The Early Days of a Better Nation

Saturday, March 08, 2014


Here's a Scottish Book Trust podcast in which I talk with Ryan Van Winkle about Descent. Kirsty Logan and Tim Sinclair are on before me, also talking about their new books.

I have a review of The Science Fiction Handbook, edited by Nick Hubble and Aris Mousoutzanis (Bloomsbury, 2013) in the Morning Star. Basically I outline the history of SF criticism as I understand it and then heartily recommend the book, which I have read and have already started lending to students.


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Concerning your podcast, I know no intelligent person ,on a spectrum from Liberal(US meaning) to genuine left (whatever variety) that did not believe something like what Snowden revealed was going on. From some things I've read, this would include many conservatives as well, although their attitude was more neutral to approving. In Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven's Oath of Fealty, constant surveillance is seen as a component of (right-wing) utopia. Snowden himself seems to be some kind of Libertarian.

Cheers for the review, Ken

Nick - Glad you like the review. The book fills a real gap in the market and in the reading lists, and I hope it does well.

I got Descent (from Amazon Germany!?) and read it. A good work, and I see what you meant in some of your comments. I think Gramsci meant by Passive Revolution the transition from feudalism, or the (reactionary) Absolutist state to capitalism without a French -or even English-style revolution, but that isn't that important. What I would like to know is how much research is actually going on into human speciation by pure chance? Are there one or two representative websites? Anyway, I really enjoyed it.


Thanks, Lee. The idea of 'passive revolution' was applied to the post-WW2 social overturns in Eastern Europe by some Marxists, eg the 'Eurocommunist' Jon Bloomfield in his book on Czechoslovakia, though I don't know with how much rigour.

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