THIS is why I hate Science Fiction!!
I get comments from friends (and imaginary friends) about why I only write about soccer (mostly) and NASCAR (somewhat) and Formula 1 (not often enough) instead of other subjects of alleged interest (besides dignity, style and culture, of course). Why don’t I write more about science fiction, for example….especially since I have long history (such as it is) in science fiction fandom and could bring a depth and perspective to that subject? After all, I’ve met more famous science fiction writers in person than I have famous soccer players and NASCAR drivers put together by a wide margin.
Instead, I start rambling along about how, for example, Schalke went tumbling to their second straight defeat today…a 4-0 trompage at the hands of Bundesliga leading Bayern Munchen ((yes, THAT Bayern Munchen)). Schalke are a mess at the moment…and their fans are are riotous in their disapproval of their latest gaffes and gaffer as Chelsea fans are about Rafa and our fucktard level of play of late ((‘cept for today, of course, as we smoked Wigan at The bridge 4-1)). You see?? I get off the path and run straight into today’s Bundesliga tilt between MY favourite Borussia Dortmund and Hamburger SV. A stunner that was. I’m quite frankly stunned by the result. BVB lost at home to Hamburger 4-1!! I’m still not sure that’s correct. But correct or not, that was the final score from the Signal-Iduna Park in Dortmund. And no matter how many 6-packs of DAB I drink, it will not change a thing or get me any closer to an explanation. Lewandowski opened the scoring account at the 17th minute. But one minute later Artoms Rudņevs pegged one back. And it all went downhill. Lewandowski was tossed for a grievous foul on 35 minutes, and Hamburger went on to score 3 more despite Chelsea loanee Jonathan Bruma being tossed at 60 minutes bringing the sides back to even strength. But it mattered little as Hamburger slam-dunked two more home and that was it. I just don’t get it. I really don’t. Schalke’s loss I can explain. This one, nope.
So you see how easy this happens. Even if I start off down the path towards the Golden Age of Science Fiction or New Wave Science Fiction, or think about tentatively running a bit of support for Mpls in 73 up the flagpole, I get knocked off the ball by some hard Czech bastard and before I know it, soccer, instead of science fiction is off on the break and before I can get off the floor to track back, soccer has scored again!
And speaking of hard Czech bastards, Tomáš Rosický was toilet-bound in the Czech Republic’s friendly with Turkey on Wednesday. Instead of pulling a Mark Schlereth or a Gary Lineker, he made a quick mad dash to the nearest crapper right during the game. Which reminds me, on the other end of the toilet spectrum, of my encounter with Science Fiction writer Harry Harrison whose novel Make Room! Make Room! formed the basis for the movie Soylent Green. I was World Con 34 in Kansas City and I happened upon Harry Harrison in a men’s room at the Muehlebach Hotel. As we stood next to each other at the urinals, Harry turned his head slightly towards me and said, “Did you ever notice the older you get, the longer it takes to pee?”
I told him, “No sir, I’ve never noticed that.”
Just when Roberto Mancini thought that long and wacky nightmare of Mario Balotelli was over, that at last he’d have peace with the world and could lead City to repeat of their EPL Championship, a little trip down to the south coast became a tumultuous journey into hell. Hell inflicted upon them by the Saints. Nothing but brilliant red pain for Roberto Mancini. Pain inflicted on him by his own lads even. One of the Saint’s 3 goals was a Gareth Barry own goal. Another was a Joe Hart fuck up. Mancini has all but given up hope of catching ManU(re).
Roberto Mancini is nothing if not a Maestro del Dolore. If he had no mouth, he would be like Ted in Harlan Ellison’s classic science fiction story, I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream. Ellison wrote his classic story inspired by a drawing by noted SF artist William Rotsler. Ellison had a habit of doing this and while I was at World Con is KC I got the idea to try the same thing…write a story based on a piece of SF art. So there we were, me and Harlan Ellison, bidding on a painting by some artist whose name has long slipped my mind. In person, my SF idol was a real dick, so I thought, as a way saying fuck you, I’d bid on the same painting. I kept bidding it up, towards my modest limit. Harlan was getting increasing more pissed, as he figured he’d get the painting on the cheap since we were the only two bidders. I bid $60, which was all the money I had in the world. Harlan bid $75. I was done at that point, mission accomplished, and Harlan spent 7 times what he would have spent on that painting. And in the end, I don’t believe he every turned that painting into a story. I know that I would have turned it into a story, if nothing else out of utter spite. I might have been a terrible story. It might never have gotten published. But I know I would have gotten some grim satisfaction out of it; though probably not as much satisfaction as I got out of fucking the great Harlan Ellison out of $65. Nor as much mileage as I’m getting out of it now.
Which is naught much mileage at all, but at least I’m writing about Science Fiction here for a change. The astute among you might note my little homage to Ellison on my blog. Just look at the calender. There it is. So even though one my SF heroes can be/is a right royal twat at times, he’s still one of the great ones. It is sometimes said that it is better to not meet your heroes and idols. But in Ellison’s case, I don’t feel that way at all. He was just as I’d expected him to be, and I’m glad our paths crossed briefly on that curious day.
The last time I was in Kansas City, for the LifeLock 400 at the Kansas Speedway, I did not get to return to the scene of the crime. The original Muehlebach Hotel as I remember it is now closed, but the building was restored and the lobby is accesible, though it’s no longer open to guests. So didn’t get to a men’s room there and use Harry Harrison’s famous line, but I did bump into Jamie McMary ((McMurray….I call him McMary as an homage to the late great Benny Parsons)) coming out of a porta-potty in the infield area behind and adjactent to Matt Kenseth’s pit. We’d just been through the first rain delay, and while the track was being dried, the drivers were out of their cars and some had to take care of a little business. As I approach the convenient facility, the door opened and out popped McMary, and I asked him how the hell he keeps his hair looking like under his helmet, and he shrugged and chuckled and headed back to his pit stall. And then I proceeded to send one to Miller. So there you have it. Another bloody quid down the drain.
Have you ever noticed the older you get, the longer it takes to pee?
An hour from now, High Noon here in snowy, freezing-rainy SW Wisconsin USA, the Super Bowl of Africa will tee off at the FNB Stadium in Johannesberg. The underdogs from Upper Volta (Burkina Faso is what it’s called these days—Upper Volta sounds like some locale from a steam-punk sci-fi novel…what, WHAT??) are taking on the (now) favoured Nigeria. I am rooting for the underdogs in this. I’m all in on Burkina Faso pulling this off.
See? I the lure of football tugs us (me) away from science fiction once again. It’s still all around, of course….a hushed omnipotent presence. My tag cloud is titled after the classic science fiction novel by Edgar Pangborn. On my home page, The Magic World, my blogroll is call The Happening World…an homage to John Brunner’s novel Stand On Zanzibar. I mentioned the connection between Harlan Ellison and the calender. So why do I hate science fiction? Is for the same reason that I hate music?? Music after all, has too many notes. No, it can’t be that. Too many words?? If I had anything against words, I’d have shut up long ago. Science Fiction is just a bunch of words, and music is just a bunch of notes.
I think what started happening, and I’m dating this back to the early 1980’s, is that Science Fiction started careening off into the fantasy role-playing game realm. And more and more of the focus was on that sort of thing, endless sagas and ragas and mantras and series after series of sword and sorcery and other dull tedious shite masquerading as science fiction. I’m sure there is a virtue in some of this. But when I say I hate Science Fiction, I more likely hate what has become of it. I’m also being somewhat unreasonable about this, a fockin’ punk about it to be exact. But so much of science fiction has disinterested me since the early 80’s, despite my being very passionate about it and active in SF Fandom during the 80’s.
For example, I’m sure there’s a virtue in George R.R. Martin’s series A Game Of Thrones. But how many 1200 page novels about this stuff do we really need. 5 of them are out there right now, with 2 more forthcoming. And that’s just the tip of this iceberg. It’s not just this series. There are endless amounts of this sort of stuff. Now George R.R. Martin is a nice guy. I press-ganged him into participating in a panel on politics and science fiction I was moderating entitled As The Worlds Revolt–Have Government, Will Travel at Minicon 19. My buddy from Appleton WI, Stan Erickson, also participated. It was a different world back then. And I thank George for being a nice guy and a good sport back then and helping out.
But as for Science Fiction…do you really think I hate it?
Have you checked yourself for feathers lately?
What I hate more is that ManU(re) just beat Everton 2-0 at Old Trafford moments ago. I hate that deeply. And with that. It’s time for the Super Bowl, in AFRICA!! And, a beer.
Just don’t forget, that the REAL virtue of science fiction is that….the sky is not a limit.