Monday, January 19, 2004

Here's the best link on the subject of Osama the presumed science fiction fan. That subject always makes me smile because it reminds me of a story from my severely misspent, highly geeky youth.

It was the last time I went to a one of the meetings of the local science fiction society. I only went because Michael Whelan was there and I wanted to get some books signed. The subject at hand that night was a draft of a resolution in support of Salman Rushdie, who was under sentence of death from the Ayatollah's regime in Iran. I remember the resolution being voted down because, as someone said, "The Satanic Verses isn't science fiction." The feeling was that it was best for these gentle genre fans to remain below the radar of Islamic fundamentalism, and not to involve themselves in such "mundane" controversies. Why alert the bad guys to their presence, y'know?

Being the jerk I am, I tried to ask what would happen when the Ayatollah found out about Alfred Bester's story "The Man Who Murdered Mohammed," Was that not science fiction either? But they weren't buying.

Anyway, after that bit of official cowardice it was pretty damn ironic, and bitterly funny, that it turned out that in all likelihood Osama bin Laden was a science fiction fan and patterned his life after a science fiction character. You can run, but not hide; or hide, but not run, or something.

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