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In loyalty to our kind

In the early 1960s I read John Wyndham's The Chrysalids, a 1955 science fiction novel set in a post-apocalyptic rural Labrador with a warmer climate. Presumably in the wake of nuclear war, the culture is one of "genetic fundamentalism,"desperately holding the line against the mutated animals -- and children -- that keep popping up. Not surprisingly, the author of The Midwich Cuckoos (filmed as Village of the Damned) gives us the advent of tomorrow's telepathic super-kids. Near the end, one of them calmly states the inevitability of confrontation with the normals: "In loyalty to their kind, they cannot tolerate our rise. In loyalty to our kind, we cannot tolerate their obstruction."

In 1968, Jefferson Airplane (with Wyndham's permission) recast the story in "Crown of Creation." Midway through, singer Grace Slick delivers those lines, with "rise" changed to "minds," in her best oracle/priestess tone -- and whoa, did it go down well with us new-consciousness youth, now aka smug Boomers.

Beresford's The Hampdenshire Wonder, Olaf Stapledon's Odd John, Van Vogt's Slan, Dune, enduring SF and comix tropes all the way up through the next X-Men: we do love to turbocharge adolescent "Get out of the way, Gramps!" into historical inevitability. Back it up with Marx or Darwin, hot romanticism or cool technocracy: the old order passeth, and there is nothing new under the sun.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 26th, 2014 02:03 am (UTC)
Lots of people find it easier to create a new tribe to be on top of than to seek status in the old tribe. Hopefully we can minimize the damage they do in the process.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )