats. The space station dwellers send out ships to scoop off nitrogen from the Earth's atmosphere for their habitats and one, with a pair of astronauts aboard, gets shot down.
Good premise, eh?
Well, that's where it stops being Science Fiction and starts being Science Fanwank. Because, see, it's not science that saves the day, it's the science fiction FANS that save the day. The plucky, dogged, oh-so-resourceful-and-more-clever-than-anyone-else geeks who were, are, and always will be repressed by society save the astronauts (hereafter referred to as 'Angels' for...whatever reason), pull them across ice caps, attend three conventions, go to two museums, and decide to strap them back to a rocket they haven't seen with a metric shitton of bootleg rocket fuel and send their asses back up into space.
The plotholes begin. See, the pilots even admitted to the fans thatthey weren't 'needed' back up in space nor were they really wanted. Scoopship runs are suicide missions and so they send the expendables. But hey, don't let that stop you, SF Fans, you seem to know more than we do!
What's that? Oh, you know of all sorts of useful things to send back up there? Plastic corn and bull semen, cornish game hens and GENETICALLY ALTERED MICE YOU JUST HAPPEN TO HAVE LYING AROUND? Oh, why didn't you say so? I forgot, you guys are all the heroes here, not us normal non-fanatical, non-Heinlein worshipers. I forgot, you are all set to be the underdogs, oppressed by a government that's gone over to crystal methodology and therapeutic touch and whatnot.
I was all set for this to be a joke, for it to be not true, that this book wouldn't finish like it was screaming like a bat out of hell towards. That they'd launch and then the rocket that *hasn't been tested or fired for years* would blow up and that would be that. That maybe, the central villain would catch up to them and make them pay dearly for their trip, maybe even killing off one of the central characters!
No. The main villain's a SF fan too and only wants to go up with them. So she fucks one of the four people going up to carry his 'viable genetic material' up into space. AND THEY LET HER. No one has a problem with this. At all.
Oh yeah, and the damned ship launches and isn't blown out of the sky by every AA missile on the western seaboard. Because the scoopship WAS blown out of the sky by a missile on the western seaboard...but, again, I forgot, the great deity Heinlein has decreed that fandumb shall win the day and that us lowly non-SF fans can go suck an egg.
Seriously, they WORSHIP Robert A. Heinlein in this book. He's quoted more than any other SF thing is here (and believe me, there's so many, it's could become it's own goddamned drinking game) and it just becomes...sickening how much they just *keep going on* about him. How he was right, how the Green movement was wrong, how technology is good and how crystals and God are bad, and so on and so forth. It's...fandumb and I can't really believe that this book sold so well or has so many good ratings on Amazon.
Oh believe me, I tried to enjoy it. I really did. It had some good gags and a lot of philosophy to it, but the sheer amount of "SF FANS RULE, EVERYONE ELSE DROOLS" crammed cover to cover in this book reminded me of Alfie's dad. Whenever we go over to his house, invariably the man will start rambling on about some SF book that he thinks is mildly relevant to whatever we were talking about. He goes on for 15 minutes at a time and the thread of our discussion is lost somewhere in the murk.
Heinlein is quoted or referenced at least once a trip.
I love the man and he and his wife have supported me and Alfie without question, for which I am most definitely grateful. But I can't look at him and think "this man could outwit the entire government and launch a spaceship under their noses". I just can't. It's a nice dream, but it's just that. Making a whole book out of it was foolish and a waste of time and paper. The writing's average, the characters forgettable and sometimes entirely unlikeable. Hell, they even have a 'fat guy' fan who is so blinded by his precious stories and fiction that half the time he annoys everyone else around him...and yet, they all act like him!
Sheesh. I'm done now. I like SF, I really do, but this much fanwank in one book is a bit too much. I'm going to go read something much more relaxed and non-slobbering now because I'd rather enjoy my books than be disgusted by them.