Sadly, it made sense after all
Posted by aogFriday, 03 February 2006 at 10:56 TrackBack Ping URL

I have read quite a bit of the Xeelee Sequence. Overall I liked it, but one thing that did bother me was the war between humanity and the Xeelee. The root of this war was that the Xeelee were the hyper power of the Universe and humanity simply could not abide that. The humans attacked the Xeelee over and over, even while the Xeelee fought against a greater enemy that threatened humanity even more than it threatened the Xeelee. I wondered, could Baxter (the author) really think that humans would be so petty and self destructive?

But now I think he modeled the whole thing on the anti-Americanism. It just struck me today as I was reading various lefty moonbat comments how such rage against the leading world power is simply part of human nature. It certainly makes the undying emnity between humanity and the Xeelee seem much more plausible.

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cjm Friday, 03 February 2006 at 13:08

it all comes down to biology; underneath it all humans are still mammals and as such will always strike out at that which causes fear. all of the leftist and islamic groups stirring up things now are in a state of near panic, as they see their grip on power slipping away for good.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 03 February 2006 at 19:22

Yes, I was delusionally hopeful that socialization could over come some of that, since it is so counter productive.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 03 February 2006 at 19:26

Oh, and the one big thing I didn’t like about the Xeelee Sequence? What’s the power source for the dark matter beings? No wonder they beat the Xeelee, if they are not bound by the conservation of energy. Plus, one is left wondering why the reality to which the Xeelee escape doesn’t have the same probem. I suppose they can just spend their time building new Rings (gotta have something to do to fill up those 20 billion years).

cjm Monday, 06 February 2006 at 22:14

ahhhh so this is related to Ring World. i will seek out a copy and read it.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 07 February 2006 at 09:36

No, actually, it’s not related to Ring World (the Niven cycle) at all. The “Ring” in the cycle is a somewhat grander scale construct.

cjm Tuesday, 07 February 2006 at 15:56

i will read it anyway :)

cjm Wednesday, 08 February 2006 at 18:00

i went out to amazon and things were just confusing enough that i wasn’t certain where to start, in the available baxter titles. which book do you think is the best one to start the series with ?

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 08 February 2006 at 19:24

If you are interested in the cycle, I would start with Vacuum Diagrams. It is a collection of short stories. If you like those, I would move on to “Ring” and then other books in the cycle. If you don’t like “Vacuum Diagrams” I guarantee you won’t like the rest of the cycle.

Beanabus Tuesday, 30 May 2006 at 06:43

“But now I think he modeled the whole thing on the anti-Americanism. It just struck me today as I was reading various lefty moonbat comments how such rage against the leading world power is simply part of human nature. It certainly makes the undying emnity between humanity and the Xeelee seem much more plausible.”

Giggle. The irony is Baxter is quite left wing himself. But I do agree that unthinking anti-Americanism (depends on your defintion of what that is BTW) is as rife as any other form of unthinking tribalism. Intelligent and constructive criticism of America usually follows from an understanding of America, which most in Britain don’t have. We tend to view America as a bigger version of the UK, which it certainly is not.

I loved Niven as a kid, and loved Baxter for much the same reason. However Baxter is a pessimist, and has a very UK sensibility. Think Niven’s style and scope mixed with a hefty wodge of Stapledon and Wells, and topped off with a late ‘60s entropy sensibility, and your there. A lot of American hard SF fans find Baxter depressing, while I find most American hard SF laughably triumphalist. Still I’m a Brit.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 31 May 2006 at 22:41

The definition of anti-Americanism here is viewing some act as wrong because it’s done by Americans. Just complaining about America doesn’t count, you have to praise / excuse some other group doing more of the same thing. A current example is complaining about American war crimes in Iraq while simultaneously praising the Iraqi “resistance”.

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