You Got To Move It Move It

There will be another post later, but I’m finishing entering edits into Darkship Renegades and I wanted to have this post up ASAP – at any rate this post is needed as a follow up to yesterday’s and yesterday’s discussion of what Human Wave is.

Taking Martin S’s point into consideration, that we don’t want to limit so much as to set free, I decided not to express these as rules, but as “You might be a Human Waver if–” (Now if someone can come up with funny drawings…)

Some people LIKE writing grey mush and we’re not forcing them to join our movement or denying their right to write what they very well want, just telling them “That’s your way, that’s not our way” and validating OUR way of doing things.  For too long writing what we do has been considered verboten or at best “stupid.”  By revealing the philosophical underpinnings of our way of writing, we will hopefully convince some reviewers and critics to consider that our way is as valid as what has been accepted as expression in Science Fiction and Fantasy (and other genres as well, because at least some of these apply there too.)  More importantly, by codifying and giving our principles a name, we will free other people to try it out.  And by linking our blogs and cross publicizing, we will perhaps confer upon our congeners a little advantage that, in these transformational times, might be enough to – if not surpass – at least stand up well next to the establishment mode of writing.

First – who CAN be a Human Waver?
Writers, of course, but also critics, reviewers, people interested in the future of science fiction and even (just) readers.  In these days of distributed connections and influence, “mere” readers who consciously decide to highlight the parts of the Human Wave that attract them in their Amazon reviews, or even to refer to the author as joining the Human Wave movement can do as much to publicize and expand and – yes – legitimize the movement as any of the professionals.

Now…  If you’re one of those above


– You like to write (or read) stories in which someone wins.

– You don’t think just making someone white, black, Asian, Hispanic, any other race or sub-race, alien, human, straight, gay, Western, non-western is enough to make him a villain.

– You don’t think just making someone white, black, Asian, Hispanic, any other race or sub-race, alien, human, straight, gay, Western, non-western is enough to make him a victim.

– You don’t think the purpose of a story is to deliver a message.  (The story can have a message, but that should be subordinate to the characters, plot, events, and it shouldn’t leave the reader feeling like he just read a very long pamphlet.)

– You think a great story can touch the chore of humanity and the human experience without being relevant to current political events or polemics.

– You think something should happen in a story.  Or something should have happened, the aftereffects of which are reverberating through the characters.  (It can work for short stories.)

– You think the writers’ job is to write and sell stories – not to (pick one) educate, elevate, raise the consciousness of the public, change the world, stop a war, start a war or any other quixotic, grandiose and unlikely aim.  (If you achieve any of those, great, but you won’t if you don’t sell.  And if you “just” sell a lot, the Human Wave movement salutes you.)

– As a writer, you are humbly aware that readers are sacrificing their beer money for your story.  As a reader, you don’t feel you owe a writer and have to read a book that’s a hard slog or no fun at all.

-Update:  You might be a human waver if you think Science, technology, guns commerce and even success are not inherently evil

(THANK you to Dave Freer for that last one which, yes, is important.)

– As a writer, reader, critique or reviewer, you do not sneer at success.  Yes, in the time when push worked, it was possible that a “mega block buster” simply made it because of distribution and access.  But barring that, if a book is selling, it is because people like it.  Congratulate the writer and move on.  If your wish is to tell people what they SHOULD like for their own good, then you’re probably NOT a Human Wave writer/critic/reader.

Okay, that should be enough to get you talking.  If one or more of you has problems with one or more bits, and can produce a convincing enough reason, I shall remove it.  If there’s a glaring omission not covered, let me know.

Things that remain to be done: getting some sort of aggregate site going to which people who identify with we band of brother… er… sis….  Er…  siblings can link their blogs.

Someone who will compile a list of reviewers or would-be reviewers who are willing to look at our stuff for the free books.

AND because every movement should have roots, perhaps a reading list of books of our writing forebears which writers/readers might be interested in checking out.  I’ll give my list in a comment later, but part of the reason I’d like this is that there are lacunae mile-wide in my reading.  Part of the reason I made do with French SF is that there was only ONE SF line in Portugal, it published one book a month.  Back list was notoriously hard to get, unless some friend’s parent happened to read SF and was willing to lend you his old collection (yes, I made friendships entirely based on that, like you wouldn’t!).  And at any rate, they didn’t translate nearly everything.  Which is to say, some of the names you guys bring up I’ve only vaguely heard of and never read.  For me and for the young as well as for those who will discover SF through us, a reading list of classics might be worth it.

Update 2 – I don’t think I’ll do another post today, unless it’s late at night.  Revised manuscript sent.  Chapters of Witchfinder to get in shape for human (and dragon) eyes.  Might happen, but I doubt it.  It’s too bad since I wanted to do a post on how to dissect trolls.

149 thoughts on “You Got To Move It Move It

  1. Okay, here are some ideas for the list.

    * Everything Heinlein wrote *except* _To Sail Beyond the Sunset_. Which might still be HW but I hated it.

    * Doc Smith

    * Louis L’Amour. (I have a theory that Westerns and SF are genetically similar, species of the same genus. Remind me to expound on that someday.)

    * Poul Anderson Tau Zero. Lots of Anderson is a good example.

    1. * Louis L’Amour. (I have a theory that Westerns and SF are genetically similar, species of the same genus. Remind me to expound on that someday.)*

      I would love to read your theory on this, as I write Westerns as well as SF! I’ve always felt they were similar, but never really put much thought into why I felt that way.

    2. * Louis L’Amour. (I have a theory that Westerns and SF are genetically similar, species of the same genus. Remind me to expound on that someday.)

      I hope you will. Whatever else, Louis L’Amour was a mighty good story teller.

      The Spouse, who turned me on to L’Amour, notes that SF and Westerns are similar in that they have been the last refuge of the heroic protagonist.

  2. Oh, Olaf Stapleton _Star Maker_. He’s kind of a goofy collectivist but he can’t help it; he’s a believer in ther things we call Human Wave.

  3. I’m a Human Waver! Yay! Also a member of John C. Wright’s “Space Princess” movement (the only one, actually, besides him). I’ve always wanted to belong to a movement, and now I have two!

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  5. Reading list

    I’d say there are two obvious authors:
    1) Heinlein
    Pretty much the archtype of what the movement is about. Obviously you should read the famous ones but really reading the entire oeuvre from rank beginner to not quite with it master is a good idea.
    2) Sir Pterry
    Great modern example. Albeit fantasy rather than SF

    And of course the authors who sign up for the Human Wave – particularly our proprietress, Kate Paulk and Dave Freer

    Beyond that it depends.
    Most books published by Baen would count. Ringo for sure. Bujold. Correia. Etc.
    Niven & Pournelle
    Anne McCaffrey probably

    Some older books that would be good:
    Colin Kapp’s Unorthodox Engineers is great – but effectively unobtainable. Though there’s a PDF of one of the stories here
    Some Asimov – maybe “The Gods Themselves”?
    H Beam Piper
    Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat

    I think some Kipling would be good though it isn’t – for the most part – SF. And you can get the lot in mobipocket format (I should get around to doing epub too) from

    There are probably others but that should keep people amused for a while

    1. Charlie mentioned Doc Smith. Which reminds me that I should have added AE Van Vogt. Particularly the Weapon Shops of Ishtar

  6. Pretty much anything by Niven, Pournelle, Barnes, Flynn, Niven & Pournelle, Niven & Barnes, Niven & Pournelle & Barnes, Niven & Pournelle & Flynn…

    Jack McDevitt is also very good in the grand old tradition.

  7. Heh. I just realized an entirely different perspective on the name Human Wave Science Fiction.

    I did a search on “Human Wave” “science fiction”, just to see how the topic might be spreading; and other than links directly related to Sarah’s post, pretty much every hit was the phrase “great human wave”, referring to the tactic of just throwing troops at the other side to inundate and overwhelm them.

    And then I realized: that’s a good analogy for what could happen. If enough people have enough pent-up desire for the kind of stories that HWSF is about, it could become a human wave in that sense. We’re not looking to overwhelm “the other side”, just to inundate writers with new readers and readers with new books.

  8. RE: You don’t think just making someone…, I would add:

    – You don’t think just making someone white, black, Asian, Hispanic, any other race or sub-race, alien, human, straight, gay, Western, non-western is enough to make him/her a hero or for that matter anything other than white, black Asian, Hispanic, any other race or sub-race, alien, human, straight, gay, Western, non-western, or whatever have you….

    I know it goes on a bit. How about single characteristics do not make one a villain, victim, hero, etc. (Even a single act of villainy, or having been victimized, or rising to an occasion. Well, possibly that would be too restrictive for short story purposes.) Oh, well, then. Never mind.

      1. Oh I’m just messing with you, I’s all of the above cepting maybe writer.

        We should also to that reading list “If it’s unrepentantly, gleefully pulp, it’s Human Wave.”

  9. Yes, yes, everything Sarah said, yes! Your list hit all the major points in my philosophy of reading/writing. These are things I look for in my reading, whether I’m reading something to review or just for pleasure, and what you describe is the type of thing I try to write.

    BTW, I blog about heroic fantasy and historical fiction at and science fiction at; the former is more active than the latter. I’ve put up links to this post and yesterday’s at Adventures Fantastic. ( I’ve got some of Sarah’s work in the stack for review later this year.

    As far as writers to suggest, here are some oldies but goodies: Henry Kuttner, C. L. Moore, Leigh Brackett, Edmond Hamilton, Robert E. Howard (the original, not the imitations), Harold Lamb, Dashiell Hammett. More recent authors that haven’t been mentioned include Alan Dean Foster, Jasper Kent, Douglas Hulick, Bradley P. Beaulieu, Martha Wells, Courtney Schaeffer, Charles Sheffield.

    1. um… somehow I think I should send you my first musketeers’ mystery to review, at least when we bring the rest of the series indie. Yeah, it’s a mystery. It’s also epic and historical. 🙂

      1. Sarah, the only reason I’m not running a third blog focusing on detective, mystery, and crime fiction is that I have to commit dayjobbery. I’d be delighted to read your musketeer mysteries. I do occasionally slip a mystery in to review from time to time.

  10. In my experience Science Fiction has room for all kinds of stories, all kinds of styles. It is probably one of the most unlimited categories out there. (Which probably contributes to the problems publishing houses have had with it, hard to niche.) I would suggest reading widely and variously.

    Of course Heinlein, that is a DUH if ever there was one. I guess I would want to know what makes you excited, what makes you want to ‘go there again’? (and a bit of the why…)

    1. I think yo’re making a very strong point here. We’re rejecting the notion that only certain kinds of stories are publishable, only certain thoughts are properly thinkable.

      1. Thank you. While there are certain elements that make a story SF, SF can overlap with romance, adventure, mystery, coming of age, whatever… It is a marvolous wide open corner of the writing world.

    2. Yes, *however* what we’re trying to, I think, is have a list of what like-minded people like. No different from Amazon’s lists, except this is about fiction, and sub-genres (SF/Fantasy; Mystery), and put together by people who (mostly) agree that they like a certain thing. If that ain’t you, don’t pay any attention to the list ;-).

      Otherwise, just tell someone, “Here’s the list of Congressional Library holdings. Have fun.” Kind of like giving them a dictionary because it contains all the words of all the other books…

      1. We’re doing both, I think. The Human Wave Manifesto is about rejecting the “thou shalt nots” of the SF Publishing Establishment. The Human Wave List is about naming those writers who we in the Human Wave accept as appropriate models for our fiction.

        I think.

        1. yep. (Almost unapproved it by accident. I’m not waking up today. If I unaprove you, unless you called me a loving daughter of a female dog or something equally uncalled for, just poke me and I’ll re-approve you. Fingers very fumbly) anyway, yeah, that’s exactly what we’re doing IMHO. And since this is my blog, I’m going to go all executiv-y and say “You got it.”

      2. I would not recommend everything in the Library of Congress. One of the reasons for Human Wave is to counter the great deal of drechlicheit out there.

        Do not get me wrong, I would really like having a ‘We greatly admire these authors who came before us, please read them list.’ I would enjoy it, at least when I wasn’t frustrated by the overwhelming of my precious reading list and time. I would be particularly interested if there were notes provided to explain why someone thought a particular piece is worth the reading.

        Still, I think that most avid writer or reader here would suggest that there are a couple things outside the immediate genre that contributed significantly to their formation — and I would be interested in knowing what these are as well. (And, consider, if you are want to write a SF mystery do you just look at SF?)

        1. I’ve written both SF and fantasy mysteries, the most recent being a who-dun-it fantasy that I’m trying to do a final edit on before sending ti out to beta readers. I don’t read as much mystery as I did before I started blogging, but I still read some, mostly short form. I find that I reach a point where I have to take a break from sf/f and read mysteries. Something in the subconscious demands it.

          1. Or vice versa. Right now my “blank the mind” reading is Romance, mostly because I don’t write it. (Not really. I certainly don’t write regencies.)

          2. Have you read Randall Garrett’s Lord Darcy mysteries? Alternate reality where magic developed instead of science (or rather, magic as science.) One terrific novel & several fine short stories.

      3. Well, golly – I’ve always LIKED reading the dictionary, esp. a good unabridged. Sure, the plotting is weak and characterization nearly non-existent … but it makes great reading!

        1. To quote Prinny:
          Well, now, look Dr. Johnson, I may be as thick as a whale omelette, but even I know that a book’s got to have a plot.

          Blackadder The Third, Ink and Incapability (From: Black-Adder The Whole Damn Dynasty 1485-1917)

          1. A plot/ A book I had to read for college — okay it was Portugal — not only did away with the plot, it did away with ALL movement. It was a book about two people sitting in a car talking. And the conversation didn’t move either. Think about it. Worse. They were proud of it. It was “experimental.” Don’t let your children grow up to be literature majors, even if it is through no fault of their own. (Mom wouldn’t let me be a stripper. You ONLY THINK I’m joking.)

            1. Dolly Parton tells the tale of walking in town with her mother when she was a little girl. She saw what she thought was the most beautiful, glamorous woman. She told her mother she wanted to grow up to look like that. Momma was NOT impressed, and her reaction was quite emphatic. Dolly may sometimes look like that woman, but she did not enter that woman’s profession. 🙂

  11. Here’s a bit of Steinbeck:


    But ‘Thou mayest’! Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win.”

    1. LOL. It’s not my word. It’s WordPress’s. It just means a moderator has to approve you the first time you comment. It’s to prevent spam attacks and… well… attacks.
      Unfortunately WordPress doesn’t let me edit their wording — or pay me to do it. (Sigh.)

      1. If there’s one thing I dislike, it is an immoderate moderator.

        Well, that and people who use “a” when the proper article is “an” …

        And spellcheckers that don’t recognize British variants …

        And people who steal (badly) from Monty Python routines for blog postery …

  12. I’ve taken a stab at my version of the Human Wave Manifesto here. Totally agree with H. Beam Piper as an exemplar of HWSF, and would like to mention Eleanor Cameron of The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet . It got me started on *my* life of crime, anyway, and might be good for training up aspiring junior members of the Human Wave.

    1. OH MY!!! I was happy as a clam, reading one delightful turn of phrase after another, and then it got kicked up yet another notch: Somebody knows about the PIG WAR!

      I agree with Charles Martin, I am in love. (No, not that way, silly.)

        1. No, I have never lived west of the eastern time zone. Although I have traveled a bit I have yet to tour any of the great Northwest. But I adore history. I first learned about the Pig War at a home school fair presentation in North Carolina nearly two decades ago .

  13. It is difficult to propose a list of recommended authors; like so many Oscar winners I greatly fear omitting anyone … and if I don’t, well, the list becomes overlong, don’t it? Much easier to let others propose lists and then inquire: you left off [BLANK] … how on earth could you leave out [BLANK]?

    Some non-SF reading I would recommend is Rascal, by Sterling North (one shudders to think what child protective custody services would do to that boy today), The Thread That Runs So True by Jesse Stuart, and Lawrence Ritter’s The Glory of Their Times.

  14. I absolutely love this! I can think of things to add to the “not automatic villain/victim” lists – like male/female, rich/poor, religious/atheist – but I understand about not wanting the list to get too long.

    As for authors: Pratchett. Bujold. Most of Asimov. Niven. Early Heinlein. Neil Gaiman. Jim Butcher. Elizabeth Moon. R A MacAvoy (Tea With the Black Dragon). Peter Beagle.

    YA and MG authors like Lloyd Alexander and Diana Wynne Jones – I think the reason a lot of adults are reading MG and YA (at least pre-Twilight YA) is that it still has to be fun and have a reasonably happy ending.

    The classics like Dumas and Sherlock Holmes, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens (okay he could get a bit ponderous and gloomy, but there was always a happy ending for the main character in there). (Interesting that old literature was also wildly popular at the time, unlike 20th/21st century lit.) The ghost stories of MR James, if you like things spooky.

  15. I just had a fiendishly clever promotional idea. We could do Burma Shave rhymes! E.g.

    Plucky human
    Saves the day
    Let your brain
    Come out and play

    Each line could be a link to somebody’s website, with the final line going to (of course) the site. To read the entire silly poem people would have to click through at least three more sites. Eyeballs! Delicious reader eyeballs!

  16. Here’s a question: If I have read (almost) everything in everybody’s lists posted here, and if I agree with (almost) all the statements made in the manifesti being built here, but out of a dozen-plus titles out so far, only one is SF-ish and one is fantasy-ish, then am I a Human Waver?

    As for the human wave/Human Wave thing, I thought that was deliberate. 🙂

    1. To get you started:

      Henry Kutner’s Robots Have No Tails is delightful fun. About an inventor who invents while many sheets to the wind, and then has to puzzle out what he invented afterwards. The Spouse and I spent ever so long looking for a copy of the song Saint James Infirmary because of him.

      Heinlein’s juveniles, particularly Citizen of the Galaxy, Have Spacesuit Will Travel, and Starbeast. I guess Double Star as well. Something to note about Have Spacesuit: I do believe that only Heinlein could spend five pages explaining the workings of a space suit so delightfully. When you finish with the juveniles start on the works for grown-ups.

      1. OOPS, sorry, if you were referring to your own writing I defer to Sabrina Chase’s answer below.

      2. Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. Yes, I’ve read all of Heinlein. In fact, Spacesuit is a book I have reread every year for 43 years straight. It was the book I was reading when it struck me out of the blue that someone had written this! Closely followed, of course, by I could do that.

        My point was that I’m not sure I’m writing Human Wave. My general belief is this: I’ll write what I want to write. You read what you want to read. When the two overlap, that’s a fine thing. But I would far rather that you read someone else’s YA fantasy about ducks who play baseball and enjoy reading it than that you read my dystopian, SF, western-ish, steampunk-ish alien invasion novel and not like it.

        There are too many books out there to waste time reading things you don’t like. As has been said somewhere in this comment thread, having fun is a full and sufficient defense.

        1. But I would far rather that you read someone else’s YA fantasy about ducks who play baseball and enjoy reading it than that you read my dystopian, SF, western-ish, steampunk-ish alien invasion novel and not like it.

          Well, considering the Books, Anime and Films I like who am I to say? I would probably prefer the later to the former, but you never know. It depends on the story, how it develops, what turns out — and whether it is well told. But something has to catch, and has been said by another, inspire, ‘Oh, this is so cool.’

          On the wonderful moment of discovery that books were written by someone, and that one could aspire to do the same: It is a shame that this feeling really cannot be recaptured. Unfortunately, in my case, there was what happened when I started to put the words down. I became a reader.

    2. I don’t see why not. At heart, Human Wave is not exclusive to SF/Fantasy. When reading your books do readers bounce up and down and say “that is SO COOL!!” at any point? Because “that is SO COOL!!” is the executive summary of what we are going for.

      Besides, we may need moles with good cover stories later on in the Revolution.

        1. Have you tried his audiobooks, read by him? His theatre background and British accents make for a delightful time.

  17. Dang, this totally ruins all my grandiose plans for a half-million word epic about a dark future where there is no pie, cake is illegal, and the main characters spend the next eighty chapters sitting around making snarky, smarmy, and angst-filled commentary about the utter worthlessness of humanity and the dreariness of life itself — up until (*spoiler!*) everyone dies a miserable, lonely, and pointless death at the end. 😀

      1. Nah, I think I’ll pass. I don’t think I’d have the stomach to write about a future without pie.

      1. I’m sure you’ve discovered my deep and abiding interest in pie. Presently I’m writing the definitive work on the subject…

  18. On the subject of “sells well” I have had some people sneer at me because I admitted that I was reading (studying actually) Terry Brooks’ novels. The fact is, love him or hate him the man is capable of turning out bestseller after bestseller after bestseller. And I was trying to see if I could figure out how he did it.

    For reading lists I’ll add my voice to those calling for Heinlein, Niven & Pournelle, Piper, most of Baen’s lineup.

    Then there is the series that was the one that drew me into SF as a reader (before I discovered Heinlein): The Tom Swift Jr. series. (Sadly, I do not think it has aged well, but after discovering those books in fourth grade I started explicitly looking for SF in libraries and elsewhere.)

    1. The original Tom Swift books proved surprisingly good reads when I discovered them in the camp library the summer sixty-mumble. I had long before read the TS Jr books, but the first ones were better.

      1. I have never read those. They don’t translate well to Portuguese, I’d guess. And in sixty mumble (66-end of decade) I was restricted to Portuguese.

        1. You can get most, if not all of them, on the Gutenberg Project website. I first discovered them there a few years ago and read 10-15 of them (though I never did get to Tom Swift. Jr).

        2. At least a couple of them were reissued on dead tree sometime after (at a guess) 1990 … and a quick check of Amazon reveals 28 of the original novels (starting in 1910!!!) can be kindled for $1.99 — for the flippin’ set!!! If you check Guttenberg they might be available for even less.

          Yeah, they reek of their era. Like today’s SF don’t reek of our times?

          From the Wiki:

          Translated into many languages, the books have sold over 30 million copies worldwide. Tom Swift has also been the subject of a board game and a television show. Development of a feature film based on the series was announced in 2008.

          Several prominent figures, including Steve Wozniak and Isaac Asimov, have cited “Tom Swift” as an inspiration. Several inventions, including the taser, have been directly inspired by the fictional inventions. “TASER” is an acronym for “Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle.”

          Y’know, somebody ought do a biography of Edward Stratemeyer, creator of the Rover Boys, the Bobbsey Twins, Tom Swift, the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. Quite possibly the most influential, least known author in history. Sure, he may not have actually written his books, any more than did the Dumas, but that hasn’t dinged their place in literary history.

  19. Referring back to the first comment: I likewise didn’t like TO SAIL BEYOND THE SUNSET,but I revisited it recently and found it plenty to say to me.–Toni

    1. Well, this was a special case of “hated it.” I found it as engrossing as all Heinlein, I couldn’t put it down. I just really really hate Maureen Smith. I couldn’t wait for that truck to hit her in AlbQQ. The tragedy of the book was that they saved her.

      Other than that it was brilliant.

        1. This happened to me with a lot of Heinleins. Friday grew on me (like a fungus.) Some have gone the other way. I loved I will Fear No Evil at 14, but recently I couldn’t finish it. Go figure.

        2. Hm. Of course I’ve never actually been a young woman, or at least that I remember. Hm, 1987, so I was 32. Well, maybe I’ll give it another look once I figure out how to get it in ebook form.

  20. I grew up in the 70’s with the sci-fi my father directed my way. He was about as anti-new wave as imaginable and the stuff directed my way tended to be Asimov, pre-60’s Heinlein, Clarke, Poul Anderson and Gordon Dickson. On my own I added Cherryh, Niven and Pournelle.
    For all the reasons you’ve brought up in your last series of posts I turned away from the stuff for some time (except re-reads and older things I’d never gotten around to). Recently I’ve been reading the stuff again because there’s fun stuff again. When I mentioned once to a friend in “the critical establishment” that I enjoyed the heck out of John Ringo’s stuff I could swear she looked askance at me over the internet. Only made me buy more of his stuff. There are times I just want explosions, cheap laser special effects and great big, damned tanks. Sometimes I want heavier stuff like Vinge or Banks but either way I shouldn’t be stuck with only the dreck and grey mush.

  21. This is a wonderful idea. I’ve grown sick and tired of all the nihilist SF out there. I love stories where humans are good (or at least mostly good), good guys win, bad guys get demolished, and I’m not being preached to by the author. Where do I sign?

    As for recommended books, E. E. Doc Smith and Robert E. Howard have already been mentioned. I’d like to add John Steakley to that mix (particularly Armor).

  22. So if Human Wave SF is in part a reaction to the dominance of “literary” science fiction, or what might be called Lit SF…

    And if we’re Wavers…

    Does that make them Litters?

    (Sorry, I should’ve sworn off puns for Lent…)

  23. An add in I think quite important – You might be a human waver if you think Science, technology, guns commerce and even success are not inherently evil

      1. Or if, on reading Heinlein’s The Man Who Sold The Moon you think the SEC should’ve fried Delos D. Harriman and sentenced him to 40 years hard labor, maybe Human Wave is not for you.

      1. *beth waves vaguely* …Things! Didn’t know I’d be missed. (Yay, blogstuff to catch up on. Ack, more distractions from finishing the popcorn kittens at the top of the pile. >_> Also, boo, I’m getting a cold. 😦 )

  24. I can’t believe no-one has listed Eric Frank Russell. He was absolutely brilliant and totally Human Wave in spirit.

  25. Since someone threw in L’Amour then I’m adding Zane Grey.
    …and Andre Norton, my first SF read in 5th? grade, (a very long time ago) changed my world view.

    Recently ‘Spinward Fringe’ by Randolph Lalonde written to the ‘Perils of Pauline’ video formula; 7 minutes of drama, climax, cut to commercial a la ‘Stargate SGC1’ or ‘Mission Impossible’ the TV series…anyone remember ‘The Man from UNCLE’?

    So I’ve stumbled into your discussion of SF, and I’m shouting ‘Eureka’! Even though I liked ‘Warehouse 13’ better. Liked ‘Dead Like Me’, but someone with authority didn’t. Don’t like ‘Ghost Whisperer’ at all. Videos, I know, but..

    Since about late ’70’s(ish) SF was dead to me, nothing interesting. Then, I found Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’, and hope was restored.

    Tell a good story with ‘real’ characters, with a plot, and a twist, and a surprise, Science is the icing on the cake. You don’t even have to explain the science, it just has to work.

    1. anyone remember ‘The Man from UNCLE’?

      I do. It was better when it first played in the mid-sixties. It was picked up on late night extended tier cable a few years ago. I was sad to discover that it had not aged very well. A few episodes have stood up to time. The Foxes and Hounds Affair with Vincent Price as Victor Martin the THRUSH counter-part to Mr. Waverly was well played. The Hot Number Affair, with Sonny and Cher, and the down the rabbit hole episode (whose title I cannot find) probably survived because they had a healthy sense of humor. The Illya of the desert (The Arabian Affair, I believe) just wasn’t what I remembered, but not too bad. But overall it was so terribly dated.

  26. Speaking of sixty-mumble, it was the summer of sixty-seven that I first read Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. Wilmot Branch Library, Seattle. I lived three blocks away, and I read a dozen books a week all summer.

    Man, I feel old. Where’d I leave that time machine? I’m going back.

    1. The audiobook version of that is a full cast production (although they may have added a single reader since) with some … odd choices, but can be played while driving, working out or prepping dinner (or cleaning up afterward) and still delights.

  27. I don’t see as anybody has recommended Ted Sturgeon. Frederick Brown is worth several looks. Cordwainer Smith, anybody? And if you haven’t read Fred Pohl’s collaborations with Cyril Kornbluth you’ve missed out on some fun.

    Christopher Stasheff has produced some good reads, although a bit so tongue in cheek I’m surprised he didn’t bite it. Try Her Majesty’s Wizard and The Warlock In Spite Of Himself. Lawrence Watt-Evans has some enjoyable light reads, such as The Misenchanted Sword and Taking Flight.

    AND, if you haven’t read the SFWA Hall Of Fame anthologies of pre-Nebula SF …

    1. I loved all of those, particularly Cordwainer Smith, which got even better after I started learning Mandarin.

      Hm. Thinking of Smith’s Rediscovery of Man. Is HW the Rediscovery of Man in SF?

    2. Seconding Watt-Evans’s “The Misenchanted Sword.” There were some clever twists in there, as well.

      Some of Spider Robinson’s stuff qualifies, I think. I thought the Stardance trilogy Spider & Jeanne Robinson wrote (especially book 1) was fairly optimistic in the meet-aliens-and-find-a-way-to-talk-to-them department, and the main characters, while flawed, were good people.

  28. I think we kind of have to aknowledge Michael Flynn. His Firestar series stood in marked contrast to most of what was coming out of the industry at the time.

  29. Being mainly a horror writer I’d love to see some of this cross over to that genre as well. I love stories where scares and gross outs are for fun and not some artsy fartsy catharsis for human angsts.

    My ideas for HWSF would be Neil R. Jones, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Otis Adelburt Kline, and (I have to say this because I’m a megafan) Lin Carter. You could probably include a lot of the stories that came out of the Ace Doubles and Donald Wolheim’s Adventures on Other Planets and More Adventures on Other Planets anthologies.

    1. I have been told that those Ace Doubles were edited by a youngster name of Baen, James Baen. Not surprising you would connect them to the HW Personifesto (Too clumsy. Compact that to HW Pesto.)

      1. Jim’s taste certainly would agree with most of us on this thread, but while he was at Ace Books for a while, the Ace Double program was before his time.–Toni W.

  30. Mrs. Hoyt, I love you with a love that would be creepy but for my being happily married for over three decades. You have repeatedly stated things that I have thought, but not articulated.

    There was once a term for what you’re doing: Humanist. (As a Christian, I lament the way the term has been demonized by my coreligionists.) Our humanity is greater than bugs & bunnies, political parties, or in-group/out-group membership. If there’s a meta-principle underpinning each part of your manifesto, it is that people come first.

    Since it is my nature to quibble, I’d like to add another reason to write: to show the wonder of how the world is made and works. For instance, I wrote a story where the hero finds himself in a situation like Schroedinger’s cat.

    I like the way you oppose the racism/sexism of those who claim victim status or those who assign blame for their own shortcomings. Projection is more than a way to show movies.

    1. “Since it is my nature to quibble, I’d like to add another reason to write: to show the wonder of how the world is made and works. For instance, I wrote a story where the hero finds himself in a situation like Schroedinger’s cat.”

      These idea-centric stories were once a mainstay of the genre, and Asimov for one reveled in them. Now those Asimov classics are frowned upon for… Well, for various reasons, some of which might even be valid. But they were still great fun. There’s room for stories that are less about Character Angst in a Nihilistic Universe and more about Wow, Look How That Universe Works!

      1. Philosophical stories have always been one of my faves. BUT for that the philosophy must be INTERESTING and fresh, not the same old screeds and shouting.

        1. I had in mind, not philosophy, but physics. When you have a closed box with a cat and poison and a single quantum event determining whether the poison has been released or not, the cat is both alive and dead!

          Or how about quantum tunneling? You have a marble rolling back and forth in a bowl and somehow it tunnels thru the wall because the flex of the bowl’s lip lets its probability density function creep a little bit out of bounds…

          Just amazingly cool fun Mr. Science things like this can take my breath away. But story comes first, story must come first. (And there are two commandments of story: Thou shalt be clear. Thou shalt be interesting.)

          1. I’ve always liked quantum tunneling as a mechanism for teleportation, moreso than the infamous take-em-apart-and-put-em-back-together or take-em-apart-and-reconstruct-em-over-there. I think the reassemble-particle-by-particle approach is too computationally intensive for any computer imaginable (and I can imagine plenty!). I just think you would need something that affects the whole object, not particles within the object: some means of “stretching” the probability waveform so that the object has equal likelihood of being at point B as at point A, and then collapsing the waveform with a new center at point B. (I always thought the classic Star Trek transporter mechanism with the sliders that go up and down is a nice visual representation for how my concept would be controlled.)

            1. Quantum Tunneling avoids the problems of replication and parsing. It respects object integrity.

              1. Ouch! I’ve been out-geeked!

                In a normal environment, I would wonder how many people would grok what you said besides you and me. But in this crowd? I’ll bet it approaches unity.

                1. You’ve just described the infinite improbability drive. Shall we ask the computer for tea?

                  1. No, I think we should ask for all of the letters. … Except Cee … I hate that letter, it steals work from Kay and eSS!

                    Waitaminit – did you just segue from H2G2 to Red Dwarf?

                  2. Yep. I never saw that part of Hitchhiker as a joke. I saw it as almost logical.

            2. I think the reassemble-particle-by-particle approach is too computationally intensive for any computer imaginable (and I can imagine plenty!).

              That, yes, bothered me. I may be wrong, but I felt it treated living beings as a bit too mechanical. What is the thing which make living the a living being? I gathered that it is more than simply parts and energy. As of yet they have yet to figure it out. I also thought that there must be trouble with issues like the person’s memories and personality. Particularly if you were postulating the disassemble the bits here and reassemble out of ‘identical’ material there kind of transport.

              Then, when science produced the first cloned cat, and it had an entirely different fur pattern than the cat from which it was cloned — well I guess it comes down to: There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. (William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 1. Scene V)

              Is it simply a willing suspension of disbelief that is needed here? Still there is a geek streak in me, I cannot help wondering about it…particularly if the story is not engaging enough to keep my full attention. Or does not keep moving along fast enough to keep me distracted. Or, worse, the story world is inconsistent in itself.

              1. Yep. A quick web search gives me an unverified estimate of 7*10^27 atoms in the human body. ( And I don’t think it’s enough to know which atoms are present: you also have to know something about how each atom relates to the atoms around it. As a rough approximation, that would square the number of chunks of information, or 5*10^55. These are complex data, so you’d expect somewhere around 1K per chunk, so that moves us up to 5*10^58 bytes of information to completely describe the state of a body. Let’s assume a team of genius programmers can compress that data by 10 orders of magnitude, or 5*10^48. That’s 5*10^36 terabytes. If we allow very dense memory storage of 1 cubic micrometer per terabyte, that’s a cube roughly 1,700 kilometers on a side.

                I like a good story as much as the next guy. Trek needs the transporters, I can accept that; and once in a while they even explore the implications of their whacked out theory. But unless someone has a truly revolutionary approach to the whole disassemble/reassemble problem, I find it FAR less plausible than warp drive or fertile cross-breeding of species born on different worlds.

                Whereas tunneling… Well, we know the phenomenon exists at the quantum level. And we know that even whole molecules have been observed to have de Broglie wave characteristics. So it’s easier for me to believe in a discovery that lets us amplify these effects to the macro scale than to believe in 10^36 terabyte transporters.

                1. Yeah, well, no way you’re gonna manage that storage and processor capacity in 3D space, pal, you’re gonna have to extend the computer into hyperspace to accommodate the capacity, allow the level of simultaneous processing you need and keep the thing from overheating.

                  We’re gonna have to knock out that fourth wall and put in some external support beams or your whole story is gonna collapse on you (pulls out N-dimensional tape measure) Yep, there’s just no way we can maintain your credibility without going into … hmmm … 5, 6 … 9 dimensional reality, and we’re gonna need special permits for each level. You’re gonna have to get started right away on your paperwork unless you plan to build this addition in N-space and retcon it back into 3D, buddy.

                2. Yes, exactly! And then you have to add in to all that the *energy state* of all the atoms, various chemical processes that are going on, and it just gets messier from there. You rapidly approach “reconstitute cow from truckload of hamburger” state. Dr. McCoy was right! (But nobody *ever* listens to the voice of reason, oh no…)

                  1. If you’re reassembling atom particles AND their energy states, the question becomes: What is Dr. Heisenberg’s opinion of your data accuracy?

                    So, punk, do you feel lucky?

                    OTOH, how do you feel about traveling via Schroedinger’s transporter?

                    1. Speaking of “Heisenberg”, you do know that the Star Trek teleporter has a “Heisenberg compensator”. [Evil Grin]

                      One of my unwritten story universes has a means for getting people from an orbiting starship to the planet without shuttles.

                      Basicly, they “open a doorway” to the planet.

                      Of course, there’s the problem of the people “losing” the speed of the orbiting starship. [Wink]

    2. Since I’m lucky enough to be married to the most wonderful man alive, I will accept your brotherly love. 🙂

      Thing is, I know there are many things you and I know we disagree heatedly on — but at least you’ve never tried to silence me.

  31. The Wizard of Oz series by L Frank Baum. These were once the Harry Potters of their time, the author had to write a new Oz book every year until his death in 1919, and the series was carried on through the 1950s by various authors (none of whom were as good as Baum), until fairy tales and fantasy began to be frowned on by The Literary Establishment and they were quietly removed from libraries (no one is as an effective a censor as a librarian, at least in the days when people were more limited to their libraries). Just about every great Golden Age SF&F author names the Oz books as huge influences, and they hold up to adult reading – I just re-read them recently for about the millionth time and they were as charming as always – plus there’s stuff only the adults will catch.

    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster

    Andre Norton – one of my first SF authors

    And yes, I remember the Mushroom Planet books – those were wonderful! Brings back memories of rainy days reading under the bedcovers.

    1. The Oz books, absolutely. I also suggest George MacDonald’s The Princess ins the Goblins and its sequel, The Princess and Curdy.

      A special category is probably in order for children’s books. They frequently contain a high order of fantasy, as in Five Children and It or Mary Poppins.

  32. Hello Ms. Hoyt!

    You mention that you are looking for reviewers who want to look at the freely available human wave fiction and talk about it. (I hope this doesn’t get viewed as a cheap plug but…) My sister and I run a science fiction and fantasy blog (we mostly do television and film, but we cover literature as well) and we are most definitely human wave fans in all media. We would be more than happy to cover this movement more overtly at RightFans and I would be curious how I might get connected to some good authors in the wave to set up some free plugs for the works we like. 🙂

    My e-mail is attached to the post as is our website URL if anyone would like to follow up with us.


    Matt Souders

  33. Anne McCaffrey’s original Pern trilogy and the Harperhall trilogy (Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, Dragondrum)

    E.E. “Doc” Smith: The Lensmen series

    “The Girl with the Silver Eyes” by Willo Davis Roberts

    “Space Cat” series by Ruthven Todd (I know it was for young kids and backlist is really expensive, but it was cute, funny, and positive!)

    Alan Mendelsohn: The Boy From Mars by Daniel Manus Pinkwater

    “The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet” by Eleanor Cameron

    “The White Mountains” by John Christopher

    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

    The Trumpets of Tagan by Simon Lang (and the other books in the series)

    There are others that I will most likely remember the moment I post this. Seems to be the way it works. 😛

  34. Totally digging the Human Wave posts. I’ve just not been commenting because post-convention fatigue is still affecting me and I can’t find anything clever to add or debate. 🙂

  35. I’d like to propose two authors for the list. They are relatively obscure mid-listers from the late-’70s-early-’80s.

    The first is M.A. Foster, who wrote The Ler Trilogy, the Morphodite Trilogy, and a standalone called Waves. For some reason, that’s the extent of his career, at least, under that name. All three works feature optimism about the future of humanity without being pollyannaish and portray humanity as a whole in a generally positive light, although not without darkness.

    The second is Ansen (Nancy) Dibell, who may be better known as a teacher of writing and author of books on writing, including the Plot volume in Writers Digest’s Elements of Fiction series. She is dead, and apparently her estate is in some disarray, or there is no one who cares to maintain her legacy. Her single major work, The King of Kantmorie saga, consists of five volumes, two of which are unavailable in English. It is a strange and fascinating saga of a possible future on another world. While it may appear superficially to treat sexual roles according ot the poltical mores of the left of the era, it does so while treating all of its characters as individuals. There are no cardboard cutouts speaking for the author.

    Both were published by DAW, and Foster’s two trilogies were recently brought out in trade paperback omnibus volumes, and one can hope for the same for Dibell’s work. But still, I can’t help thinking that the paucity of the published work from both and the low visibility of truly excellent work might be symptomatic of the treatment a mid-lister can expect and has always gotten from Big Pub, even though DAW could be seen as one of the good guys for the most part. But then, I’m working from extremely sketchy second- and third-hand information, so could be way off base on that.


    1. Oh, wow, somebody else who’s heard of those two! Particularly Foster, whose protagonist in Waves lands from a starship and takes an animal-drawn vehicle down an unpaved road, eventually boarding a train drawn by a steam engine on his way to visit what is possibly the most advanced computer installation in the Galaxy. All of it following from impeccably logical reasoning — and I want want want a spider-car, dammit.

      Dibell — I think she may be at least partially responsible for my leisurely approach to writing. Pursuit of the Screamer and sequels are dense, and a lot of the (very considerable amount of) action is obscured in the underbrush, so to speak. I admire them all immensely, but I think I can see why the last two didn’t get translated. The ending of Summerfair is just possibly too baroque to be fixed easily.


  36. A whole lot of Lloyd Biggle Jr.’s output. I haven’t read everything of his, so I can’t say whether it’s the case with all of his output, but he wrote SF and mystery, and did well with them.

    1. AMEN on Biggle! I was traumatized in High School by inadvertantly mislaying his Still Small Voice of Trumpets and needing years to find it again. To this day if I mislay my current reading I go into a search loop and cannot proceed with affairs until locating the missing volume.

      1. And a hearty third to the nomination of Biggle. The Still Small Voice of Trumpets is great, but the one I mislaid and looked high and low for, eventually finding in a used bookstore in Toronto during a business trip, is The Light That Never Was. In some ways, Monument could be considered a sort of banner or exemplar of Human Wave SF.


  37. I don’t know his other work, but I would recommend a short story called, “The Bully and the Crazy Boy,” by Marc Stiegler. It was published in the November 1980 edition of Analog. It may not exactly be an example of a clear winner, but it certainly is an example of not giving up.

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