Daily Archives: October 28, 2006

Insta-review

Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds has nice things to say about The Android’s Dream:

I thought it was quite good, though it was nothing like Old Man’s War or Ghost Brigades, it was more lighthearted and focused on interstellar diplomacy. Not quite in the vein of Keith Laumer’s Retief stories, but occasionally I got a bit of that feel.

I think that’s about right. It’s also not the first time that Laumer and Retief have been namechecked vis a vis Android’s Dream. Glenn’s right in that the storytelling is rather different than in the Retief series, but inasmuch as that series is science fiction’s best-known series involving interstellar diplomacy, SF-oriented reviewers are likely to triangulate off of it when talking about TAD, especially since both have a satirical edge to them. Not counting Baen’s 2002 posthumous collection of Retief stories, it’s been more than a dozen years since the last novel featuring the character. This particular SF field has laid fallow for a bit, which makes it fun to play in.

Those of you who have not heard of or read the Retief series, the Baen Free Library has the 2002 Retief! compilation for your perusal. Have fun with it.

Some Encouraging News For Fans of the Separation of Powers

According to this CNN poll, “Sixty-seven percent of 1,013 people surveyed by Opinion Research Corp. on behalf of CNN said federal judges — and the decisions they make — should not be subject to more control.” Yay, Americans! You’re getting your sanity back! It does seem like the phrase “activist judges” and much of the demogogic, unconstitutional rabble-rousing that accompanied it has lost some of its savor recently; likewise, I don’t think the folks who have been planning to use the recent ruling in New Jersey to pump some life into the phrase are finding it particularly useful at this point in time. I am naturally delighted about this.

Leaving aside the on-the-ground red v. blue politics at the moment, I’ll tell you honestly that one of the more heartening things about this political cycle is the felling that I get that people of most political stripes are backing away from the precipice. This is to say they’re taking a good look at Constitutional structures like separation of powers and seeing them as features, rather than as bugs, which is how they’ve been generally labeled over the last few years.

This feeling is entirely anecdotal; I have no proof of it, and what proof we’ll get of it will take time to arrive. But let’s say I’m cautiously optimistic. I feel like someone with a flooded house, who notices that the water level is two inches off the high water mark and sees blue sky out the window. I’ll worry about the flood damage later; just the hopeful thought that the water is coming down is enough for now.