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A brief announcement

It's getting towards that time of year again.

It's been public for some time that my novel "Glasshouse" is on the final shortcut for the Prometheus award (by the Libertarian Futurist Society — who, for no obvious reason, appear to be addicted to Scottish Socialist SF this decade).

However, now that the Hugo shortlist is out I can admit publicly what I was told a couple of weeks ago: that "Glasshouse" is also on the shortlist for this year's Hugo award for best SF or Fantasy novel. Which is the fourth year in a row I've had a book on that shortlist.


(Clears throat, shuffles nervously, backs away from the footlights.)



What, just the one nomination? Ah well, at least you'll get a nice lapel pin thingy out of it.

Shame that Missile Gap didn't get into the novella category. That's a strong story that you might have had a chance with for a rocket, but that's how the cookies crumble.


So, that's at least two kilts we'll be seeing in Japan.


Congratulations, I've finally got round to reading your stuff (big list of books to read and not enough time) and loved it. Good luck.


Good luck! I've read most of your novels and loved them (I'm currently reading Glasshouse). As a Scottish Green Socialist I approve of the Libertarian Futurist Society's recent choices! ;-)


Awesome, Glass House is one of my favorites of yours. I love that yeah, it's a tech-filled awesome SF story, but at heart, it's really a "human" story. Good luck!


Owch. You're up against Vinge and Watts.

It's a shame one can't vote for all three. :)


Nix? You can vote for all three. It's a runoff. Just rank 'em in preferred order -- or if you like, rank them in reverse order of who you'd throw out of the balloon first.


How much do you weigh and do you have a rough idea of how much you weigh compared to Vinge and Watts?


Congratulations! I am astounded to find I've read all the Novel nominations, except for the Flynn. My money would be on the Norvik to win, because it has ships-of-the-line and dragons. I reckon you'll place above Watts, because Blindsight is hard reading, and below Vinge, because he's famous, even though Rainbows End doesn't quite succeed as a story.

None of this has much to do with the absolute wonderfulness of the books - it's just my analysis of the way Hugo voters behave.


Scottish Socialist SF?

I thought Herr Doktor Stross was some sort of radical liberal. . .


D. O'Kane; actually I vote Liberal Democrat, but that's pretty much indistinguishable from socialism from the viewpoint of your average American libertarian.


As an American libertarian of sorts, I have no idea why we're addicted to Scottish Socialist SF. Personally, I think it's some of the most libertarian stuff out there and much better written than US libertarian SF.

I think the key might be economics. In books like the ones you and Ken MacLeod write, you're dealing with post-scarcity economics. Both market capitalism and socialism's economics depend on scarcity, without that there's no difference.

So that leaves social themes. Individualism vs tyranny, freedom to make yourself who you want to be, etc. Glasshouse is very libertarian from that perspective.


Is it perhaps because Scottish Socialist SF is really more like Catalan (or Bradford) Left-Libertarian SF?


Congratulations, Charlie. It's well deserved. I like all of your work, but Glasshouse is something special. Good luck on the final voting.


Congratulations. Glasshouse is very good. People who had read only the beginning of the Vinge (which was very hopeful) might vote for that.


Congratulations. It's a pity I'm not eligible for this year's voting, though it does mean I won't be forced to choose between Glasshouse and Rainbow's End. I see you are up against Rainbow's End for the Promentheus too. Ken Macleod hasn't got anything in the shortlist, so you might be in with a chance :) One thing puzzles me about the Prometheus award, though- The Lord of the Rings is a finalist for their Hall of Fame award. And, shockingly, one of CS Lewis' Cosmic Trilogy was a semifinalist! Scottish socialists might be considered Libertarian, but mid 20thC English pastoralist paternalists who would be considered part of the Religious Right if such a term was used in their day? Surely some mistake.
BTW, they seem to really like Doctor Who at the Hugos, don't they? I hope Steven Moffat wins again, continuing the Scottish (including both native and adopted Scots) plot to take over the SF world. And his episode had the Doctor crashing through a mirror on horseback.


Congratulations, Charlie. Hope we can celebrate with a pint next week.

Brian: C.S. Lewis was in some respects quite libertarian, and really can't be equated with the Religious Right. He's one of these complicated and hard-to-classify figures like G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc.


Now that I come to think of it, That Hideous Strength did have a few interesting ideas about the use of psychotherapy in the criminal justice system- making the point that prison sentences are limited but treatment carries on until the expert says you are cured. Lewis and Tolkein could even be said to be anti-capitalists. And there is a general rebellious "us against the world" vibe, but the novel is all bound up with a strong paternalistic, authoritarian attitude. Anti-abuse of power? Yes, but not anti-authority by any means (Ransom's stance on the problems in the Studdocks' marriage took me aback even when my value system was far more traditional than it is now).

I used to read CS Lewis religiously, if I'm unfair to him its because former followers are the harshest critics.


I always thought Chesterton and Belloc were quite easily classified, as anti-semitic petit-bourgeois Catholic fascist reactionaries?


Right - this fudges it. I'll let you win this time; but next year Stross. Next year!

(Note: This does, of course, assume I get off my ass and write something!).

Well done again Charlie, I think you'll get to the top this year. The stuff you're producing is getting better and better, and if there's any justice you'll win.

That and if the judges know what's good for them...


Congratulations Charlie! Even if Glasshouse isn't my favourite among your books you sure deserve every award you get (and every award didn't get also!)


Hey, congrats Charlie. Glasshouse was a great book, glad to see it getting recognition.


Re: Lewis

The problem with Lewis is that he wrote so much, and then promptly died before the invention of the internet. He contradicted himself quite freely, aggro'd teh drama, didn't always reason things through, and often strove to win by pushing arguements beyond their logical conclusion.

Today we'd call him a blogger. Maybe he'd be the scobleizer of neo-anglican SF writers.

Brian, I was taken aback by the dialog assigned to Ransom too, btw. On the other hand he puts some really interesting critiques of Modernity in Merlin's mouth. Lewis and Tolkien both characterized themselves as opposed to the dehumanizing consequences of Modernity. They pose a problem for us today because they'd be against any "programme of improvement", be it Left, Lib, Center, or Right.


Congratulations! It's a strong (and amazingly varied) novel shortlist this year. As someone who likes dragons and post-singularity SF and plausible space vampires, I'm quite happy with it.


Congrats Charlie. I expected to see Glasshouse there because it's my favourite of all the things you've written so far. The only other one I've read is Blindsight. Tough call between the two, they're both excellent.



You are in good company.


Is it my imagination, or are you starting to make a habit of this? ;-) `nuff respect.


congrats from me also. i don't know how it worked out this way, but i read "Glasshouse", "Rainbows End" and "Blindsight" consecutively last year, and now they're all on the ballot... i'd have to say i rank the vinge under stross and watts, and between those two, well, that's just not fair. wait, this is the stross site... give it to stross already!!!


Congratulations, sir.

As for the Mystery of the Scottish Socialists, I suspect that the libertarians are using Hayek's definition of socialism, which is seriously at variance with the beliefs, opinions, and proposed policies of most of the socialists I have come across. So they don't recognise real socialists when they see them (if they don't wear helpful labels).

I was inoculated against Hayek's views by reading, when I were a lad, a piece by a well-respected local right-wing economist in which he claimed, in all seriousness, that it was an obvious and necessary truth, needing no supporting evidence or argument, that it was impossible for the state and/or the community to own a razor factory unless, first, the Government made shaving compulsory. Even when I was young and gullible, that set off my B/S detector on the instant.

Hayek's definition is a straw man and at best a caricature. That doesn't stop it being taken as Gospel by a lot of people who want to believe.



Congrats and good luck.


Good luck, Charlie (as all us hardened rational humanists say when searching for some way of influencing, um, fate - which doesn't exist...)


... and congrats again, this time in the proper venue. Now it looks like I've got a lot of reading to do; this time yours is the only one of the nominees I've read.


Well deserved, too!


With regards to Scottish Socialist SF writers and Libertarians, last night I read a bit of "Anarcho-Syndicalism, theory and practise by Rudolf Rocker. I found this sentence germane (he is talking about parliamentary socialism): It destroyed the belief in the necessity of constructive Socialist activity and, worst of all, the impulse to self-help, by inoculating people with the ruinous delusion that salvation always comes from above.

Strange though it seems, I suggest that both sides would agree on the delusion that salvation always comes from above.


Congrats, Charlie, and thanks for another really good read.

FWIW, I've read four of the five nominees (all but the Dragon one); GLASSHOUSE is well ahead on literary merit, in my opinion. May the best book win!

Btw, I'm getting pretty good as a prophet: "Look for [Glasshouse] on next year's award-ballots. Highly recommended." (7-15-06)

Best, Pete Tillman


Crazy nineteenth century individualist weirdos like Lysander Spooner and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon are the common intellectual ancestors of libertarians and left-anarchists. Because we share a common intellectual history, the underlying structures to the arguments that you and Ken McLeod use are ones that makes sense to a libertarian, even if we don't necessarily agree with your conclusions. You argue from a position that says people are smart and forward-looking, but that their interests are personal rather than global.


All this talk of the common ground between libertarians and lefties reminds me of a passage from Ken Macleod's The Star Fraction, where the main characters are talking about a thriving anarcho-capitalist mini-state.

"     The Greenbelt. Ahead of them it sprawled to left and right, all along the horizon. A whole new London of shanties and skyscrapers, streets, factories, nuclear power plants; the sky alive with light aircraft, airships, aerostats--a chaos that even as she watched resolved itself into a complexity, a pattern of differences like small fields seen from a great height. She looked at it through Moh's binoculars, scanning slowly, lost in the endlessly deepening detail of it all. She remembered Darwin: It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank...     'It's like an ecosystem,' she said at last.     'That's the real Norlonto,' Moh said. 'The core, except it isn't central. The leading edge.'     'Pity it doesn't stretch all the way round.'     She thought of what lay beyond Uxbridge, out to the west. Badlands all the way to Wales, a firebreak between that ineradicable hostility and London. A lot of people would privately admit they'd prefer the Welsh marching to the endless trickle of saboteurs from these new Marches.     'Or all the way in,' Jordan said.     'Yeah, the movement only got a slice of the pie. But look what they did with it!'     'You sound proud of this place.' Janis couldn't square Moh's enthusiasm for Norlonto with his stubborn insistence that he was some kind of Socialist.     'We want to go beyond this, do better than it. Not go back from it.'     After a minute she stopped trying to figure it out. "


My Elves Are Different has an interesting take on the Hugo nominees. It looks like Tor has the upper hand, but the Ace ship Stross should still have a fighting chance if the captain has properly trained his AA gunners.


This note was the impetus for me to finally go and pick up Glasshouse. I'm halfway thru and loving it. IMHO, it's your best work yet. Cleanly executed story with a lot of imaginitive ideas, just enough satire and good character development. Love the fact that you've taken your writing to the next level, especially with the PK Dicksian flavor coming out more strong than ever.


What about the rape? No comments on that? I can think of a couple of reasons why no one noticed that rape shit you had going on there; they were previously consenting lovers, the one with a cock said no, the one with a mouth but no cock was busy using that mouth, it really aint rape if no vaginal penetration occurs, and it couldn't be rape if both parties got off on it. Stross you do realise you wrote a rape scene? Just because the rapist is female at the time, and much smaller and physically weaker then her fucking target don't stop it being rape. Then again if you've discarded thousands of bodies to speed up the throwing of heads through an a-gate only to find it's fracked, then writing about rape is easy.


Bloomsbury: no comments about the question of whether Robin/Reeve is a fearless hunter of war criminals or, um, a war criminial him/her-self?

Clue: unreliable narrators'R'us.


The only problem I had with Glasshouse was with keeping A-gates and T-gates straight. If I read it again, or read another story with this technology, then I'm sure I'll get the hang of visualizing them. Great read.



It moved me, good work Mr. Stross.


"no comments about the question of whether Robin/Reeve is a fearless hunter of war criminals or, um, a war criminial him/her-self?"

May I comment? Robin/Reeve, or any other character in the story can be both saint and sinner--the technology makes it pretty easy, or so it seems. Glasshoue does a good job of exploring the issue of memory, and how memory makes us who we are.



JJ: also, how social pressure imposes patterns of behaviour on us, even when the behaviour is objectively abhorrent. (See also the works of Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo.)


I agree. The degree to which humans will conform (as shown in the Glasshouse environment and with the work of behaviorists such as Milgram)is something most of us learn at a young age. One of the things I found most interesting about Glasshouse was its examination of primate social norming behaviors. Getting people to conform can be orchestrated with a few choice treats--rewards work! I need to go continue training my puppy now.




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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on March 29, 2007 9:41 AM.

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