Saturday, May 31, 2014

Johnny-Depp-in-Lone-Ranger Cosplay: What could possibly go wrong?

Commenting at a better blog, à propos the Laffer-curve cargo cult, Aimai wrote:
But if you were to put it into a science fiction novel the story of a society or a civilization in which the novels of Ayn Rand and something scribbled on a cocktail napkin became the basis of a new religion/economic belief system you would be laughed out of the editors meeting.
Mack Reynold's SF novelette "Coup" is set on a  planet where the crashlanded colonists lost most of their written heritage, forcing them to cobble together an eclectic tribal culture from the only two sources left to them... the Lays of Walter Scott,and Lewis Morgan's Ancient Society. The resulting melange of tartan and tomahawks, caciques and claidheamh-mòrs, is finally rediscovered by trading ships. Hilarity ensues.

The story and its two sequel novelettes were loosely bolted together into a fix-up novel.

This backstory of cultural deprivation and textual misprision was an amusing conceit in the late 60s. Not so funny when it inspired a tribe of yahoos to limit themselves to a few chapters of a single book as the base of their arts, science and worldview -- a book compiled by Middle-Eastern Bronze-Age sheepshaggers -- and then to take over US politics.

9 comments:

M. Bouffant said...

Okey-doke, which two of the "four" books mentioned on the Ace cover did you decide to remove from the canon?

Smut Clyde said...

The third book was FitzGerald's translation of the Rubaiyat, and the fourth was avolume of human genetics, the details of which escape me right now.

Yastreblyansky said...

Aimai's just too young and doesn't realize they didn't have editors' meetings back then. Or, in SF, editors, I believe, knowing it will be fun to be corrected if I'm wrong. I must say though that it ill behooves someone of your nationality to accuse the ancient Hebrews of being sheepshaggers when you know what Leviticus called an Abomination is known in the South Island as a Pavlova.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

This backstory of cultural deprivation and textual misprision was an amusing conceit in the late 60s.

Needs more jinxmen.

Another Kiwi said...

Yastreblyansky. Pavlova, Sir! Pavlova? It is the sacred bond between shepherd and flock more correctly known as "Khyber Passing it", to which I think you refer.

Yastreblyansky said...

AK. I suppose ewe know best.

Smut Clyde said...

Hey MacLeod, get offa my ewe!

Smut Clyde said...

Mr Yastreblyansky deserves some commendation for correctly referring to "the South Island" [a.k.a. the Mainland], which less astute writers -- in particular, one Mr Heinlein -- describe simply as "South Island", forfeiting all credibility in the process.

it ill behooves
I see what you do there.

Pupienus Maximus said...

To be clear, those sheepshaggers were stuck in the bronze age while the real world moved on to iron.

Judges 1:19 And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.