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Ken Macleod - worth reading??

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  • Ken Macleod - worth reading??

    I picked up Cosmonaut Keep on Saturday from the library.

    Anybody read this author? opinions people?

  • #2
    I haven't got around to reading this guy yet, but I'd like to hear what you think of him. I understand he is a very political writer with a Marxist background, although he is also interested in other ideologies such as free-market anarchism and tries to explore these through his writing. Could be interesting.
    \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

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    • #3
      I confess I got about 50 pages into Cosmonaut Keep and gave up.

      I dunno, it just seemed a bit twee to be honest, he's probably very good, but I always make instinctive judgements (I just haven't the time to waste on less-than-satisfying sci fi) and I felt I wasn't going to enjoy it.

      I'm probably missing out, but there we go.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by TheAdlerian
        Sometimes he is good and sometimes he is not. He is so political that it is almost silly. Several of his books have characters that are all politically interested set in worlds that are super factionized. It’s as if everyone is totally into politics while they are having an adventure. Personally, it seems that one person out of ten is even mildly interested in politics.
        There have been points in history where politics have intruded into life to such an extent - I think of the Russian Revolution or the Spanish Civil War for instance. However, I know Trotskyists who have been arguing we are on the verge of revolution for the past forty years or so. It is like a religious cult. They make foolish political decisions as they have entirely lost the ability to gauge how the average person thinks. If Ian Macleod has been moving in these circles (as I suspect he has), then this is what is reflected in his books. Saying that, I still think I might enjoy them. For some reason, dialectical nitpicking intrigues me.
        \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mikey_C
          For some reason, dialectical nitpicking intrigues me.
          I'm with you. Hegel and Marx always made me consider things differently than nearly anyone else I read. In sociology we also have a long history with dialectics. If you're interested, Simmel, Weber, and Mead also have pretty accessible dialectical reasoning in their works.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Mikey_C
            There have been points in history where politics have intruded into life to such an extent - I think of the Russian Revolution or the Spanish Civil War for instance.
            In The Snows of Kilimanjaro (is that its title?), Hemingway writes about this street in Paris where you never had to explain class politics to anyone, because everyone knew who had been shooting at their parents during the Commune.

            Personally I'm always surprised when people say that they're not interested in politics. Politics affect your life and almost every decision you ever make is in some way a political decision. If you're interested in your life, you're interested in politics!

            I'm not judging anyone, though. It's more than understandable if the average person can't muster the energy needed to engage in questions that seem remote to their everyday life or obscure in some way. Unfortunately, some professional politicians make politics seem like something remote and obscure.

            Originally posted by Mikey_C
            However, I know Trotskyists who have been arguing we are on the verge of revolution for the past forty years or so. It is like a religious cult. They make foolish political decisions as they have entirely lost the ability to gauge how the average person thinks. If Ian Macleod has been moving in these circles (as I suspect he has), then this is what is reflected in his books. Saying that, I still think I might enjoy them. For some reason, dialectical nitpicking intrigues me.
            A pretty amusing (in my twisted opinion, that is) document about MacLeod's political background can be found here:

            http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/persp/persp010.pdf

            He's also got a blog.

            A chilling qoute from his last entry: "Just as Blair learned from Clinton, the Tories are learning from Bush."
            You can't spell "politically correct" without "correct".

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Rymdolov
              Personally I'm always surprised when people say that they're not interested in politics. Politics affect your life and almost every decision you ever make is in some way a political decision. If you're interested in your life, you're interested in politics!
              Yep - if you're not interested in politics, politics is interested you. Personally I go through spells of hating politics, but can't leave it alone for long. Not that it gets me anywhere! I guess people are put off because they realise at a certain level that they're disempowered.

              I get this thing sometimes when I hear the politicians jabbering away on Radio 4 and I think "All this, just so we can put a cross in a box every five years". Because that really is what it boils down to for most people. I guess I can have a bit more influence as a union activist, because I might be able to influence some vote at conference, which might be followed by the leadership, who might be able to influence the government in some way - but it's all pretty indirect.

              And then we have the media, which always seem to want to manipulate people through fear of some kind. It's all pretty grim; I'm not surprised people would rather think about shopping. I suppose, like Macleod, what keeps me going is that I also find politics interesting as a kind of abstract mental exercise. But you can't expect that to appeal to everyone - there's an understandable tendency to bracket us with the trainspotters. (Not that there's anything wrong with trainspotting - good, healthy pastime! )
              \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Mikey_C
                I suppose, like Macleod, what keeps me going is that I also find politics interesting as a kind of abstract mental exercise.
                It's a bit like that for me, too. Perhaps too much; I theorize more than I act. That's a sure sign that I'm relatively privileged, I guess. Really poor people often can't afford not to be an activist. :(
                You can't spell "politically correct" without "correct".

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