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Those who believe

31 December 2017

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.

Kurt Vonnegut

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13 Comments to “Those who believe”

  1. Getting people to raise their hands is easy. All it takes is the magic words: “Stick’em up.”
    (Plus a saturday night special.)

  2. Those who believe in brain surgery, operate on my brain.

    Those who believe in subatomic particles, count the electrons in my fingernails.

    Those who believe in money, give me a billion dollars.

    Whether telekinesis is possible or not (and I am at least provisionally convinced that it is not), Vonnegut’s argument is a bad one. Amusing, yes, but fundamentally empty.

  3. Am I the only one who is not a grumpy gus to see the great fun of Vonnegut’s quote. This is gold, people, gold.

    I for one am going to use that quote many times and have a Psi lift the guy’s hand when he gets snarky.

    – I can see a psychic drill sergeant barking out the command, seeing if any trainee was already up to speed.

    – I see a Professor like in the movie Red Lights say this to her class, then have her hand go up. “Okay, which of you jokers is doing that.”

    Red Lights UK Trailer (2012) Robert De Niro, Cillian Murphy Movie
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhOH0iAZZno

    Then there is the movie Chronicle, which hits too close to home.

    chronicle trailer HD
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-M5Qx57_UU

    Then there is the classic movie The Power from 1968. (I also have the book by Frank M. Robinson. Deeply disturbing.)

    The Power (1968) Theatrical Trailer
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvCz9FmiIA4

    Then this video scares the hell out of me. When this stuff is in the movies above I have no problem, but when I watch the commercial I’m deeply upset. I watch it whenever I forget what this writing thing is all about.

    Coffee Shop Prank: Do you believe in telekinesis ?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5n447GRTCsU

    Then there is the classic Timex commercial that started it all.

    Timex Watches – Psychic Advert
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CurZGRqCh-Q

    (BRB. I need to pull the cornbread out of the oven. There, I’m back. It smells great, but it didn’t rise as much as I hoped. I’m trying Masa instead of corn meal. Oh, well, it will still be great with honey and butter, or with soup. Now where was I. Oh yes, I was chastising people.)

    Come on, people. Get with the program. This is gold! HA!

    • The Power is a classic. Pure paranoia.
      All about the mood.
      I’m also very fond of James Blish JACK OF EAGLES. Very 50’s but lots of fun.

      CHRONICLE is suprisingly good. A bit reminiscent of AKIRA without ripping it off.

      • I was lucky to stumble across _Imprisoned In A Tesseract: The Life and Work of James Blish_ by David Ketterer. It rambles a bit, but offers amazing insight.

        BTW, the Rick Cook books you mentioned are here, so I’ll read them ASAP. Thanks…

      • Felix,

        Your mention of _Jack of Eagles_ made me pull out the NESFA edition of _Flights of Eagles_ by James Blish, where a clean copy of _Jack of Eagles_ resides; no foxed mass market pages slowing me down.

        I read the Introduction by Tom Shippey again, and there was everything I love about Blish.

        He talked of “Blishisms”: throwaway sentences that contain multitudes. Where most writers will generate pages of exposition to describe the impossible, he states it in a sentence or two, and then gets on with the story.

        And he also mentions the Omphalos hypothesis that is at the heart of most of my stuff.

        Now, I’ve got to read all of Blish again. But I won’t read his reviews as “William Atheling, Jr” again. They always struck me as being faux reviews, as if he was mocking critics like Damon Knight, rather than playing fair with the story.

        Thanks for helping to focus my priorities on which of the many piles of books I need to read next. HA!

        • I still don’t know why Blish isn’t studied more. He has as many genre classocs as anybody and more than most. And if A CASE OF CONSCIENCE isn’t the quintessence of the genre, what is?
          Then there’s CITIES IN FLIGHT. Even his “lesser” works like QUINCUNX OF TIME and VOR cut deep into Idea SF.
          And I may have just talked myself into revisiting CITIES IN FLIGHT. Drat.

          • That’s my point. Blish turns out to be a larger influence in my stuff than I’d realized.

            I went looking for an example of “Blishisms” and ended up reading a bunch of chapters in _Cities in Flight_ before I could stop. I always start reading Blish with Cities… then go on to the rest. Luckily NESFA has many of his stories in hardback so that I can avoid trying to read the foxed mass market pages of the books I have.

            Go to Amazon:

            Cities in Flight
            https://www.amazon.com/Cities-Flight-James-Blish/dp/1585670081/

            Open the “Look inside” and search on the word “Brood”. The first occurrence on page 225 has an example of a “Blishism”. The paragraph begins with “He was saying to Frad:”

            He blithely talks about how they grow more computers. I have read that paragraph countless times without realizing how truly dangerous the concept is. It was only after I read a bunch of Stross and then came back to Cities… that the paragraph hit me, hard. HA!

    • Nope, you’re not the only one. I laughed out loud.

      • That’s what I love about TPV. I see something in a different context, people respond in ways that I don’t understand, and it triggers me to create a folder and fill it with Image/Seeds for future stories.

        There are thousands of stories that I won’t have time to publish, so this helps me focus on the Image/Seeds that pop like this one. I can use the Vonnegut as a running “gag” in so many stories.

        People should feel free to run with this stuff as well, especially when others start snarking. I’ve found that snark is a good indicator of the power of some Image/Seeds. HA!

  4. Believing something’s possible for some persons ≠ being able to do that something, so…witty but foolish, much?

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