Book Review of Joe Haldeman’s “The Accidental Time Machine”

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Cover art for Joe Haldeman’s “The Accidental Time Machine”

In going through my “Facebook memories” the other day, I found I’d posted a full review of Joe Haldeman’s 2008 SciFi novel The Accidental Time Machine way back in 2009. Haldeman is a highly acclaimed, award winning author, but while I enjoyed his earlier works some decades previously, this one made me decide to never read Haldeman again. Like so many other “science fiction luminaries,” not only do they disdain almost all people of faith, but in this case actively mock them. Read my views from thirteen years ago for more.

Surprise. I normally review books on actual and not fictional technology, but I came across the hardcopy version of this book at my local library and, having not read a Haldeman novel in a couple of decades, decided to revisit science fiction as one might revisit an old girlfriend. I wanted to see how much my interest in the genre and specifically Haldeman’s writing, had held up over time. I’m also kind of a sucker for time travel stories.

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A Small Commentary on Politics, Religion, and Science Fiction

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What discussing religion online is like sometimes

The other day I came across a “rant” written last year by Arthur Chu at Salon.com called Sci-fi’s right-wing backlash: Never doubt that a small group of deranged trolls can ruin anything (even the Hugo Awards) which caused me to think (well, I think anyway, but this article initiated a specific set of thoughts).

While I can see how the Hugo awards may not generally represent the entire body of science fiction readers in the world (and I suspect many or most awards are manipulated one way or the other), if I’m reading Chu correctly, he seems to think that all science fiction (and maybe all products of the entire entertainment industry) should and must represent a socially and politically liberal world view.

If that’s true, then my response is “why?”.

Here’s the most relevant statement Chu made:

I will point out that if you look at the Hugo Awards’ slate for this year you’ll see a record-breaking six nominations for John C. Wright, including three out of five of the best novella nominations being stories written by Wright.

Wright, a man so essential to the state of science fiction in 2015 that he doesn’t have a single bestseller, he’s signed with a micro-publisher based in Finland with a total of eight authors on its roster, and I’m the only person I know in real life who’s heard of him. Mainly because I hate-follow his incredible rants about how everything from the Syfy Network to “The Legend of Korra” is too gay for him to tolerate.

I’ve never met Wright. I’ve never even exchanged emails with him. I think I left a comment on one of his blog posts once, but he never responded.

The impression I get from reading or watching most fiction is that the creators of these works seem to have the idea that their version of the world, which espouses a progressive ideology, represents the world as it really is (or should be).

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