Roger Luckhurst

Oct 10, 20:11 by IROSF
Thread for the discussion of Roger Luckhurst, or Ryder W. Miller's review.

The article is here.
Oct 11, 11:50 by David Bratman
The review alludes to what seems to me the most serious problem in trying to stuff SF's history into neat decade-shaped packages: the oversimplification and sheer omission required to do so, as well as the neglect of the fact that trends are more long-term than that. Luckhurst can say that 80s SF is a counter-reaction to the New Right, but it would be just as easy to write a history of SF pointing to the wave of military SF of that period as an embodiment of the New Right. I believe it's even been done. And within the SF community, cyberpunk was not so much a counter to the New Right as it was to humanist SF, which was essentially left-liberal in orientation and thus a lot more clearly opposed to the New Right than cyberpunk, which insofar as it was political at all (which it often wasn't) was vaguely libertarian.

I query a few of the review's statements, though they may be Luckhurst's POV:

Luckhurst writes of England as “allergic to scientific modernity,” with its pre-atomic famous Luddite fantasies from the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien, Mervyn Peake, and C.S. Lewis.

The allergy is more clearly shown by the long tradition of English SF disaster novels. Lewis wrote one (count it) anti-"scientific modernity" polemic, but otherwise the writings of those three are no more evidence than any number of agrarian mainstream works that appeared in America as well as England. They're not Luddite (Luddism was an economic movement; the passages in Tolkien taken as Luddite are actually conservationist; and there's nothing whatever like that in Peake), and they're not "pre-atomic," whatever that might mean.

the 1970s, which come between the distinction of the ’60s and ’80s

No kidding, really?
Oct 11, 12:46 by Bluejack
Hey dbratman... you seem pretty smart; pretty well informed; ... maybe you should be writing for us!

the 1970s, which come between the distinction of the ’60s and ’80s

No kidding, really?

Lol. Well, not every phrase can be scintillatingly challenging.
Oct 12, 14:40 by Ryder W. Miller
In a general sense these works which sought a re-connection with the "pre-industrial" world and a connection with the natural world, rather than the technologically developed world of the future, can be considered luddist in the general sense, which has a broader definition than you presently understand. Part of the appeal of such work is an escape from industrialization whether it be Isengard, Mordor or sceintific forces that haunt C.S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength.

The cultural period that some consider the 1960's lasted beyond 1969 actually into the early 1970's as argued in the text. One could say that the 1970's was scrunched between the 1960's and 1980's which were clearly more easy to define or categorize.

By "pre-atomic" one can mean the period, the ideas conceived or in the spirit of before the use of the atomic bombs which changed a lot of things.
Oct 13, 08:59 by David Bratman
The term "Luddism" is indeed often used very broadly. So is the term "fascism." That does not mean it is useful or meaningful to do so. Employing the term so loosely robs any distinction among motives. Also, to call something "Luddite" is to convey implicit hostility towards it. That is how the word is actually used. If that's not what you mean, don't use it.

Similarly, "the spirit of" pre-atomic-bombs (and why not say pre-atomic-bombs instead of "pre-atomic" if you don't mean before atoms?) is a remarkably loose concept. Any spirit existing after 1945 is by definition a spirit of the post-1945 period. Whether it is typical of or appropriate to either pre-1945 or post-1945 is a purely subjective opinion which can easily lead to dogmatic assertions about what people should and should not be thinking.

The dogged argument in the second paragraph of the previous post suggests a lack of apprehension of the source of my amusement at the original quote: its revelation that the 1970s came between the 1960s and 1980s.
Nov 6, 14:09 by Ryder W. Miller
There are those who use the world Luddism to acknowledge a common distate towards "technological progress", and a concern for the natural world. I did not mean Luddist in a bad way. Not all consider it in a bad way, kind of like the word liberal which does not mean bad things to lefties.

The author of the book found the science fiction of the 1970's harder to categorize than that of the 1960's or 1980's.

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