Best Damn Fiction Writing Waterhole I Know


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Best Damn Fiction Writing Waterhole I Know


Before I even start, here is the link:

TV Tropes


Now on to the spiel.

Have you ever wondered why Objectivist fiction is generally so bad? I mean outside of Ayn Rand's works?

I know I have.

I have a few theories about it, but I won't go into all of them here. Just one.

A strong aspect of Rand's fiction writing method--but one that is not taught often in Objectivist-libertarian circles--involved taking cliches and turning them on their head. For example, the villains torturing the hero to make him rule (Galt) as his way out, instead of torturing him and setting him lose in an elaborate maze of Deadly Things. Or on the saying side, "judge not that ye be not judged" turns into "judge and prepare to be judged." And so on.

I think a lot of writers impacted by Rand get this conceptually, but they have no clue about where to start. The popular culture seems to be an incomprehensible array of random mediocrity side-by-side with glimpses of great moments and truly atrocious crap. How do you categorize all that? How do you use it?

Well, Rand had masters in Hollywood to help her. She learned the cliches and then she worked them, adding her special insights and passions.

I have long been looking for a resource that made sense of popular culture in terms I can grok. One book I read a long time ago said popular entertainment, like on TV, had its roots in the circus. Looking at game shows, news, soap operas (where you get things like moral pygmies instead of literal ones), etc., I can certainly see the connections. But that wasn't very useful to me when I tried to write.

So that's been in the back of my mind for a long time. More recently, I have been doing a lot of research on Internet marketing. This led me to storytelling. I have become really interested in the 30-60 second stories that are given in commercials. Companies pay big bucks to air commercials and those advertising guys have to get their message over with strong instant impact. Otherwise, they don't cut through the cultural bombardment of modern life.

Looking up where to find information on this led me to TV Tropes. (Actually, I was researching MacGuffin to see how it is used in commercials.)

I wasn't impressed, though. Just look at that name, TV Tropes. Doesn't it look boring? Doesn't it seem like something involving fan fiction or bloopers or whatever? That's exactly what I thought when I first saw it. Frankly, I clicked on it just to be complete. Just in case there might be an obscure piece of information I was looking for buried somewhere.

When I got to the front page, I didn't see anything particularly earth-shattering. An introduction, a few ads and some navigation. (yawn)

I looked at the left side-bar and went down to Commercials.

Woah... Wait a minute! Did I see Characterization, Narrative Devices, Plots, Settings, Comic Book, Videogame, Betrayal, Laws and Formulas, Truth and Television, etc.. mixed with a buttload of other stuff? Dayaaamm, there's a lot.

I clicked on Commercials.

I stopped and stared...

I was stupified...

IT'S ALL THERE!

I've got to repeat that.

IT'S ALL THERE!

Everything I've been looking for. Not just for my project, but for fiction writing. For cliches. For basic commercial types. Hell, even for weasel words and understanding why schlock works so well, despite people knowing it's schlock. Great ideas and techniques, too.

I thought this was too good to be true, so I started clicking on items and reading. There are so many cross-links in each article that I kept clicking and reading and clicking and reading and clicking and reading. I spent several hours without even realizing it.

Here's the great part. Whoever runs this site (I think it's a dude named Sockatume, or maybe he just belongs to a group, I haven't had time to find out) has a lot of time to devote to it and he is a genius who loves this stuff. He also bashes hype, even as he explains it. And since this is a Wiki where users can contribute, every concept is illustrated with countless examples from all over the popular culture.

One hard part is that there is a lot of jargon. At least it's cool-sounding jargon and it is explained if you click on the link that leads to the article explaining it.

And he takes stuff and spins it on its head. Have you ever heard of a Plot Coupon? This is "A thing that a character needs to obtain in order to cash it in for a plot resolution." (It can be a MacGuffin, but is slightly different.)

How about Polish The Turd? (Pardon my French, but that's the way it's given.) This is pretty self-explanatory, but when you look, you see all the gimmicks the industry uses to sell crap. (The crap's not important. The gimmicks are. If you know what works on crap and you produce great stuff, you are in a marvelous position to choose the techniques that are appropriate and actually sell your stuff competently on the free market.)

Do you need to know about Plots? How about a list of over 500 different types with explanations, resources and examples? That's too many? How about Tobias's excellent 20 master plots that I discussed in another thread? It's there. Or how about a summary of Christopher Booker's The Seven Basic Plots, together with well humored complaint about the size (if you click on "long book," you come to the article called "Door Stopper"), and the Jungian psychology. Or how about some more stuff? There's oodles.

Need to know about the five basic kinds of hero in a Band of Five? And the sixth ranger who later joins? How about the evil counterparts and even a Moral Event Horizon for the backstory of villains? (This gives the approach and crossing of the point-of-no-return where the bad guy can no longer be redeemed.)

There's also a thing called Troperville, which includes a forum and lots of other goodies. I looked at the section called "Writer's Block" in a thread called "Six word stories, written by Tropers." It starts with a six-word story by Hemingway (written on a dare): "For sale: children's shoes. Never worn."

Dayaamm! That is a story...

There's even a Story Generator in the "Toys" section. And I'm salivating about getting into the music stuff. (I have been purposely holding off on that one...)

Now for the acid test. Have they ever heard of Ayn Rand over there? Yup. Actually one of the better short articles I have read on her: Ayn Rand.

I cracked up when it said that Rand and Objectivism are polarizing and often result in "Internet Backdraft." If you click on the link with that name (like I said, there are cross-links all over the place), you get the following at the start of an article: "Poor, innocent, hapless newbie wanders into a forum and wonders aloud if that guy in that show should be with that girl in that show. The forum erupts into flames, igniting all the boards that deal with the show, which ignites whole sections of the Internet into a blazing Inferno. The poor, innocent, hapless newbie has opened the door, causing an Internet Backdraft."

That's Objectivism, all right...

In the Useful Notes on Objectivism, it was a relief to read the following coming from an independent site: "Some of her [Rand's] enemies distort her ideas into Strawman Political parodies, and often her own writing doesn't help the matter. Her summaries of Objectivism were usually written in a non-academic, dramatic style, which is good for sustaining reader interest but not good for fine distinctions or clarifications. Additionally, her own vocabulary was somewhat idiosyncratic and often resulted in her positions being mis-characterized. This is bad for every person that wishes to engage with Rand's ideas. Her critics lose out by not actually combating her real ideas, appearing intellectually dishonest. Her supporters lose out by having their beliefs defamed and twisted beyond recognition. Those people that are simply curious about what she said get false information."

Also, on the article dealing with Atlas Shrugged, it was delightful seeing Rand's stuff put into popular culture stereotypes using TV Tropes jargon. Here are just a few of the characters in Atlas for a taste. Please remember that the jargon terms are not derogatory put-downs, but instead concepts, each with a definition, discussion and examples. I won't give the links here, though. This thing I'm writing is long enough as it is.

John Galt - Almighty Janitor, also King Incognito
Ragnar Danneskjold - BadAss Bookworm
Dr. Robert Stadler - Broken Pedestal, also Fallen Mentor (to Galt, Danneskjold, and d'Anconia)
Dr. Floyd Ferris - Complete Monster, also Smug Snake
Orren Boyle - Evil Counterpart (to Hank Rearden)
Eddie Willers (at the end) - Honor Before Reason
Midas Mulligan - Insult Backfire (on the name change from Michael)
Tony the "Wet Nurse" - Redemption Equals Death
Lee Hunsacker - Straw Loser
John Galt's Radio Speech - The Reason You Suck Speech
Lillian Rearden - The Vamp
James and Dagny Taggart; and Phillip and Hank Rearden - Cain and Abel

You get the idea.

Two more things, then I'm done for now.

The first is that this whole site is under a Creative Commons license, meaning you can use parts of it on your sites and in your own work royalty-free (but you need to use it with attribution).

The second is that, if you are a writer, you are interested in Objectivism, and you are stuck because the ideas and the characters/plots never really work, try reading some of this stuff and inverting it or playing around with it. That should get you unstuck in a hurry. I believe this is exactly what Ayn Rand did in Hollywood with the resources she had there.

It's a shame she did not teach it that way (I'm not a big fan of how she taught writing, even for Romantic Realism), but there it is. Now it doesn't matter. TV Tropes is a resource where doing the inversion thing is so easy, you don't need a teacher. And you can get a decent education on writing for free to boot: for TV, movies, radio, comic books, videogames, and other stuff including just plain old books.

Michael

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Michael,

Thanks for the link. I'll be sure to browse it when I have the time. Sounds like the mother lode of writing. I'm curious to see if there's a section that gives examples on how to find time to write amid the chaotic schedule of life.

~ Shane

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You're just now discovering TV Tropes? It's all over the Net. So much so that I'm among those who's already tired unto mental exhaustion of seeing it.

Don't get me wrong, it's a great resource for cross-referencing popular-culture creative techniques. The problem is that too many end up treating it as a key to the entire universe of thought.

I can't count how many people I've encountered — dozens, by now — who amass a sizable presence in a forum by using TV Tropes to express every single one of their points. Not a sentence is composed, about a written work under discussion, that doesn't have two or three links to various tropes within it. I'm not exaggerating.

What this creates is a choppy attempt at "writing" that only reflects how others have condensed human behavior into a series of clichés or fuzzy archetypes. A consistent, straightforward, genuinely original thought is beyond such people.

All of their pseudo-writing evokes "the senseless infinity you get from two mirrors facing each other across a narrow passage. Usually in the more vulgar kind of hotels. Reflections of reflections and echoes of echoes." (Dominique to Peter in The Fountainhead.)

TV Tropes is too easily misused to write by adopting a second-hand Webified view of existence, as a substitute for genuine observation and analysis. Citation and linkage is a tool for amplifying and substantiating one's conceptual work. It's not a proper substitute for such work.

Of course, this isn't confined to TV Tropes. I just shot down a commentary on another site that referred to Wikipedia text as "settling the argument," when it is too often an average drawn upon a crowd's misinformation. These sites are tools, not alternatives to firing up one's own neurons.

Edited by Greybird
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Steve,

I agree that Wikis are mixed bags in that mediocre thinkers try to use them for their own thinking. Also, the information is always of a mixed quality.

I think the best part of a Wiki is that it does not allow an academic with delusions of grandeur try to control newcomers to an issue by presenting only his pet theory and cutting off access to further information. That was a problem when we only had books. Now, with the Internet, usually you get several competing theories, history, examples, etc. And that's a really good thing.

My own attitude is that Wikis like Wikipedia and TV Tropes serve as an excellent introduction to an issue, but a poor final word on it. I like the overviews a lot. And I really like the links that often come included since they are screened for quality. That's where someone truly interested can start digging below the surface.

For instance, there is an article that I absolutely fell in love with that I found on TV Tropes. It was linked from the article on Plot Coupon--a 1986 article where this term was coined: The Well-Tempered Plot Device by Nick Lowe. The funny part is that this article is about how to write like a hack, not how to write well. Obviously this is a bit tongue-in-cheek. But still, the information Lowe gives can be used easily to write hack works.

Here are a few quotes (sorry, I just can't resist--and I can't recommend enough reading the entire article).

There's a curious bias in the vernacular of critical discussion towards the qualities that make a book good. Most of the language traditionally used to describe a book's achievement has to do with its positive qualities: the plot, characterization, style, ideas, significance. Moreover, it's a bias that carries over into all those gruesome handbooks on How To Write Totally Brilliant Novels and Win Big Cash Literary Prizes. The reason nobody's yet become a big time novelist by reading up on Diane Doubtfire is just that all the advice in such booklets is directed towards getting you to write a book full of plot, characterization, style, ideas, significance. In short, a good book.

Now, it strikes me that this is completely misconceived. You've only got to look around you to realize that most books that get published are NOT good. This simple point makes a nonsense of conventional criticism, which lacks any sort of vocabulary to discuss badness in any meaningful way. And yet badness is the dominant quality of contemporary literature, and certainly of SF. All orthodox criticism can say of a truly awful book is that the characterization is terrible, or the use of the English language makes your bowels move of themselves. It fails completely to grasp that bad writing is governed by subtle rules and conventions of its own, every bit as difficult to learn and taxing to apply as those that shape good writing.

. . .

Here we have two of the most accomplished of contemporary bad writers inadvertently showing off one of the most valued qualities in their art. I refer, of course, to predictability. ... You think I'm jesting when I speak of an Art of the Predictable, but if you think about it it is an art. The grammar of cliché is a language all of its own that's never had the study it deserves. How is it that we learn to spot the ending in advance? how do we know when a particular creaky old line is about to get trotted out? how do we come to anticipate the obvious platitudinous moral the story's setting up? In the same way as we learn a language, by exposure to so many examples of usage that our brains construct, unknown to our conscious minds, an internal grammar of how they're used in practice. ... And this is what I mean when I say there are rules governing bad writing that you simply have to learn if you're to become a successful manufacturer of exploitation fiction. ... The publishers know the public knows what it wants: it wants more of the same. Safe books. No surprises. Familiar surroundings from page one. And this means that even writers with considerable literary pretensions have had to learn the Art of the Predictable as part of the basic equipment of their trade.

. . .

The most famous plot device in recent SF is the Babel fish, the joke about which is that it's such an obvious plot device that it implies the existence of an author. But the term is a flexible one, and I'm going to use a number of more specialized terms for some of the more specialized varieties of device. The Babel fish is an instance of the plot device at its simplest: a little bit of technology or whatever introduced into the story's world for the sole point of overcoming a little technical difficulty like the fact the characters can't speak to one another. All these FTL drives, instant translators, oxygen pills, and so forth: contrivances so basic to getting interplanetary stories off the ground that we no longer really worry about their implausibility.

. . .

No Emperor could hold the throne unless he also held the Black Star...." which means that the wicked Trotskyite rebels that have temporarily overrun the kingdom will be overcome so long as the goodies retain the Black Star. Notice that the only causal connection between possession of the Black Star and victory is that enforced by "the Gods", for whom of course read "the author", and you perhaps begin to see why I like to term this kind of thing Collect-the-Coupons plotting. It would be much too complicated to have three goodies overcome the whole usurping army, or at any rate it would be far beyond the plotting powers of a Lin Carter. So what you do instead is write into the scenario one or more Plot Coupons which happen to be "supernaturally" linked to the outcome of the larger action; and then all your character have to do is save up the tokens till it's time to cash them in. Obviously, this is an artifice which lends itself particularly well to fantasy writing, and is capable of widely varying subtlety of application. I think The Lord of the Rings, or Lord of the Plot Coupons, is the chief villain here, unless you want to trace it back to Wagner and his traditional sources.

. . .

At any rate, there's another variety of ingenious plot device that's closely related to collecting the coupons, and that's Saving the Vouchers. As the name suggests, it's an activity that can amount to the same thing if your plot tokens happen to have an effective power of their own. A Plot Voucher is one of those useful items that is presented to the hero at the start of his adventure with a purpose totally unspecified, that turns out at an arbitrary point later in the story to be exactly what's needed to get him out of a sticky and otherwise unresolvable situation. ("This voucher valid for one [1] awkward scrape. Not transferable." Young Dirk stared at the object in bewilderment. "But what does it do?", he asked, putting it reluctantly away in his pouch. "Ah," said the old sage, "I am not at liberty to tell you that. But when the time comes, you will know its purpose.")

. . .

Even so, there are looser and lazier plot devices even than the voucher system. Don't forget that if you're absolutely stuck for anything for your characters to do, you can always issue them with little plot algorithms prescribing a sequence of more or less pointless tasks that they have to fulfil in order to achieve their end.

. . .

But perhaps the supreme manifestation of the plot deviser's art, and the point where hackwork shades over into genius by virtue of the sheer inspired brilliance with which the unwritten rules of short-cut plot creation are exploited, is what I call the Universal Plot Generator. A Plot Generator is a device written into your scenario that will create further stories as often as required, while laying no restrictions whatever on the kind of story produced. ... Anyway, the first of DC's great plot generators is almost too famous to warrant discussion, except that the sheer artistry of the concept is rarely appreciated in full. I'd like you to think for a moment about red kryptonite. There was a time when the hues and varieties of kryptonite were being boosted daily by new kryptonological discoveries, but I think green and red were the only ones that really lasted the course. The effects of red kryptonite, you remember, were as follows. Each individual chunk would affect Superman, but no-one else, with a completely unpredictable effect that would last exactly forty-eight hours. He would then revert to normal and that particular chunk of red K could never affect him again. The brilliance of this only becomes fully apparent when you translate it all into plot terms; because forty-eight hours happens to be the average timespan of a story in a DC comic. What red kryptonite amounts to is a random element in your scenario that can be brought on at any time and introduce any daft plot idea the writer happens to have kicking about; and at the end of the story it will disappear from the continuity as if it had never been.

. . .

Sometimes, however, even the Universal Plot Generator breaks down. ... If you follow the handbook, you'll find there's a plot device even for this – when the author has no choice but to intervene in person. Obviously, this requires a disguise, unless you're terribly postmodernist. The disguise favoured by most writers, not unnaturally, tends to be God, since you get the omnipotence while reserving the right to move in mysterious ways and to remain invisible to mortal eyes. ... But actually, it's not always necessary for the author to put in an appearance himself, if only he can smuggle the Plot itself into the story disguised as one of the characters. Naturally, it tends not to look like most of the other characters, chiefly on account of its omnipresence and lack of physical body. It'll call itself something like the Visualization of the Cosmic All, or Seldon's Plan, or The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, or the Law, or the Light, or the Will of the Gods; or, in perhaps its most famous avatar, the Force.

. . .

For instance, Lionel Fanthorpe could never have existed in any genre but SF. Everyone knows, I imagine, the story of the Flaz Gaz Heat Ray, perhaps the most outrageous deus ex machina ending in all literature. There the heroes were, stranded deep in an enemy sector of space, surrounded by an entire enemy fleet with the guns trained on them, when the maestro realized all of a sudden he had only one page left to finish the book. Quick as a flash, the captain barks out: "It's no use, men. We'll have to use the Flaz Gaz Heat Ray." "Not – not the Flaz Gaz Heat Ray!" So they open up this cupboard, and there's this weapon that just blasts the entire fleet into interstellar dust. One almighty zap and the thousand remaining loose ends are quietly incinerated. Where, but in SF, could you do that?

. . .

May the Plot be with you.

This has to be one of the funniest essays I have read in a long time. I can easily see someone (Soul-Of-A-Hack) with a half-baked idea reading it and having a huge "Aha!" moment, then picking up this tool to forge his half-baked masterpiece.

The good thing is that this stuff can be integrated into a wider theme, thus be used competently. Atlas Shrugged certainly has a plot coupon, but it's a virtual one. The coupon is realizing the true nature of the social parasite and sanction of the victim--and it gets redeemed by taking Galt's oath. The prize is getting into Galt's Gulch. Galt covertly visits all kinds of good productive people to give them their coupons, with Dagny hot on his heels. Until she gets her own coupon, of course. :)

I don't think I would have ever come across this article if not for TV Tropes.

I wonder what else is out there...

Michael

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Steve,

I agree that Wikis are mixed bags in that mediocre thinkers try to use them for their own thinking. Also, the information is always of a mixed quality.

I think the best part of a Wiki is that it does not allow an academic with delusions of grandeur try to control newcomers to an issue by presenting only his pet theory and cutting off access to further information. That was a problem when we only had books. Now, with the Internet, usually you get several competing theories, history, examples, etc. And that's a really good thing.

My own attitude is that Wikis like Wikipedia and TV Tropes serve as an excellent introduction to an issue, but a poor final word on it. I like the overviews a lot. And I really like the links that often come included since they are screened for quality. That's where someone truly interested can start digging below the surface.

I've found that Wiki is best for intensive knowledge of subjects that draw on geekery or fannishness for their base, and the less controversial and the less in the academic mainstream, the better, because it's usually taken in hand by people who have the geekery or fannishness necessary for the subject.

Of course, this does not always apply. For instance, the articles on Objectivism--which ought to (in terms of explaining what Objectivism says and what Rand did and wrote) be non-controversial and are not exactly academic mainstream...

For instance, there is an article that I absolutely fell in love with that I found on TV Tropes. It was linked from the article on Plot Coupon--a 1986 article where this term was coined: The Well-Tempered Plot Device by Nick Lowe. The funny part is that this article is about how to write like a hack, not how to write well. Obviously this is a bit tongue-in-cheek. But still, the information Lowe gives can be used easily to write hack works.

The good thing is that this stuff can be integrated into a wider theme, thus be used competently. Atlas Shrugged certainly has a plot coupon, but it's a virtual one. The coupon is realizing the true nature of the social parasite and sanction of the victim--and it gets redeemed by taking Galt's oath. The prize is getting into Galt's Gulch. Galt covertly visits all kinds of good productive people to give them their coupons, with Dagny hot on his heels. Until she gets her own coupon, of course. :)

I don't think I would have ever come across this article if not for TV Tropes.

I wonder what else is out there...

Michael

AS actually has plenty of Venerable Plot Devices. For instance, the tunnel disaster is the result of one--Foolhardy or Malevolent Character Insists On Doing Something Dangerous Despite Being Warned With Inevitable Consequences. Ferris's weapon is a Venerable Plot Device all on its own (see the "Death Star" for a modern and more powerful version), and the eventual catastrophe with it is really just another variation on the FOMCIODSDDBWIIC Plot Device used in the tunnel disaster. The Incognito Sage Wandering Around and Getting People To Do Things is another one, and so is The Hero/Heroine Pursuing the Incognito Sage As He Wanders About Believing Him To Be A Villain Until He/She Discovers The Incognito Sage's True Nature...and so on. If you want to have some fun someday, go through TV Tropes looking for how many Venerable Plot Devices Rand made use of in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged (although TV Tropes probably doesn't use the names I just gave these examples).

Of course, while almost all bad literature makes use of VPDs, so does most great literature. You pointed out in the post that started this thread how Rand took many cliches and turned them on their head to turn out a great book. I don't think that AS is that great a book, but the methodology applies to most great writers: it's not whether a VPD is used, but how effectively and what new twist is made to make the VPD seem fresh and non-cliched.

Jeffrey S.

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I also found TV TROPES some time back. It has been interesting entertainment.

If you want to be commercially successful, reaching into the Bag of Tropes like Felix the Cat with his

Wonderful Bag of Tricks, is one way to do it. Peter Keating built via architectural tropes.

I cannot remember if it was F. Scott Fitzgerald or T. S. Eliot, but someone said that if you find an interesting turn of phrase in someone else's work, then don't use it: it's already been done.

In the 200 or so works I published, only two were fiction. One of them was a retelling of "Red Riding Hood." The other was original and paid five times more.

The market is always right.

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Have you ever wondered why Objectivist fiction is generally so bad? I mean outside of Ayn Rand's works?

No, I never wondered because the reason is painfully obvious: Randroid copies, however inspired by the internal need for sincere flattery, are repetitions.

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Have you ever wondered why Objectivist fiction is generally so bad? I mean outside of Ayn Rand's works?

No, I never wondered because the reason is painfully obvious: Randroid copies, however inspired by the internal need for sincere flattery, are repetitions. (Well, that, and the fact that the people are idiots...)

[Next morning...]

Allow me to clarify.

In the first place, those who are attracted to the ideas of Ayn Rand admire the philosophy, not the fiction. The story is just a better way to explain the abstract ideas: Show; don't tell. One writer whose work I simply do not like is Toni Morrison. She has a Nobel Prize in Literature. The stories are sad and painful, dingy gray Cleveland at its proletarian worst. But the writing is superb. As soon as my eyes fell to the page, the masterpiece was apparent. The same can be said for Saul Bellow. His stories are boring, but he tells them expertly. You don't get that with Ayn Rand. She is a good writer. At times, she is superb. Some passages are examples of the best writing we know. But, like Frank Lloyd Wright's leaking roofs, acolytes do not see the flaws.

Also, as this is about tropes, that some of Ayn Rand's devices were derivative is known. Garret Garet's The Driver and The Secret of the League by Ernst Bramah are known. I also submit the 1936 movie Things to Come. When Raymond Massey's John Cabal is captured by Ralph Richardson's The Chief, we see John Galt and Cuffy Meigs. (Wings over the World is a league of airmen who withdrew to Basra while the world collapsed and now they are returning to rebuild.)

As for the philosophy, Ayn Rand's conceptualization and construction of egoism was original and has never been matched. Over the last four years, especially, I sought out materials from which to write about ethical egoism. (My first class in criminology was "Ethics for Law Enforcement.") What exists aside from Ayn Rand is thin gruel. But there were others. Aristippus of Cyrene (also his daughter Arete, and his grandson Aristippus) was a pioneer. Francis Bacon is not an egoist, but in his works I found curious references to "atheists" of his time, a thread I have not followed. Everyone reading this surely knows others. That said, Ayn Rand, nonetheless developed an original philosophical system. The philosophy of Objectivism -- not the fiction -- drew admirers.

What MSK means by "Objectivist fiction" needs clarification. Really, there is no such thing. (Existentialist fiction is known. Logical Positivism has none.) There are fans of Objectivism who write, publish and post fiction in imitation of Ayn Rand's style. However, The Romantic Manifesto Ayn Rand suggested other ideas. I know of no other examples of fiction which instantiate that theory. Moreover, the exemplars that Ayn Rand offered -- and honestly, she did not tout her own work -- are, as she called them, "bootleg." Corn liquor has its uses. Bathtub gin does not. But they came from a time and place when alcohol was not legal. The claim that the Establishment prevents good literature is hollow. It has always been possible to get good work to willing readers, with the internet, all the more so. We have enjoyed no blossoming of "Objectivist fiction."

In science, there is an unresolvable debate: Is the absence of evidence evidence of absence? Is there "Objectivist fiction"?

Edited by Michael E. Marotta
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  • 4 months later...

Michael,

I wrote the Useful Notes page on Objectivism. Glad you like it! I wanted to keep it as impartial as I could, and I used conventional academic verbiage (which for me is easier than Objectivese). I also wrote their Useful Notes page on Political Ideologies.

-Andrew

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