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Journal of No. 118

July 15th, 2010

Old Maps of Science Fiction @ 07:21 pm

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via Improbable Research...
New Maps of Science Fiction (1977)

"Before we could analyze the 27 x 130 = 3,510 bytes of data generated by these questions, we had to punch the questionnaire responses onto IBM cards and feed them to a computer."

The researchers queried 130 fen about authors and generated interesting data like:

But it's also interesting to get a reading on fen circa 1977 with their favorite authors:

1. Isaac Asimov
2. Arthur C. Clarke
3. Robert A. Heinlein
4. Larry Niven
5. Poul Anderson
6. Theodore Sturgeon
7. Roger Zelazny
8. Fritz Leiber
9. J. R. R. Tolkien
10. Ursula K. LeGuin
11. Robert Silverberg
12. Clifford D. Simak
13. Jack Vance
14. Harlan Ellison
15. Frank Herbert
16. John Brunner
17. Philip Jose Farmer
18. Anne McCaffrey
19. Samuel R. Delany
20. Gordon R. Dickson
21. Philip K. Dick
22. H.G. Wells
23. R. A. Lafferty
24. John W. Campbell
25. Jules Verne
26. Edgar R. Burroughs
27. H. P. Lovecraft
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Date:July 16th, 2010 09:23 am (UTC)
Until I read the article I will have no idea what a fen is.

That said, I find that tight grouping on Dickson, Heinlein and Anderson fascinating.

I find myself wondering what they mean by "right wing." Part of me sees all of them as strongly ridiculously libertarian, but with the exception of Dickson, they both displayed some very liberal left wing social views.
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Date:July 16th, 2010 02:31 pm (UTC)
I find myself wondering what they mean by "right wing."

If I'm understanding their methodology, the right-wing value is not how the fans evaluate the authors, but how the fans evaluate their own political beliefs, then correlated with their author preferences. So those values are the positive or negative correlation between liking author X and self-identifying as conservative. And likewise for being pro hard science.

But it does seem to act fairly well as a proxy for the author's own beliefs, as far as I can tell. One possible exception might be HPL, who was pretty crusty and conservative (albeit not conventionally and his views certainly shifted a great deal over the course of his life - by the time of At the Mountains of Madness, he was fairly approving of the Old Ones' socialistic ways). I wonder if his work was just too weird to appeal to the conservative readers, and that's why he ends up on the liberal side of things.

Journal of No. 118