Re: "Starship Stormtroopers", by Michael Moorcock

Michael S. Lorrey (
Fri, 02 Jul 1999 02:59:07 -0400

Damien Broderick wrote:

> At 09:09 PM 1/07/99 -0400, Mikey wrote:
> >I'm not surprised that an anti-individualist like Moorcock would brand
> Heinlein
> >based on just one of his books, Starship Troopers, and that his abilities at
> >literary analysis would be quite so stunted.
> Have another look at what he wrote. (I know it's painful.) ST was the last
> book he thinks is kinda *okay*, becaue it's a gritty Bildungsroman.

His going off on authoritarian paternalistic militaristism, as well as his baseless association of rugged individualism with paternalism were what told me he was wearing the blinders he came in with.

Here's an example of how confused he seems to be:

> Star Wars is a pure example of the genre (in that it is a
> compendium of other people's ideas) in its implicit structure --
> quasi-children, fighting for a paternalistic authority, win through in the
> end and stand bashfully before the princess while medals are placed around
> their necks.
Since they are fighting against the emperor/darth vader baddies, and for Princess Leia (who, last I checked, was a woman), I fail to see how the heroes could be fighting FOR a paternalistic authority, unless he treats 'the force' as a paternal spiritualism, a baseless claim.

earlier he says:

> To be an anarchist, surely,
> is to reject authority but to accept self-discipline and community
> responsibility. To be a rugged individualist a la Heinlein and others is to
> be forever a child who must obey, charm and cajole to be tolerated by some
> benign, omniscient father:
I fail to see why an anarchist should have any sense of community responsibility. He's assuming is anarcho-socialism is the only kind of anarchism, and that anarcho-capitalism is just fascism without big government (a rather odd oxymoron). methinks he still hates his father...

> It's
> the later corpus, with its ever-more paternalistic authoritarian
> crypto-magic pseudo-rationality that he's offended by, and I think he's
> right. I love reading Heinlein, and I adore such usually-abominated fat
> tomes such as THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST-- precisely for those inveigling,
> insinuating characteristics that Moorcock is (rightly) railing against. I'm
> weak, I relish these fairytales in which competent men and superwomen rule
> the sevagram by the pure power of their good looks or improbably powerful
> minds and bodies or strict adherence to the absolute truths of science
> (ha!), but I know they are working to corrode my sense of reality and
> decent empathy just as tasty foods seem particularly shaped to destroy my
> teeth and bloodvessels.

While Jubal Harshaw is the silverback, he is still a rebel against the system, turning it on its tail to his own ends. Later characters in #OTB, TEFL, TCWWTW, etc. were all individuals with no respect for governments, benevolent leaders, etc. who did not take someone's word at face value. The thing that annoyed the hell of me with #OTB was how much bickering went on because nobody would let anybody else take charge and work as a team. There was as much wasted space in that book from arguments as Rand wasted in her soliloquiys in Atlas Shrugged.

I personally don't comprehend how someone can be a libertarian and NOT be a rugged individualist. Moorcock is apparently under the delusion that it is possible.


Michael S. Lorrey
Owner, Lorrey Systems
Director, Grafton County Fish & Game Assoc.
Member, Extropy Institute
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"Live Free or Die, Death is not the Worst of Evils."
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