This is a thing I wrote in response to some SFF fandom bullshit going on. If you’re reading this and don’t know what the Sad/Rabid Puppies are, well, I envy you. Stay unaware. Don’t google it. Google prehistoric squirrels or Steven Universe conspiracy theories instead. It’ll be time better spent. For the rest of us poor bastards who have eaten of the Fruit of Bullshit from the Tree of Train Wreck, this post is for us.
When someone says, “Well, at least I care!” all they’re saying is, “Well, at least I have an opinion!” I’ve read this from one of the Sad Pup ringleaders, and couldn’t help but read the bit about “caring” as the foot-stomp of the petulant, self-righteous child. Caring is meaningless. Caring can be split so many ways and made to mean anything. You can carry it down into all kinds of Godwin Law absurdity. Mussolini cared about train schedules. Custer cared about the Sioux. You can’t say they didn’t. They certainly cared enough to have opinions about them. To state so sternly that you’re justified in your actions, because “you cared” is simply a sleight of hand attempt to raise feelings up to the level of values, because you’re not wise or self-aware enough to process your feelings without making noises.
This is one of those books I read about on a blog somewhere discussing “forgotten classics” of SF. The premise sounded neat: a pair of heroes (more psychic EMTs than cops) roams the weird streets of a future New York City that’s fragmented into communes.
The novel began its life as a series of novellas in Analog before going the fix-up route, so it’s no wonder that the Analog cover with its Apocalypse Chair is the most apt, sort of. The second picture is the first paperback novel printing and it’s your standard 1970s SF moodscape, like for real man, without any indication of setting or character. All it needs is a sketchy disembodied head screaming and you could call it Operation: Mindcrime. The next with the black cover is the
Prime Books Wildside Press edition that’s in print now and it’s the copy I read, and, well, that’s the dullest of the bunch. It’s a road sign.
All of which is a shame because Missing Man is a fun book. It’s dated for sure, and a bit eyebrow-raising whenever the conflict centers on rescuing someone from a “crazy” ethnic or racial minority, but it’s also weirdly prescient in the way its fragmented NYC resembles the Internet: a world where people have segregated themselves from each other along the lines of their interests and via their computers so they never need to encounter someone who disagrees with them.
Missing Man may be wrong in the particulars and technology of this fragmentation, but I suspect it’s right in depicting some of the results.
I’m having a weird fit of nostalgia. Most specifically for late Bronze Age Space Opera/Post-Apocalyptic comics. Off the top of my head I can remember reading:
1. Dreadstar (My dad read this comic and didn’t want my brother and I to know.)
2. Atari Force
3. Scout (going to put Dragon Chang here too.)
4. The Marvel Star Wars Comic (Do you remember Den Siva?)
5. The Micronauts
6. Stark Future (Has anyone else heard of this let alone read it?)
7. Alien Legion (really should be #1 on this list. Never got into the reboots.)
8. Rocket Raccoon (Like the Secret of NIMH with laserguns and early Mike Mignola artwork. Also the Boba Fett character was a black rabbit with red eyes…)
I’m not counting manga, Legion of Superheroes, or stuff I didn’t read like Grimjack/Border Worlds or found later like Kamandi and Magnus: Robot Fighter.
Anyone else remember others?