Michael LaTorra mlatorra at gmail.com
Fri Apr 17 04:07:58 UTC 2009

Hmmm. It seems that Dinello has read very little SF but, as reviewer Morgan
says, gets most of his SF evidence from video sources.

On a brighter note, I'm wrapping up this semester teaching my first-ever
course on Science Fiction and Fantasy. I've introduced my university
students to some authors they've never heard of, including Vinge, Stross and
Iain Banks. In my lectures, I've informed them of the concept of the Vingean
Sinularity and Kurzweil's writings about it. Some loved it immediately,
while others were frightened. Best of all, some who were initially
frightened have changed their minds and embraced the Singular possibilities.

There IS hope, folks!

Mike LaTorra

On Thu, Apr 16, 2009 at 5:57 PM, Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com>wrote:

> I just noticed the existence of this absurd book (an evaluation I make only
> on the basis of reviews):
> TECHNOPHOBIA!: Science Fiction Visions of Posthuman Technologies, by Daniel
> Dinello - University of Texas Press (2005).
> Here's a review:
> http://www.emcit.com/emcit128.php?a=23
> Fear of the Future
> By Cheryl Morgan
> There are basically two ways to approach an academic study: one is to look
> at the material and come to conclusions based on what you find; the other is
> to start out with a theory and look for material that confirms it.
> Technophobia! by Daniel Dinello is a classic example of the latter. The
> thesis of the book is very simple. Dinello believes that science fiction is
> inherently technophobic, and that its purpose is to warn us about the evils
> of science and technology.
> OK folks, jaws up off the floor please. I’m being serious here. That is
> what the book is about. The story goes a little like this. Dinello opens up
> by stating his opposition to George W. Bush and the military-industrial
> complex, not to mention everything DARPA. He then goes on to talk about
> technoevangelists such as Ray Kurzweil. Unlike Joel Garreau in <
> http://www.emcit.com/emcit119.shtml#Future>Radical Evolution, he appears
> to regard them as dangerous lunatics who Must Be Stopped. The rest of the
> book is devoted to finding examples from science fiction of just how awful
> the future will be if Kurzweil and his crazy friends are allowed to have
> their way.
> If this sounds a little froth at the mouth, I should point out that Dinello
> defines his title is a fairly restrained way:
> ----------
> The book’s title, Technophobia, is meant to suggest an aversion to, dislike
> of, or suspicion of technology rather than an irrational, illogical or
> neurotic fear.
> ----------
> He also admits:
> ----------
> Of course, not all science fiction is technophobic, and not all scientists
> serve military-industrial interests ­ just most.
> ----------
> On the whole book is clearly and cogently argued. A solid case is made. But
> that doesn’t stop Dinello from concluding:
> ----------
> In its devotion to technophobia, science fiction paints a repulsive picture
> of a future world where technology runs out of control and dominates all
> aspects of human behavior. Technology’s inherent structure requires
> suppression of human spontaneity and obedience to its requirements of order
> and efficiency. This extends the social controls initiated by the cybernetic
> ideological system. Asimov’s laws of robotic obedience have been reversed
> into technology’s laws for human submission.
> ----------
> How, one might ask, can anyone come to such a bizarre conclusion? I know an
> awful lot of science fiction authors, and most of them are technophiles of
> one shade or another. Most fans I have talked to about Dinello’s ideas have
> reacted with astonishment and/or laughter. How can Dinello have
> misunderstood SF so badly? I read the whole book just to find out.
> One of ways in which you can come to this conclusion is, of course, to
> concentrate mainly on movies. The majority of the material in Dinello’s book
> is based on media SF rather than on the written word. For example, he very
> much approves of Michael Crichton (even though Crichton is a big favorite at
> the White House because of his support for the denial of global warming).
> ----------
> [etc]
> _______________________________________________
> extropy-chat mailing list
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
> http://lists.extropy.org/mailman/listinfo.cgi/extropy-chat
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20090416/a0061138/attachment.html>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list