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Old 06-21-2010, 03:49 PM   #1
HarryT
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Thumbs down What on EARTH are Baen playing at?

I buy every edition of Baen's "Webscription" release, and have done every since they started. I don't always enjoy every book, but at least I know that they're going to be SF or Fantasy, which I'm likely to enjoy.

So I look at this month's webscription release, and what do I see:

Taxpayers' Tea Party
A Manual for Reclaiming Our Country

What the heck? This appears to be some right-wing political clap-trap. I suppose it could loosely be categorised as "Fantasy", but it's really not what I want to see in my beloved Webscription release. I do hope that Baen aren't going to start publishing political manifestos like this on a regular basis .

Very disappointing.
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:59 PM   #2
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Seems a giant mistake, since Baen is supposed to deal exclusively in SF and Fantasy.

Funny, though, as on the book's page it says
Quote:
This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental.
But it's a totally nonfiction book... I think it's a mistake, and a sad, sad one.
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:05 PM   #3
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BAEN has thrown in non-fiction at least once before.
(Hank Reinhardt's Book of Swords; a nice read, BTW.)

They have also dabbled in MP3 audiobooks.

What are they doing? Experimenting.
It's what smart market leaders do, they look for new opportunities.
Some pan out, some don't.
In this case the authors are part of their "circle" so they gave it a shot.
Don't see much of an issue, myself.

Or, just in case: are you objecting to the *subject* of their non-fiction rather than their dabbling in non-fiction? Just checking.
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
I buy every edition of Baen's "Webscription" release, and have done every since they started. I don't always enjoy every book, but at least I know that they're going to be SF or Fantasy, which I'm likely to enjoy.

So I look at this month's webscription release, and what do I see:

Taxpayers' Tea Party
A Manual for Reclaiming Our Country

What the heck? This appears to be some right-wing political clap-trap. I suppose it could loosely be categorised as "Fantasy", but it's really not what I want to see in my beloved Webscription release. I do hope that Baen aren't going to start publishing political manifestos like this on a regular basis .

Very disappointing.
I'm afraid Baen are showing the right-wing bias of some of their authors. I'd advise going for the alternative July 2010 webscription that is only $12 and doesn't include that book:

http://www.webscription.net/p-1224-w...scription.aspx

I don't think they're likely to be including such books on any kind of regular basis.
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:10 PM   #5
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Book of Swords fits much more with a fantasy book group than this. When you're paying for fantasy and sci-fi, the issue is when you get something that isn't fantasy, sci-fi, or even close.

It wouldn't matter if it was a liberal's book, it's still completely irrelevant and off-topic.
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
Or, just in case: are you objecting to the *subject* of their non-fiction rather than their dabbling in non-fiction? Just checking.
No, not at all; just the fact that it's not SF/Fantasy.
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
I'm afraid Baen are showing the right-wing bias of some of their authors. I'd advise going for the alternative July 2010 webscription that is only $12 and doesn't include that book:

http://www.webscription.net/p-1224-w...scription.aspx

I don't think they're likely to be including such books on any kind of regular basis.
Thanks - I'll definitely buy that one instead. Where did you get the link from? I can't see any mention of the alternative on the Webscription site itself.
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Thanks - I'll definitely buy that one instead. Where did you get the link from? I can't see any mention of the alternative on the Webscription site itself.
Search for July 2010 at webscriptions.net. I first saw it mentioned on the Baen's Bar forums.
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:30 PM   #9
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I like the code they've used for it: "W201007PC", rather than the normal "W201007" .
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Old 06-21-2010, 06:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
I'm afraid Baen are showing the right-wing bias of some of their authors. I'd advise going for the alternative July 2010 webscription that is only $12 and doesn't include that book:

http://www.webscription.net/p-1224-w...scription.aspx

I don't think they're likely to be including such books on any kind of regular basis.
I'm a right-ish kind of guy, so their political persuasion doesn't alarm me any. (but it wouldn't bother me even if they were outright communists, as long their books are well written) I do notice though that Science fiction authors tend to be more conservative politically than not. I wonder why that is.

I have to laugh at the political transformation between Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" and that abominable movie! Why make the movie if you are going to change the whole point? You don't need a plot or ideas to show tits and monsters.
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Old 06-21-2010, 07:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlenBarrington View Post
I'm a right-ish kind of guy, so their political persuasion doesn't alarm me any. (but it wouldn't bother me even if they were outright communists, as long their books are well written) I do notice though that Science fiction authors tend to be more conservative politically than not. I wonder why that is.

I have to laugh at the political transformation between Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" and that abominable movie! Why make the movie if you are going to change the whole point? You don't need a plot or ideas to show tits and monsters.
There a quite a few interviews with Paul Verhoeven, the director of Starship Troopers, where he explains that at least one motivation of his was to rub away the veneer of the Heinlein book and show the pro-fascist ideology that lay beneath the novel (deference to power, unquestioning patriotism and the like). Whilst doing this he also wanted to bring in the audience with lots of violence, gratutitous nudity and fast action so that by the end you were cheering for exactly the wrong side. It was, in a roundabout way, a statement on how easy it is to fall into the mindset of the fascist. It's understandable when you learn that Verheoven was a child during the occupation of Holland.

In any case, I believe you're right about the right-leaning aspects of science fiction. It's one of the reasons I stopped reading the genre early on. It's altogether baffling that fiction about what might be possible leans toward ideologies that are most resistent to change.

Last edited by Moejoe; 06-21-2010 at 07:37 PM.
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Old 06-21-2010, 08:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moejoe View Post
There a quite a few interviews with Paul Verhoeven, the director of Starship Troopers, where he explains that at least one motivation of his was to rub away the veneer of the Heinlein book and show the pro-fascist ideology that lay beneath the novel (deference to power, unquestioning patriotism and the like). Whilst doing this he also wanted to bring in the audience with lots of violence, gratutitous nudity and fast action so that by the end you were cheering for exactly the wrong side. It was, in a roundabout way, a statement on how easy it is to fall into the mindset of the fascist. It's understandable when you learn that Verheoven was a child during the occupation of Holland. . .
I think that's a lot of hooey on his part; an after the fact rationalization trying to explain a bad movie. There was nothing remotely fascist about the film aside from Doogie Howser's uniform. No one could have gotten that from the plot line. The bugs were fascists themselves (or possibly communists - certainly they were an authoritarian group with very centralized planning) for crying out loud, and bent on eating all humans. Kind of hard to muster support for the bugs in any situation. If that was his plan, he failed miserably.

I would also disagree with the inherently fascist assessment of Heinlein's book. Heinlein is closer to Ayn Rand than Hitler. Both Ayn and Bob have contempt with the great mass of humanity becasue they just don't TRY hard enough or care enough, but that isn't inherently fascist. (though to be fair, the great mass of humanity han't particularly distinguished itself in this area)
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:01 PM   #13
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Yeah, they're Tea Partiers. But they're DRM-free Tea Partiers.

Quote:
There a quite a few interviews with Paul Verhoeven, the director of Starship Troopers, where he explains that at least one motivation of his was to rub away the veneer of the Heinlein book and show the pro-fascist ideology that lay beneath the novel (deference to power, unquestioning patriotism and the like).
Except, among other things, one of the themes of the book informed, not unquestioning, patriotism. That's the point of the History & Moral Philosophy class that forms an important part of the story: understanding the foundations of the society and its beliefs -- that is, being a citizen, not just a blind follower. Which is something people on all sides of the political spectrum need to start doing before we dig ourselves in any deeper than we already are. And that goes for every citizen of every country.

For that matter, deference to power is no more fascist than it is communist, or a lot of other -ists. It's not just human nature, it's nature, period. We just rationalize it more, instead of the rest of the animal kingdom's uncomplicated understanding of "if the big guy doesn't like what I'm doing, he's gonna bite me," but it's the same thing. We're primates that rationalize excuses for our instinctive behavior.

Quote:
It was, in a roundabout way, a statement on how easy it is to fall into the mindset of the fascist.
Very, very, very roundabout. So roundabout it missed the point entirely and went whirling off into cloud-cuckoospace.

And the humans are "the wrong side"? Might I point out who started the war? Even with Verhoeven's best efforts to turn the humans into the bad guys -- making Sergeant Zim a gratuitous sadist, for instance, and the whole business with the SS uniforms -- they're still the people trying to fend off an invasion by an enemy intent on eradicating the entire human race.

But in any event, it wasn't Starship Troopers. All political content aside, the Starship Troopers M.I. are one-man doomsday machines in powersuits ... not cannon fodder in T-shirts who apparently have no long-range weapons, no grenades, no air support, no artillery, and no tactics aside from suicidal human wave attacks. The Bugs were a technologically-advanced species with starships, not intergalactic FTL farts! You might agree or disagree with the themes of the book, but at least it wasn't mind-numbingly stupid. Verhoeven lost any chance he had to convince me that the book wasn't what I thought it was when he decided he could disregard anything from the book -- or from science -- that didn't fit his worldview and replace it with something that did.

Seriously, intergalactic bug farts?
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:08 PM   #14
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One of their experiments, I guess. To err is human.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:14 PM   #15
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I am amused at the idea of a Tea Party book being sold by an F&SF publisher. I have no problem thinking of their politics as speculative fiction, but I hadn't thought they'd be happy to be categorized that way.

(I sometimes wonder how I came out on the far-freak side of liberal, given how many conservative authors had an influence on me.)
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