Editorial – February 2017: We live in interesting times.

January 29, 2017 | By | 4 Replies More

Hello everyone

There are some rare instances when I don’t start writing an editorial early in the month or prepared to rewrite when there are news events that can’t be ignored and put SF issues into the shade. Looking at how this month is flashing by, I didn’t fancy writing anything at the last minute but time is beating me to it this time.

From a writer’s point of view, studying life is a requirement for writing. For Science Fiction, it extends to how societies work and how people react to them. A common theme in our genre is also the handling of power and in SF, there are far too many megalomaniacs not to pay attention to how they are handled in real life. Oddly, it’s not a subject that I’ve really dealt with here

All right, we’ve had and still got a few megalomaniacs across the world but this has to be one of the odd times where one has been elected into office rather than just take power with nothing getting in the way of making radical changes. Well, that has to be proven yet. It feels like a weird situation where I can speak obliquely and you know who exactly who I’m talking about. You would have to have had your head in the sand not to know different.

From the other side of the pond, we can look at how affordable medical care is gone and it’s the one thing that a lot of his voters might actually need. I’m not exactly convinced he can convince the drug companies to drop their prices unless he can convince them to sell cheaper in quantity. The needs of abortion being ignored isn’t actually unexpected. It was part of his agenda but who believes politicians doing what they say they will do except he doesn’t come from a political background. There’s going to be a big awakening any time now, especially as you can never please everyone.

Presidents in the past have held back on scientist developments and advancement but to ignore global warming at this crucial stage is going to double the time to even slow it down, let alone bring it under control. To not believe scientific evidence or disbelieve intelligence services information or even news coverage evidence, correct even for some American biases, tends to meet the criteria of latent paranoia. That can even be compounded as time goes by because it will be become fearful of what can cause upsets. Distrusting his own people and replacing with yes men can compound this even further. An example of this comes from saying torture is acceptable because he is told so. Then again, who is brave enough to say no to a president of their own country? Dissent means thinking more than twice about solving problems and not relying on the first thing that comes into your head. Even in so few words as above, it can be more than worrying.

I hope the above doesn’t come over as being a rant but even with deep thoughts, I can’t really think of anything that is so shocking and less than 10 days out of 4 years of a presidential tenure. If anything, it’s more worrying what is going to happen to the people or countries who say no. Then it potentially becomes a powder key and a bully culture and rebellion.

Oddly, all the megalomaniacs in Science Fiction have never fallen under such a profile. They’ve just been classed as either evil or continuing a tradition only getting more ruthless to maintain their position. No one stops and thinks that their actions might be right under any circumstances. It rarely gets explored and relies on simple tropes seeing power as a means to itself. Reality doesn’t work that way. I’ve commented in the past anyone who just wants to rule the world is never going to last because it depends on a lot of people being able to past on the orders and ensure they are done. Not everyone is going to obey and that grows if something is clearly not going to work or not in best interests.

Anyone who believes the world is against him tends to give the look of fearful paranoia and that gives its own reaction, more so when self-justification or passing a decision to someone else but expected to still do it. Even in the biggest conspiracy plots has one person been regarded as sane and the rest of the world lying worked out for the best? It makes for an interesting on-going analysis that might have to be given more serious thought in the months to come as its not something we can hide from.

One would have to wonder how far things can go before mental instability is brought up as a medical reason for retirement and whether or not the vice-president would be his own person or fall his mentor’s dictates. Something I learnt a few years ago, that no election of a new president cannot be earlier than a four year tenure, so there is a succession of potential replacements. You can even google this yourself as it then moves to the speaker of the House, Senate president and then cabinet members. I did give a wry comment at the time that eventually the White House janitor would be given a chance to sit in the big chair and he might not be cleaning the desk.

In many respects, just in case I’m forgetting the point of the website, it does provide a real example of megalomania in action that should provide material for improved fictional versions, especially in our genre. The only real problem with that is people will say it’s been done before. Effectively, he’s stealing our material. If he doesn’t think the world is going to be in a bigger mess after his tenure then the world is really sunk.


Thank you, take care, good night and breath holding isn’t optional.

Geoff Willmetts

editor: SFCrowsnest.org.uk


A Zen thought: Actually no thought. Just do some zen breathing. Gently inhale through the nose, count to three and gently exhale through the mouth. Do it for about 5 minutes for a calming influence.


Observation: Ever given any thought as to who was the chef on the Nostromo and Sulaco? The food didn’t just suddenly materialise out of the deep freeze…even the cornbread.


Feeling Stressed: Hope someone has a blue pill available.



Category: Culture, Horror, World getting weirder

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

Comments (4)

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  1. DMcCunney says:

    “All right, we’ve had and still got a few megalomaniacs across the world but this has to be one of the odd times where one has been elected into office rather than just take power with nothing getting in the way of making radical changes.”

    Trump wishes it were that simple. Despite being a Republican President, with the Republicans in control of Congress, his first few months in power will be finding out the hard way just what the limitations of his power are. He’s not a god, not an absolute monarch, and not a dictator. He can’t just proclaim something and have it so. The US Constitution is rather carefully structured to prevent him from being *able* to do that, as the folks who wrote it wanted to avoid the issues that tedious arose in Europe when absolute monarchs tried to assert absolute control.

    Aside the from Democrats who will fight him tooth and nail, he’ll have to do far more horse trading with the Republicans in Congress than he likely expects. There are more than a few Republicans who have reason to despise him, are dismayed that he got the nod as Republican candidate, and are in a position to block what he wants.

    I expect it to be grimly amusing, but I don’t see disaster on the horizon just yet.

  2. UncleGeoff says:

    Hello Dennis
    Obama and Bush Jr have both commented about their limitations of power while holding the presidency. Trump believes he can currently walk on water and have anything done he signs. For an American democracy, this is more a dictatorship. Even with British democracy, often a lot of what is on the manifesto isn’t always carried out and most of the electorate, I hope, certainly wouldn’t expect for it to be all done at once with no dissent.
    It’s a road accident waiting to happen but none of us are bystanders because the consequences will affect us all.
    How long is your term ‘yet’?

    • DMcCunney says:

      “Trump believes he can currently walk on water and have anything done he signs.”

      I question whether Trump actually believes that. He make make noises like he does, but whether he actually thinks so is another matter. He’s going to be outrageous for a while as he pushes to see what he can get away with.

      One thing made clear from the run up to the election is that Trump is a master at working a room. He could guess what the audience he was addressing wanted to hear, and give it to them. How much of the rhetoric he spouted was what he believed, or what he thought he might be able to actually do, and how much of it was playing to the gallery is unanswerable. Promise them anything to get their votes is a time honored tradition, and Trump is hardly the first to play the game.

      “For an American democracy, this is more a dictatorship”

      Nope. It would be if Trump could actually do what he talks about, but I rather doubt he can.

      “How long is your term ‘yet’?

      At the moment, about as long as his first term in office.

      When George W. Bush exited office, my comment was “Barack Obama didn’t win because he was Barack Obama – he won because he *wasn’t* George W. Bush.” Obama’s election constituted a statement by the electorate rejecting Bush and the Republican Party. I think another Democratic candidate would have done as well, and Obama was not special.

      When Trump won the election, my thought was it wasn’t because he was Donald Trump – it was because he *wasn’t* Barack Obama. The electorate had delivered a thumbs down to the Obama and the Democrats, too.

      If things work as I expect, Trump will wear out his welcome quickly, and may *not* get *reelected* to a second term as President.

      That’s a pure wild-assed guess, and quite possibly wrong, but it’s how it looks to me at the moment.

  3. UncleGeoff says:

    Hello Dennis
    Trump is a businessman and sees signing anything as a contract to do something under his absolute orders. What is worrying is his disdain for the Senate and Congress, even his own party, who won’t have any choice but not to ratify his orders. Trump’s rages are well-known when things won’t go his way which means he will lose control. That becomes worrying as to what he will do to retaliate, even against his own people.
    I thought Trump won because he wasn’t Hilary Clinton although considering how many votes she did get, had those emails hadn’t come up, she might have swung it.
    Frankly, I’d be surprised if Trump survives his first year.

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