[Scene: Felapton Towers – night time]
[Camestros Felapton – in bed snoring audibly]
[Timothy the Talking Cat] [WHACK!]
[Cam] OW! WHAT THE F…
[Cam] STOP HITTING MY NOSE!
[Tim] Oh good, I was hoping you were still awake.
[Cam] I’M NOT STILL AWAKE!
[Tim] I’m glad you asked…
[Cam] I didn’t ask anything!
[Tim] So you know how this is the new Golden Age of Science Fiction?
[Cam] NO! It isn’t! It is [checks clock] TWO AM! Two AM is not the Golden Age of ANYTHING! And, and, you can’t HAVE a NEW Golden Age. The very metaphor OF a Golden Age is that is a lost time of greatness IN THE PAST. You can’t have another one without invalidating THE WHOLE IDEA of a “GOLDEN AGE”.
[Tim] So as the pre-eminent editor of science fiction in this new Golden Age, I was thinking: “What have I not yet achieved?”
[Cam] [groaning] Oh I see. You’ve woken me up to make some tortured reference to the Campbell Award and how they should rename all the awards after you. It’s late. I’m tired. Let’s just assume we’ve done all the banter and I give in and pretend all the awards are named after you.
[Tim] What? No. Don’t be ridiculous. Firstly I’m going to name all the awards after YOU and then I’m going to cancel you on Twitter and then you won’t exist anymore.
[Cam] That’s not how that works but if that’s your plan, good luck and goodnight and I’ll see you in the morning.
[Tim] But you haven’t heard my plan yet!
I have advance news that The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel goes to…Timothy the Talking Cat!
The committee recognised Timothy’s unique contribution to economics for his seminal paper “If you can make more profit by making things cheaper then I’ll make the most money for pricing my books at zero dollars – no honestly, it makes sense if you think about and it’s not just the catnip talking“.
While critics claim that Timothy’s model of commodity pricing leads to bankruptcy and is “obvious nonsense” others have been impressed by the forceful nature of his arguments and his influence on world leaders.
I’m told the fascinating people of North America consume this highly ritualised form of cheese. Rarely seen outside of the mysterious USA it is regarded with suspicion by European palettes. However, to better understand the exotic and strange culture of ‘Americans’, I intend to eat some of this later.
Jason Sanford has written an extensive discussion on his Patreon account about the long-running allegations that Arthur C Clarke sexually abused children – the post is freely available https://www.patreon.com/posts/30298650
The range of allegations aren’t new but until 2017 they were mired in within the ugly world of British tabloid journalism. The tabloids of the UK have rarely been a great source of truth but worse than that, their selective reporting and selective suppression of stories create a fog of uncertainty. That very fog was by design rather than a side-effect, as it is intended to create an atmosphere of rumour and weakly substantiated stories that can drive stories over decades.
As Sanford points out 2017 marks a change with Peter Troyer’s account here: https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/bjxp5m/we-asked-people-what-childhood-moment-shaped-them-the-most Clarke isn’t named but the description of the notable person living in Sri Lanka is clearly Clarke.
Clarke’s influence on science fiction is indisputable and it is hardly surprising that a notable science fiction award is named after him, specifically: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_C._Clarke_Award The question is whether it is time for a name change?
I think the simple answer is yes. Troyer’s account alone should be sufficient to make people reconsider whether an award should be named after Clarke. People have been sceptical of the allegations towards Clarke because those allegations were seen as coming from UK tabloids and/or arising from hostility to Clarke being gay but we can dismiss tabloid journalism as a source and still look at the core claims.
Changing the name of the award is wise. Indeed, not creating these kinds of institutional memorials is itself wise. Naming a writing award after a famous writer (even one of unimpeachable reputation) is a poor memorial to the writer. There is also something I find unsettling about other people attaching one writer’s name to a different book that the writer could never have read. It is liking getting a writer’s endorsement from the grave without the writer’s permission — one of the reasons I was not keen on their being an award named after Ursula Le Guin.
If people are going to remember the influence of a writer it won’t be because they have an award named after them. If a writer is going to become obscure, an award named after them won’t stop it. I think it would be wise for other awards to consider moving away from the Big Famous Writer Award style of title in general.
A reader asks me:
You are lucky that your cat can talk and is so ready to share his views. I never know what my cat is thinking. Can you share some of your experience with Timothy and give us all some insights into the inner lives of our cats?”
I’m always happy to help and I’ve compiled this chart to help you match your cat’s facial expression to their thought process. Obviously this is based on Timothy and your own cat maybe different.