The Early Days of a Better Nation

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Worlds of Tomorrow

I have a (commissioned and expert-advised) short story about what it might be like to be a space tourist in 2103 in the January 2009 issue of Focus, the BBC's glossy magazine of science, technology and the future. I've seen a PDF version of the pages with the colour pictures and sidebar boxes and everything and they look great. It's a big thrill to see the space cruise liner as envisaged by Duncan Steel (the expert) and described by me depicted in all its clunky glory - not to mention seeing the very same photo of Earth from low orbit that I had on my desktop and from which I described the view used as an illustration.

Some weeks ago Katherine Mangu-Ward, associate editor of Reason, the mainstream-user-friendly libertarian magazine, spoke to me on the phone about libertarianism in SF. She has quoted me and many others in her now-published article, which is about that great analytical engine of subversion, my US publisher Tor Books. In the Reason blog discussion someone refers to me as 'crazy old socialist Ken MacLeod'. It's an honour just to be nominated.

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"Crazy old socialist," huh? Your writing is certainly eccentric (which is why it's so damned interesting), but I don't know that I'd call you crazy?

Twisted, maybe...

You actually read a Reason blog discussion, Ken? My sympathies.

I have been honored with the same title minus the 'crazy'. That's obvious. But it certainly is an honorific.

Only someone unfamiliar with the real ultra-left sect crazies would confuse you with them.

How typically libertarian.

"Only someone unfamiliar with the real ultra-left sect crazies would confuse you with them. "

Something we said? . . . or did? . . . or didn't do?

Darren, I guess Ray like most people uses 'ultra-left' to mean Sparts and the like, not impossibilists, left communists, and ilk. I've met Libertarian Alliance folks who were quite knowledgeable about the SPGB, partly because of debates and partly because the LA recruited David Ramsay Steele and David McDonagh from the Party. (Duly followed by a messy split and grudges that still rankle decades later.)

You should see what the Reason commenters said about me.

Rod, I tried to defend you.

(Although I accidentally typed "free government" where I meant "free market." And my attempted correction glitched and never showed up.)

I used to post regularly and heavily at the Reason blog and have had a lot of fun there. However, I think now it's a little harder to have a decent, coherent debate there than in the past.

Ken, you crazy socialist, please consider me one of "your Yank dingbat libertarian pals" (as per The Stone Canal).

Roderick, Stevo, I'm happy to have you among my 'Yank dingbat libertarian pals' but, Christ, that thread! It's like all the most ... memorable ... people on Usenet fighting in a sock.

And to think I sometimes get depressed reading comment threads on Socialist Unity ...

There is no Jonathan Wilde.

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