Important to today, I think, is that the aliens in Ossian's Ride are refugees: Henry Farrell: Ossian’s Ride: "In 1959 the famous British astronomer Fred Hoyle published his novel, Ossian’s Ride... a future Ireland miraculously transformed into a technological superpower.... Hoyle wasn’t really interested in talking about Ireland.... Instead, he wanted to score points in an internal fight over British identity... responding to the Christian apologist C.S. Lewis, who regularly denounced Hoyle as a secular atheist on radio and had written his own science fiction novel, That Hideous Strength, a decade before. The villain of Lewis’s book was a sinister institute called NICE, which Satanic aliens wanted to impose contraception, lesbianism, secularism and surrealist art on an unsuspecting Britain.... Hoyle riposted with a novel where rational and benevolently ruthless aliens used an organization called ICE to pull the priest-ridden republic next door into the technological age. His satirical portrait of Ireland told British readers that the world was being transformed around them, and that even their most backwards seeming neighbor would outstrip them if they didn’t embrace modernity. The irony of history is that Hoyle’s parody is now the truth...

...Today’s Ireland has its highways and its contraceptives. The referendum for marriage equality passed in a landslide, and the Taoiseach is a gay man. Ireland’s voters have embraced modernity with enthusiasm and a barely tolerable degree of self-congratulation. Irish Catholic reactionaries are a tiny, bitter minority. It wasn’t NICE or ICE that transformed Ireland, but the Treaty of Nice and the other European treaties before and after. European funding helped build roads, European market access helped build companies and inward investment, and European tax and regulatory loopholes helped build the Irish technology industry. European politics also leached the poison from the Anglo-Irish relationship....

Now it is Britain that has fallen back into the nightmare of history. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson models himself on Winston Churchill, while Jacob Rees-Mogg, that ungodly hybrid of Bertie Wooster and Roderick Spode, pines openly for the Victorian era. Pro-Brexit conservatives want to reverse the last few several decades, and return to a better era for Britain.... The fight between Lewis and Hoyle has been renewed. Daniel Hannan, a Lewis fan and key intellectual architect of Brexit, boasts that he has used the phrase “that hideous strength” to describe the European Union’s threat to Britain for over twenty years....

From the perspective of Ireland, there is nothing mysterious at all. No diabolical forces need be invoked: Europe has helped Ireland become a modern and truly independent country, and most Irish people are happy that it has done so. They look at Britain as Britain once looked at Ireland; a grotesque and somewhat terrifying example of how badly things can turn out in a country not unlike, and intimately connected to their own. Tomorrow, Hoyle’s intellectual descendants are gathering in Dublin for the 77th World Science Fiction Convention...


#books #globalization #neofascism #noted #orangehairedbaboons #sciencefiction

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