David Drake, a prolific sf/fantasy author and Prometheus nominee, has died.
Drake, who died Dec. 10 at 78 from cognitive health problems, is being remembered as a leader and pioneer in military science fiction.
Drake, drafted into the U.S. Army to fight in Vietnam and Cambodia in the early 1970s, later brought a new level of granular realism to the subgenre based on his own experiences as a soldier.
Perhaps because Drake’s more than 80 books were focused on military sf, an action-oriented subgenre that tends to focus more on battles and military sf than ideas, few of his novels fit the distinctive focus of the Prometheus Awards exploring libertarian and/or anti-authoritarian themes.
The history of modern SF is one of five attempted revolutions — one success and four enriching failures. I’m going to offer a look at them from an unusual angle, a political one. This turns out to be a useful perspective because more of the history of SF than one might expect is intertwined with political questions, and SF had an important role in giving birth to at least one distinct political ideology that is alive and important today.
CAMPBELL AND HEINLEIN
The first and greatest of the revolutions came out of the minds of John Wood Campbell and Robert Heinlein, the editor and the author who invented modern science fiction. The pivotal year was 1937, when John Campbell took over the editorship of Astounding Science Fiction. He published Robert Heinlein’s first story a little over a year later. Continue reading Freedom in the Future Tense: A Political History of SF