Dan Simmons apparently has no use for Islam...

http://www.dansimmons.com/news/message.htm

Reads like a Chick tract at times.

But who here believes that Dan Simmons begged ignorance of Syracuse (not the one in New York, of course)?

As for the overall theme, he’s not wholly wrong.

Admittedly, the total subjugation of the West by Islam would take longer than the next couple of generations. This is not the first time that the armies of Mohammed have entered Europe, & the West is not so culturally defenseless that sharia law would be imposed on all Europe in the next century. Americans like to pretend that Europeans are impotent to change their own destiny, but this is nonsense.

OTOH, the USA will likely degenerate into something like a Christian version of Khomeini’s Islamic Republic before anyone here makes Thucydides required reading & imposes poll tests.

But there is a faction of “Islam” that devoutly wishes for the world Simmons describes. They have been infiltrating & subverting mosques to displace strands of Muslim thought that more closely accomodate the realities of the world, & to reignite the war of conquest “in the name of the Prophet.” Where Mohammed’s tradition had been able to survive far from the Bedouin desert through adaptation & accomodation to culture, now certain fanatics demand a total Arabization of all Muslim lands. For example, the Janjaweed in Sudan, who apparently call the non-Arabic-speaking Muslim people of Darfur “kafir.”

They are fools. The “great religions” of the world only achieved cultural greatness by being able to grow, evolve, & be changed by the cultures they embraced.

What is Islam without the Persians & the Turks? What greatness could they have had without translations of ancient Greek & Avestan texts?

Christianity was once a fringe movement, somewhere near Ramtha & the Heaven’s Gate cult on the credibility scale. But it didn’t close off new innovation & “revelation.” What would western Christianity be without Aquinas, Augustine, or Francis of Assisi? Or Luther & Calvin?

But Osama bin Laden is not one of these. He follows a destructive mystique of “ancientness” & “purity.” Serious adults of whatever religion & culture should see through him.

So, is Simmons making an exaggeration? Yes, but it’s an important one. For this probably is the fantasy believed in & hoped for by those who follow bin Laden, who follow most closely the mythology of the first caliphs–who are the “purest Muslims.” And they are very dangerous.

It’s Fascism. I use that term in a technical sense, with full understanding of what it means and where it comes from. Fascism is founded on the idea that, through following the lead of a single idealized and pure figure, a people can regain lost glory, recapture soiled purity, and return to a mythologized ancient way of living. With the Italians, where the term comes from, that ancient way was the Roman Empire. (The fasces were used by the Roman Empire as a symbol of the central government’s power. It is a bundle of rods around a central axe with the blade projecting.) With the Germans, that ancient way was a pre-Christian Central Europe inexplicably peopled with blondes who, in the real world, lived a good way farther north. With the Muslims, that ancient way was the Caliphate.

The supposed history used to justify the war doesn’t matter. The people who follow Fascism are, historically, so dispossessed and desperate they will follow anyone who promises order, strength, and respect. Reasonable adults see through it just fine; angry adults, who believe they are out of options and have hit the wall, hear what they want to hear, and work to achieve the promised goal.

There are strains of Fascism in all countries. Here, it usually goes under the banner of the more extreme adherents of the Religious Conservatives (the Christian Reconstructionists and adherents of Dominion Theology). In the Islamic world, it is much stronger and it is symbolized by the al-Qaeda brand name, now franchising globally.

Simmons is maybe my favorite living science fiction writer… but that’s not some of his best prose.

As to the content, some stuff I agree with, a lot I don’t. It’s a bit negative, don’t you think?

Simmons is trying to scare people into doing more to fight the threat he sees in this upsurge in Islamic Fascism. An old tradition in the literary world is to use a dystopic science fiction story to warn people, to prod them into doing something about a perceived threat, and this story is very much in that vein.

Is that the Dan Simmons who wrote ‘Song of Kali’? If so, I’m not even slightly surprised.

Now the page has been removed.

Don’t worry: Google cached it. :smiley:

If you care to read it, I c 'n p’d it here.

Google: You can run, but you can’t hide.

Thanks JohnT.

And now that I’ve read the article:

Wow. The Athenians lost at Syracuse because they weren’t tough enough to repeat the slaughter at Minos? Civil liberties aren’t important because bad men could take them away? Some kind of pan-Islamic alliance is going to get together and attack the United States? Terrorists are to Islam as planes are to Pearl Harbor? Fearing that your own government will abuse the power you give it is “masochistic”? And he’s complaining that his audience has no sense of history?

I shouldn’t have to deal with this much stupid at this hour.

I’m beginning to wonder if the story, and its disappearance, isn’t some sort of April Fools gag.

The Athenians lost at Syracuse because they were outfought by the Syracusans, who they greatly underestimated. Superstition added to the calamity, as they wouldn’t retreat and save the bulk of their army because the moon was wrong. It’s been a while since I read Thucydides, but that’s the basics. Ruthelessness, which the Athenians still had in spades, had nothing to do with it.

I hate and fear political Islam, but I don’t like incoherence either.

Sadly, I’ve long since learned that good authors are often lousy thinkers. I don’t know why this is, but it’s the truth.

As the OP, I wanted to bump this to note that Dan Simmons is bringing honor unto himself by attacking Greta Thurnberg, as any 70yo man should do.

Also, found the original story!

http://www.dansimmons.com/news/message/2006_04.htm

In the sci-fi fan community Dan Simmons is a well known example of post-9/11 radicalization; he’s one of the writers who after 9/11 turned into a full-blown Islamophobe and started demonizing it in his writing.

The right wing ability to project is absolutely fascinating.

I didn’t know who this guy was so I googled him and the first non-Author-centric site was http://file770.com/dan-simmons-criticized-for-remarks-about-thunberg/ which includes the screenshot of his rant.

Then I came back here and read what y’all have posted.

Fuck this guy. He’s a piece of shit.

This doesn’t surprise me. While I enjoyed “The Terror”, I’ve known who this guy is since picking up “Flashback”. He is now on my “ignore on sight” list. I might have a collection of his short stories kicking around, but have never read “Hyperion”.

You should read the Hyperion Cantos.

I am now happy to say I’ve never read a single thing he’s written. He can remain a mystery to me, and I’m good with that.

That’s a valid option too. I haven’t read any of his political screeds so I remain happily ignorant of that side of him. I just like his novels. They really stay with you and you can’t forget them, unlike so many lesser authors. Perhaps interestingly, the Hyperion Cantos has a fairly strong anti-Catholic lean to it.

His early novels were excellent – Hyperion and Song of Kali, Summer of Night,* and Carrion Comfort were all masterful horror stories.

Then he sort of lost it. Hardcase was ostensibly a mystery, but was really an excuse for him to describe guns in excruciating detail.

I picked up Drood, which was really something I wanted to like – I’m a big fan of Wilkie Collins – but the ending was so incredibly stupid that I found it a complete waste of time.

It essentially was, “it was all a dream!!!”

But he became known in the past couple of decades for his right-wing screeds, which were even more nasty and hateful than Orson Scott Card’s.

*An absolutely horrifying novel that punches you right in the gut. I told my wife that she should never read it because it would upset her too much.