It’s Only Castles Burning


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    • Edger on May 13, 2010 at 3:36 pm
    • Edger on May 13, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    How do you best defeat your political and social enemies? Give them good reasons to join you willingly! It doesn’t have to be hit ’em over the head propaganda, sometimes just the example will suffice. James P. Hogan does a masterful job of “convert thy enemy” in Voyage from Yesteryear. This isn’t some slam-bang, faster-than-light, wishful-thinking space colony story. It’s a carefully thought out and very convincing picture of a future I, personally, wouldn’t mind seeing. This is a book I read when I despair of the results of current political trends. Is it ridiculous to read the same story a dozen or so times? Maybe, but if you can call up some hope for the human race, even for a short time, so what if you have memorized some of the dialogue?

    Voyage from Yesteryear opens with the end of the current space era, the launch of an interstellar probe ship. No magical faster-than-light drives, just pluggin’ away with what we know now. Some farsighted people see that while such a slow probe can’t carry passengers, it can carry material and information to create colonists if a suitable star system is found, and robot educators to carry the colony through the early times. With freedom and technology, the colony thrives. The only problem is, after a series of wars and decimation of population, the various remaining powers on Earth decide to “rescue” the lost colony.


    The “lost” colony, being rich in resources, fusion-powered, robot-assisted, doesn’t fit the mold of the Earth that the expedition left behind, and challenges the drones and conventional thinkers to a dangerous extent. The colonists don’t push anyone, or even seriously try to persuade people to their way of thinking. They simply exist, and welcome anyone who accepts personal freedom and responsibility as a way of life. When I first read this book, I was reminded of Eric Frank Russell’s classic short story “And Then There Were None”, with a military-oriented expedition to a similar “lost colony” experiencing mass desertion of people. The hardest part of the equation, from the point of view of the entrenched, conventional-minded groups, is that the first and biggest losses are the talented, unconventional thinkers who are the earliest to recognize that they have bowed down to incompetence and politics far too long. Both Russell and Hogan see no need to actually coerce anyone into joining what amounts to rebellion against the old system, example being enough for anyone who is capable of clear thought and self-responsibility.

    • RiaD on May 14, 2010 at 3:31 am

    you need to go see this:

  1. LOVE Neil Young.

    BTW, sorry about your experiences at the pink, tried to warn you 🙁

    I at least moderate and eventually ban my users bent on nothing but disruption.


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