SHADOW BOXING: ideological gambits and rhetorical stratagems in reviewing Yoon Ha Lee’s military space operas

via RAVEN STRATAGEM – Yoon Ha Lee (2017)

This is a very clear and very well argued post.

Even if we suppose that there are ideological presuppositions ingrained into the tropes and conventions of military space opera I think that NINEFOX GAMBIT does a better job of critiquing and subverting them from inside than the Shadow Clarke Jury does from without.

Given that Yoon Ha Lee is not actually arguing in favour of mass murder as motivational background to élite individuals’ life choices, I don’t think that there is any significative moral difference between him and the Shadow Clarke jury. The difference is stylistic and rhetorical rather than moral. SF tropes are not meant literally, and if you do take them literally, as the Sharkes do, then you can generate facile but wrong-headed critical readings.

Nor do they disagree over the politics (war is bad, democracy is good, masochistic “remembrances” are bad, free conscience is good). Given the large terrain of agreement, Bormgans’ diagnosis of “infighting” hits the mark.

The defining tropes and conventions of the Sharke Jury seem to be flawed in that it is set up as a form of bad conscience, judging both the original jury and its selected works in the name of moral dicta and political criteria.

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