Progressives are asserting a need to control Futurism to bring correct feminist and progressive thought into it.
My opinion: a study recently showed women go into scientific fields in roughly the proportion you’d expect, if you first take out everyone who didn’t study much qualifying mathematics. I expect there is a natural aggregate difference in how interested each sex is in planning for the future, preparing for hazards, etc., with men vigilant while women tend to be more focused on immediate needs and alleviating suffering — the Mommy vs Daddy differences. And so you would expect futurists to skew male simply because they are interested (sometimes obsessed) by the topic.
None of this means there aren’t women who are interested and good at futurism (e.g., Virginia Postrel.) But an effort to force more women into futurism means less good futurism and more feelz as guides to policy and planning. Which means a less dynamic future for everyone.
Rose Eveleth (of “Shirtstorm” fame) has an article in the Atlantic: “Why Aren’t There More Women Futurists?”
There are all sorts of firms and companies working to build robotic servants. Chrome butlers, chefs, and housekeepers. But the fantasy of having an indentured servant is a peculiar one to some. “That whole idea of creating robots that are in service to us has always bothered me,” says Nnedi Okorafor, a science fiction author. “I’ve always sided with the robots. That whole idea of creating these creatures that are human-like and then have them be in servitude to us, that is not my fantasy and I find it highly problematic that it would be anyone’s.”
Or take longevity, for example. The idea that people could, or even should, push to lengthen lifespans as far as possible is popular. The life-extension movement, with Aubrey de Gray as one (very bearded) spokesman, has raised millions of dollars to investigate how to extend the lifespan of humans. But this is arguably only an ideal future if you’re in as a comfortable position as his. “Living forever only works if you’re a rich vampire from an Anne Rice novel, which is to say that you have compound interest,” jokes Ashby. “It really only works if you have significant real-estate investments and fast money and slow money.” (Time travel, as the comedian Louis C.K. has pointed out, is another thing that is a distinctly white male preoccupation—going back in time, for marginalized groups, means giving up more of their rights.)
So, let’s see — she thinks we need to keep human beings indentured to jobs taking care of the helpless old, for example, rather than have robotic assistants. Of course in her mind it’s the obligation of some government to pay all those human assistants, as much as necessary to eliminate all suffering and pain. Robotic assistants are simply Not Needed in the social welfare world of the future, where we can all help each other 24×7 and someone else provides all our needs.
It’s also, apparently, desirable that we all die sooner than necessary. We should return to the golden past, where life was short and disease and hunger stalked almost everyone. 25 is old enough!
Of course it’s harder to predict what social attitudes will be in the future — and many futurists fail to imagine what’s to come on that area, while more easily projecting trends in technology. But that doesn’t mean an infusion of women will make such predictions any better.
Science fiction has become more pessimistic about the future, and people like this are a big reason:
In order to understand what those who have never really felt welcome in the field of futurism think, I called someone who writes and talks about the future, but who doesn’t call themselves a futurist: Monica Byrne. Byrne is a science-fiction author and opinion writer who often tackles questions of how we see the future, and what kinds of futures we deem preferable. But when she thinks about “futurism” as a field, she doesn’t see herself. “I think the term futurist is itself is something I see white men claiming for themselves, and isn’t something that would occur to me to call myself even though I functionally am one,” she says.
Okorafor says that she too has never really called herself a futurist, even though much of what she does is use her writing to explore what’s possible. “When you sent me your email and you mentioned futurism I think that’s really the first time I started thinking about that label for myself. And it fits. It feels comfortable.”
When Byrne thinks about the term futurists, she thinks about a power struggle. “What I see is a bid for control over what the future will look like. And it is a future that is, that to me doesn’t look much different from Asimov science fiction covers. Which is not a future I’m interested in.”
The futurism that involves glass houses and 400-year-old men doesn’t interest her. “When I think about the kind of future I want to build, it’s very soft and human, it’s very erotic, and I feel like so much of what I identify as futurism is very glossy, chrome painted science fiction covers, they’re sterile.” She laughs. “Who cares about your jetpack? How does technology enable us to keep loving each other?”
And how does not having technology help us love each other? Fights to the death for food and resources are what love is all about! Kill off a few billion people, return to warm and loving matriarchal villages, and enjoy true humanity… there’s no reason we can’t have both higher tech, longer lifespans, and love, Ma’am. It’s only the current ease of life due to technology and specialization that allows you to believe such ridiculous things.
Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations
[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations, available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]
Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”
Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.
For more on SJWs, modern feminism, Red Pill men, and family law:
Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Life Is Unfair! The Militant Red Pill Movement
Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene
“Divorce in America: Who Really Wants Out and Why”
View Marriage as a Private Contract?
Madmen, Red Pill, and Social Justice Wars
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Stable is Boring? “Psychology Today” Article on Bad Boyfriends
Ross Douthat on Unstable Families and Culture
Ev Psych: Parental Preferences in Partners
Purge: the Feminist Grievance Bubble
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
Modern Feminism: Victim-Based Special Pleading
Stereotype Inaccuracy: False Dichotomies
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
Red Pill Women — Female MRAs
Why Did Black Crime Syndicates Fail to Go Legit?
The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive
Feminism’s Heritage: Freedom vs. Special Protections
Evolve or Die: Survival Value of the Feminine Imperative
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Divorce and Alimony: State-By-State Reform, Massachusetts Edition
Reading “50 Shades of Grey” Gives You Anorexia and an Abusive Partner!
Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)
Gaming and Science Fiction: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again
Social Justice Warriors: #GamerGate Explained
Emma Watson’s Message: Intelligence Trumps Sex
[An interview prepared for Jet Weasley’s book blog, The Book Detective.]
Q: How did you come up with the idea of the Red Queen Effect?
There’s an excellent book on the evolutionary psychology of sex, The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley, which explores the “Red Queen Effect” in human evolution of sex differences and behaviors. The effect is widespread and occurs whenever you have an evolutionary arms race, and by analogy can be seen in, say, the Cold War between the US and the old Soviet Union. The effect is named for the Red Queen from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, who led Alice on a running race which kep tthem in the same place.
Q: What made you decide to set the story in future American instead of America of present?
All the political repression visible now is exaggerated in the near-future world of Red Queen, which allowed me to draw the dramatic differences in bolder strokes. People are used to the system we have now and it would be harder to present it as something so bad a rebellion would be justified unless it gets a few degrees worse. Many of my readers are barely aware virtually everything I write about is already happening in academia and surveillance by the state.
Q: Now, as many readers have stated, your book is full of scientific fact and diction. How did you manage to research all of this and incorporate it into your book?
My background is very similar to the main characters’, and I worked on computer science research under DARPA contracts when I was about their age. The science and engineering are also relatively easy for me since I studied physics and computer science at MIT. I did have to do some research to get up-to-date on quantum computing, but I was already familiar with most of the science in the book.
Q: For me this would have been the most difficult part of writing such a story; how did you manage to make the ideas so realistic? Could the Red Queen Effect actually happen?
I was striving for realism. The breakthrough that enables quantum gateways is fiction, but the working out of the details and the engineering follows logically from that, and the behavior of the characters is more true to the reactions of believable intelligent grad students than your typical thriller characters. This means it may be less accessible as a story than standard thrillers featuring spies and military types, but there are plenty of those. I wanted this to be different. And the Red Queen Effect is very common in any competitive evolutionary scenario.
Q: If you were in Justin’s position, would you go about things the way he did in this book or would you react/act differently?
Justin is a fictional character, so I suspect he suffers far less self-doubt, laziness, or conflict-avoidance than any real person. I certainly would not have accomplished as much when I was his age than he does in the book. But like his scientific genius friend Steve, he’s much faster than most real people so the plot can move along at a good pace. It would not be interesting if he took some time off in the middle of the plot to practice his video game skills….
Q: What inspired you to start writing Science Fiction?
I’ve been reading it since I was 7! For people with a problem-solving, engineering bent, the working out of future science is another exciting part of the story, as they follow the logic while reading. Science fiction can be very educational, and one of my goals was to demonstrate some interesting corners of physics and computer science for those who might want to pursue it as a career.
Q And finally, will you be working on any novels that are separate to the Substrate Wars in the near future?
I just finished the second book in the Substrate Wars series, Nemo’s World. There are two more to follow, most likely, and then I have an idea for a comic murder mystery set in the artsy-Hollywood community of Palm Springs, where I now live. This would be fun and let me satirize some obvious targets for everyone’s amusement.
[An interview prepared for Serenity Sheild’s book blog]
When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer?
I wrote terrible stories in grade school, journaled in high school, and took writing courses at MIT and Harvard. When I left MIT, I was interested in trying to write and spent time with a writer’s group, one of whom is now a bestselling author – Sue Miller, of The Good Mother and other novels. But I was not good enough to break in at that time (I was 22!) so I went on to careers in computer science and business. I’ve returned to writing after early retirement.
Is being an Author all you dreamed of, or did it just happen? The best and worst thing about it?
If you’re going to write novels, you’re going to be isolated a lot; you can’t be task-switching every ten minutes and hanging out with friends every night. So you spend long hours in your head and interruptions are resented. The best thing, I suppose, is that you get to single-handedly create—no one can stop you, no one (except possibly an editor!) is going to derail the flow of what you and your characters have to say.
What was the very first thing you ever wrote?
Hah! Probably a two-page science fiction story about a boy going into a cave and discovering aliens at the center of the Earth. I knew it was bad even at the time!
What made you create (your book)? How did it come to you?
I had done well with two books about attachment theory and relationships: Bad Boyfriends: Using Attachment Theory to Avoid Mr. (or Ms.) Wrong and Make You a Better Partner and Avoidant: How to Love (or Leave) a Dismissive Partner. I had not tried to write long-form fiction in 20+ years, but a long discussion online with a group of science fiction writers and fans convinced me to take up the challenge of writing a story about and for younger people which had some of the technological optimism of old-school science fiction, blended with the diversity and sensibility of today. Part of the problem with YA fiction is the depressive tone taken by many authors, as if every story should focus on Major Issues like global warming and environmental catastrophe. A breakthrough like Hunger Games happened because publishers saw it was a story with a strong young woman as hero — which is true and a big part of its appeal. But it became a phenomenon because it is also a story about today’s politics, with the elite urban disdain for rural and lower-class people and the oppressive micromanagement of an ever-increasing and manipulative government. I wanted to more directly address the same urge for freedom.
Who is your literary hero?
Hmm, I don’t have just one. But I grew up reading Robert Heinlein’s juveniles, so-called because they were designed to be relatively simple and feature young people growing into adulthood and doing great things. When he wrote more complex and adult stories, his publisher refused them – starting with Starship Troopers, still considered a classic. In later years as he became too commercially successful to be told what to do by editors, he got self-indulgent and his work was less focused.
Evan Connell is another master of literary fiction whose work is less known than it should be. Mr. Bridge and Mrs. Bridge are perfect, lapidary novels capturing a husband and wife in Kansas City in the 1930s and 40s. Heartbreaking portraits composed of a series of small scenes, each one adding a tiny bit to your understanding until you are overcome by the power of it — and all without major drama. Restrained, refined, repressed. Two of the top ten American novels.
How much of your characters are based on your traits or someone you know personally?
None directly. There are fragments of my own background and personality mixed up with other people I have known, but once set they tend to take on a life of their own beyond those starting ingredients.
Describe your main character in six words.
Grad student waiting for a challenge.
Describe the world you’ve created in six words.
Soft fascist thought control state, overturned.
What scene was your favorite to write?
The fictional version of an incident where a professor put up a “Firefly” poster and was cited by campus authorities for creating a threatening environment. Which actually happened. I enjoyed gently mocking Star Trek and Firefly.
What scene was the hardest for you to write?
One must have villains, and one of mine is the boyfriend of my main female character, Samantha. He’s a narcissistic, rich schmuck, and in the scene where she breaks up with him in a restaurant, he is abusive. It was intense to write feeling how she must be feeling.
What are you working on now?
The next book in the series. Our rebels take on the governments of the world and bring peace, harmony, and plenty to all. No, really! Until the next book, anyway.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not writing?
I work out every day at a gym, lifting weights and doing cardio. I really enjoy that and come up with some great ideas while on the Stairmaster.