Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Comments of Comment

snippy 2004-06-06 21:21
Tara K. Harper writes through her dreams, but not quite like that. She works out the story in her head like a movie, and then writes it. If she comes to a new problem while writing, she dreams it out that night.

dsgood 2004-06-08 22:08
Robert Louis Stevenson also dreamed stories; I don't remember the details, but I think he used yet a third method.

timprov 2004-06-06 22:27
I don't get why so many vegetarians/vegans feel the need to spend so much time on fake animal products. There are so many good vegan things to be made that aren't fake nonvegan things. I'm occasionally tempted to write a vegan cookbook, despite being entirely unqualified, just because the competition seems so pathetic.

dsgood 2004-06-08 22:14
Partly because to many Americans it's not a real meal unless it includes meat, I think.

And partly because those vegetarians and vegans who want to Preach The Word are like other preachy types -- they usually don't understand the people they're preaching at.

timprov 2004-06-06 22:01
"They Might Be Windmills" is a very nifty title.

dsgood 2004-06-08 22:20
Thank you!

mrissa 2004-06-07 21:55
Considering that Spinrad was offering his most recent book for $1 and had no takers, I'm not sure his is the example we want to use of near-future wrong-prediction SF doing well....

Not that I disagree with the general point, mind.

dsgood 2004-06-08 22:33
I wasn't giving it as an example of doing well, but as an example of it getting into print -- and being reprinted after it had definitely been proven wrong.

As for He Walked Among Us -- after reading the sample given at Spinrad's site, I decided that it hadn't sold because it wasn't very good.

It's now available as an ebook and as a Print On Demand book. I'm not sure how close it is to the self-publication end of the spectrum.

Apartments in Paris aren't cheap, so he's probably getting a good income from writing something.

timprov 2004-06-08 03:04
I'm not sure where the boundary is between failed predictions and alternate history/alternate future history.

For instance, mrissa and I are working on a story that assumes a very Gibson-esque cyberpunk near future (in the story's past). Neither of us takes it seriously as extrapolation, but it hasn't not happened yet, even though it looks terribly unlikely at this point.

dsgood 2004-06-08 22:43
Some failed predictions have retroactively been relabeled as alternate history. For example, Poul Anderson's first future history; World War Three failed to occur on schedule.

By the way -- if you were to write a story in which the near future included only likely things, you would get some things very, very wrong.

oursin 2004-06-08 05:20
I thought that the reason that sf writers weren't writing about 2000 in 1999 were 'that's like, so 1950s' (or, 'been there, done that, decades ago')

dsgood 2004-06-08 22:48
Well, imitations of E. M. Forster's "The Machine Stops" have been published for almost a hundred years. And stories in which the last two people on Earth turn out to be named Adam and Eve keep being published -- despite being prominent on editors' "Don't send me this!" lists.

From Denny Lien Dennis Lien

Though there were a small spate of Y2J stories out just before the 2000 clickover. I even had an idea for one myself but lacked the skills to write it, mercifully. It assumed that The Second Coming would respect time zones, so that people elsewhere in the world could see the Skies Open, G*d Descending, Demons Fleeing etc. at midnight+ in one zone, and hence had from 1 to 23 hours to Repent And Be Saved before it got to their own zone.

Here's a list I did for Stumpers a few years back of stories which I could think of that were set in the year 2000. I'm sure there are many more (I've found more since, in fact):

Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 15:43:30 -0500
Subject: % SF set in 2000

At 11:13 AM 9/11/00 -0700, BALIS/PLS/SVLS Reference Center wrote:

We're looking for lists of science fiction novels set in the year 2000. So far we've found quite a few in Bleiler's _Science fiction: the early years_, which covers works published through 1930. Our library patron is hoping to find titles that were published through the 1960s, however, and that's where we've run into difficulty. _Olderr's fiction index_ has subject access, but doesn't help in this case as it was only published from 1987-90. We have found 3 titles published in the 1950s on the Internet Speculative Fiction Database at sfsite.com, but otherwise SF sites on the web seem to focus only on later works. We thought surely the SF newsgroups would have talked about this, but a search of archives on Deja.com did not find any.

Does anyone know of any SF novels published between 1930-1969 which take place in 2000? Or know of any other sources which provide subject access to science fiction?

Other sources we've tried: OCLC; Fiction catalog; Reference guide to science fiction, fantasy & horror; Science fiction writers (Scribner series); Locus Magazine's index to science fiction; letter to Locus; call to a local SF bookstore.

Many, many thanks for any help,
Catherine Sylvia

The Bleilers have a companion volume (SCIENCE FICTION; THE GERNSBACK YEARS) which lists another dozen or so stories set in 2000, but again none of these would have been published after 1930. (THE GERNSBACK YEARS covers stories that appeared up through 1930 in sf speciality magazines; e.g. AMAZING, WONDER, and so on; THE EARLY YEARS covered stories in book form or in general magazines such as ARGOSY, HARPER'S, and so on.)

Even though you speak of novels, I'd think you'd want to note this thematic short story anthology:

The Year 2000 ed. Harry Harrison (Doubleday, 1970, hc)
" America the Beautiful " Fritz Leiber " ss *
" Prometheus Rebound " Daniel F. Galouye " nv *
" Far from This Earth " Chad Oliver " ss *
" After the Accident " Naomi Mitchison " ss *
" Utopian " Mack Reynolds " ss *
" Orgy of the Living and the Dying " Brian W. Aldiss " nv Moment of Eclipse, London: Faber & Faber, 1970
" Sea Change " A. Bertram Chandler " nv *
" Black Is Beautiful " Robert Silverberg " ss *
" Take It Or Leave It " David I. Masson " ss *
" The Lawgiver " Keith Laumer " ss *
" To Be a Man " J. J. Coupling " ss *
" Judas Fish " Thomas N. Scortia " ss *
" American Dead " Harry Harrison " ss *

As far as novels are concerned, the only post-1930 ones that a first round of brain cudgeling calls to mind are:

POINT ULTIMATE by Jerry Sohl (begins in 1999; don't recall if plot "carries over" into 2000 or not)
THE LIGHTS IN THE SKY ARE STARS by Fredric Brown (I believe the turn of the year from 1999 to 2000 is a big deal scene in this one)
THE STOCHASTIC MAN by Robert Silverberg (ditto, but this one was first published after 1969, so...)

Also, Mack Reynolds has several books set in 2000 per their titles (some in direct answer to Bellamy), which I imagine you've found; these again are post-1969.

One source that annotates a number of sf novels and *does* include date of plot/action is this:
\Survey of science fiction literature : five hundred 2,000-word essay reviews of world-famous science fiction novels with 2, 500 bibliographical references / edited by Frank N. Magill. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Salem Press, c1979. 5 v. (xxv, 2542, vii p.); 24 cm.

but there's no overall index by date, so one needs to thumb through all entries to compile a list. (Dates are given at the start, along with author, date of publication, type of work, and locale of plot.)

I have a very vague memory that I *may* have seen a list of stories set in 2000 in one or the other of the following:


Further, Hal Hall's bibliographies of criticism/secondary sources about sf (published in book form by Gale as SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY REFERENCE INDEX) are now available free on the web as a searchable database: try searching such terms as "2000" or "millenium" or "two thousand" etc. on the chance someone has already published such a list somewhere that Hall may have indexed:

If you have access to the cd-rom version of the Clute/Nicholls ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SCIENCE FICTION (I have only the book version), one could presumably search that for "2000" or "two thousand."

A half-remembered long shot: John Atkins' book TOMORROW REVEALED (1956) involves a future society which has inherited a number of sf books which it takes to be real history and tries to construct therefrom a consistent history of the past. I don't recall (it's been thirty years since I read it) if the characters assign actual dates to these "historical events" or not.



Catherine-- Back in September of 2000, you were looking for examples of sf novels set in the year 2000. I'm sure the need is long gone, but just in case you're curious, I recently had an offlist query from someone looking for sf involving New Year's scenes (most of which, not surprisingly, are also Y2K scenarios), and in course of digging around for her I found a couple of new examples plus a website from someone who had made a habit of reading sf set within a year of 2000. Thought you might be mildly interested, so, through the miracle of cut and paste...

Following are set in the last few weeks of 1999 (or of 2000) and the approaching millenial NY switchover is a big deal, but I don't know if they include actual New Year scenes or stop before they get there: ZEITGEIST by Bruce Sterling (embarassingly, I read this and still can't recall); SPACELAND by Rudy Rucker; GOOD NEWS FROM OUTER SPACE by John Kessel.

I see with a bit of googling that the animated sf TV show FUTURAMA involved someone who was frozen on a NYEve and thawed centuries later on a NYDay or somesuch; maybe there have been novelizations spun off from that show (which I've never seen...)?

and I also found a website of someone who made a project of reading and reviewing sf set at that time. The URL for that website is

The Millenial Reviews site whose URL I gave a couple years back has changed;
it's now at http://www.cloggie.org/esseff/millennial-reviews.html
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