SFcrowsnest

Editorial – February 2017: We live in interesting times.

Hello everyone

There are some rare instances when I don’t start writing an editorial early in the month or prepared to rewrite when there are news events that can’t be ignored and put SF issues into the shade. Looking at how this month is flashing by, I didn’t fancy writing anything at the last minute but time is beating me to it this time.

From a writer’s point of view, studying life is a requirement for writing. For Science Fiction, it extends to how societies work and how people react to them. A common theme in our genre is also the handling of power and in SF, there are far too many megalomaniacs not to pay attention to how they are handled in real life. Oddly, it’s not a subject that I’ve really dealt with here

All right, we’ve had and still got a few megalomaniacs across the world but this has to be one of the odd times where one has been elected into office rather than just take power with nothing getting in the way of making radical changes. Well, that has to be proven yet. It feels like a weird situation where I can speak obliquely and you know who exactly who I’m talking about. You would have to have had your head in the sand not to know different.

From the other side of the pond, we can look at how affordable medical care is gone and it’s the one thing that a lot of his voters might actually need. I’m not exactly convinced he can convince the drug companies to drop their prices unless he can convince them to sell cheaper in quantity. The needs of abortion being ignored isn’t actually unexpected. It was part of his agenda but who believes politicians doing what they say they will do except he doesn’t come from a political background. There’s going to be a big awakening any time now, especially as you can never please everyone.

Presidents in the past have held back on scientist developments and advancement but to ignore global warming at this crucial stage is going to double the time to even slow it down, let alone bring it under control. To not believe scientific evidence or disbelieve intelligence services information or even news coverage evidence, correct even for some American biases, tends to meet the criteria of latent paranoia. That can even be compounded as time goes by because it will be become fearful of what can cause upsets. Distrusting his own people and replacing with yes men can compound this even further. An example of this comes from saying torture is acceptable because he is told so. Then again, who is brave enough to say no to a president of their own country? Dissent means thinking more than twice about solving problems and not relying on the first thing that comes into your head. Even in so few words as above, it can be more than worrying.

I hope the above doesn’t come over as being a rant but even with deep thoughts, I can’t really think of anything that is so shocking and less than 10 days out of 4 years of a presidential tenure. If anything, it’s more worrying what is going to happen to the people or countries who say no. Then it potentially becomes a powder key and a bully culture and rebellion.

Oddly, all the megalomaniacs in Science Fiction have never fallen under such a profile. They’ve just been classed as either evil or continuing a tradition only getting more ruthless to maintain their position. No one stops and thinks that their actions might be right under any circumstances. It rarely gets explored and relies on simple tropes seeing power as a means to itself. Reality doesn’t work that way. I’ve commented in the past anyone who just wants to rule the world is never going to last because it depends on a lot of people being able to past on the orders and ensure they are done. Not everyone is going to obey and that grows if something is clearly not going to work or not in best interests.

Anyone who believes the world is against him tends to give the look of fearful paranoia and that gives its own reaction, more so when self-justification or passing a decision to someone else but expected to still do it. Even in the biggest conspiracy plots has one person been regarded as sane and the rest of the world lying worked out for the best? It makes for an interesting on-going analysis that might have to be given more serious thought in the months to come as its not something we can hide from.

One would have to wonder how far things can go before mental instability is brought up as a medical reason for retirement and whether or not the vice-president would be his own person or fall his mentor’s dictates. Something I learnt a few years ago, that no election of a new president cannot be earlier than a four year tenure, so there is a succession of potential replacements. You can even google this yourself as it then moves to the speaker of the House, Senate president and then cabinet members. I did give a wry comment at the time that eventually the White House janitor would be given a chance to sit in the big chair and he might not be cleaning the desk.

In many respects, just in case I’m forgetting the point of the website, it does provide a real example of megalomania in action that should provide material for improved fictional versions, especially in our genre. The only real problem with that is people will say it’s been done before. Effectively, he’s stealing our material. If he doesn’t think the world is going to be in a bigger mess after his tenure then the world is really sunk.

 

Thank you, take care, good night and breath holding isn’t optional.

Geoff Willmetts

editor: SFCrowsnest.org.uk

 

A Zen thought: Actually no thought. Just do some zen breathing. Gently inhale through the nose, count to three and gently exhale through the mouth. Do it for about 5 minutes for a calming influence.

 

Observation: Ever given any thought as to who was the chef on the Nostromo and Sulaco? The food didn’t just suddenly materialise out of the deep freeze…even the cornbread.

 

Feeling Stressed: Hope someone has a blue pill available.