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How many people in China does Paolo Bacigalupi knowingly want to know?

Over a billion
A billion
Hundreds of millions
Tens of millions
Hundreds of thousands
Tens of thusands
Some other option (see comments)
I would like to complain about this poll

The answer may shock and surprise you! Or not.

Judging from Elizabeth Bear's review of Ship Breaker, she certainly found it a depressingly plausible picture of the possibly unavoidable future of the developed world, and, furthermore, a fair picture of what the present looks like for the majority of humanity.

I suppose there is the question of whether an audience so willfully ignorant gets the authors it deserves....


I don't think they're really willfully ignorant. I think they've absorbed the ambient idea that smart people think Peak Oil will undo our civilization very soon, and that we morally have it coming to us.

Perhaps more to the point, they've absorbed the idea that good people think this, and they want to be good people.

I think it's admirable that people want to be good people, and the concerns they've got about finite resources, fossil fuels, the environment, inequality and poverty are genuine and worth addressing. I think that actually makes it a greater moral failure to sell them nightmares that address those fears in an unconstructive way and then present them as plausible futurism.

Perhaps more to the point, they've absorbed the idea that good people think this, and they want to be good people.

I think that the desire here is not to be "good people", but to get on a high horse of moral superiority. There's sort of a Church Lady gloating and smacking the lips about it. And, like the quasi-religious bigots Dana Carvey parodied, these people tend to be immune to facts.

(Doesn't help that there's a set of PR people and trained minions pretending to have "facts" on hand, as part of the general far right project to normalize radical subjectivity. But the Church Lady sensibility came first.)

And by "you" I mean mmcirvin, not carloshasanax. (Sorry Carlos.)

no worries. I think mccirvin sees the "moral" part and I see the "scold" part.

Could be projection. I somehow ended up, early in life, with a lot of emotional investment in my status as a Good Boy, which is probably better than some alternatives but can make me a pushover for arguments couched in scolding tones by sour misanthropes.

Well, that's a wise insight too. Hum! You are right, I do have a weakness for arguments by sour misanthropes. Of which there seem to be quite a number writing SF.

That explains a lot.