Science Fiction Trivia

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RockDoctor
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by RockDoctor »

ffutures wrote:
Wed Oct 28, 2020 9:32 pm
let's have five unlikely science-fictional candidates / incumbents for the US presidency or a successor state (such as combined USA and Canada).
Coming in on the Alderson Drive, I'll suggest Emperor Leonidas I of Sparta, first of the line in the First Empire of Man in Jerry Pournelle's Future History. The Empire is the direct descendent (through several periods of turbulence) of the CoDominium of Earth, itself the merger of the United States and Russian Empires, with piecemeal acquisition of other terrestrial regions and states.
Is there anyone giving good odds that neither Ivanka nor Eric will become Trump the Second, once their (alleged) father has got rid of that pesky three-term limit, and replaced irrelevant elections with direct acclaim of the heir. (The elections are irrelevant, since all right-thinking American citizens will vote for Trump, so any vote not for Trump is either by a lunatic (not allowed to vote) a non-citizen (not allowed to vote) or a non-American (not allowed to vote) : therefore, 100% of valid votes go to Trump and no need to bother with further elections.
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by ffutures »

RockDoctor wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 7:55 pm
ffutures wrote:
Wed Oct 28, 2020 9:32 pm
let's have five unlikely science-fictional candidates / incumbents for the US presidency or a successor state (such as combined USA and Canada).
Coming in on the Alderson Drive, I'll suggest Emperor Leonidas I of Sparta, first of the line in the First Empire of Man in Jerry Pournelle's Future History. The Empire is the direct descendent (through several periods of turbulence) of the CoDominium of Earth, itself the merger of the United States and Russian Empires, with piecemeal acquisition of other terrestrial regions and states.
Is there anyone giving good odds that neither Ivanka nor Eric will become Trump the Second, once their (alleged) father has got rid of that pesky three-term limit, and replaced irrelevant elections with direct acclaim of the heir. (The elections are irrelevant, since all right-thinking American citizens will vote for Trump, so any vote not for Trump is either by a lunatic (not allowed to vote) a non-citizen (not allowed to vote) or a non-American (not allowed to vote) : therefore, 100% of valid votes go to Trump and no need to bother with further elections.
Interesting one. OK, it's definitely a successor to the US govt., and other governments. But is Leonidas actually unlikely? I did say "The candidate must be unlikely for some reason; a fictional president who is otherwise unremarkable or unknown won't be accepted." I think that this fails that test - as I remember, and as the timeline for this setting seems to say, the situation set up in the story more or less forces the imposition of a monarchy and Empire - someone was going to end up ruling, or the whole thing was going to collapse. Nobody particularly want it to collapse so a monarchy was one way to resolve the problem. Leonidas is the guy who gets the job but doesn't seem especially unlikely apart from that

Unless there's a good reason otherwise, I'm going to say no to Leonidas. But I'm not as familiar with the setting as others may be, tell me if I have it wrong.

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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by RockDoctor »

ffutures wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:50 pm
But is Leonidas actually unlikely? I did say "The candidate must be unlikely for some reason; a fictional president who is otherwise unremarkable or unknown won't be accepted."
OK then.
Travel, in your mind, to a future Earth of puissant technology, including a time machine with ... side effects. We don't learn much about the world, concentrating on one worried lab technician/ temporal adventurer who goes off to fulfil requests from the "SecGen", the leader of Earth (and therefore, if there is any continuity with today, leader by inheritance of the United States).
The description of the SecGen leaves the question of plausibility open. He is "hereditary leader of the Earth, known as the Secretary General, is an inbred imbecile."
How implausible that is I refer to an insightful essay by Bush the Second.
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by ffutures »

RockDoctor wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:51 pm
ffutures wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:50 pm
But is Leonidas actually unlikely? I did say "The candidate must be unlikely for some reason; a fictional president who is otherwise unremarkable or unknown won't be accepted."
OK then.
Travel, in your mind, to a future Earth of puissant technology, including a time machine with ... side effects. We don't learn much about the world, concentrating on one worried lab technician/ temporal adventurer who goes off to fulfil requests from the "SecGen", the leader of Earth (and therefore, if there is any continuity with today, leader by inheritance of the United States).
The description of the SecGen leaves the question of plausibility open. He is "hereditary leader of the Earth, known as the Secretary General, is an inbred imbecile."
How implausible that is I refer to an insightful essay by Bush the Second.
Assuming that this is Niven's Flight of the Horse and sequels, I think that this is unfortunately the same problem - once you assume a hereditary monarchy with absolute power you're going to end up with an idiot running things sooner or later. The stories and the nature of time travel in Niven's universe are absurdist, of course, but the SecGen isn't especially unlikely. Sorry, I think it's no again.

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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by ffutures »

OK, let's try a few clues - and just say that there are some VERY strange ones out there, I'm really surprised none of them have come up:
  • A Russian-born writer and philosopher, she becomes president of a libertarian America. (I've mentioned the series she appears in in a previous round)
  • An alien masquerading as a human woman who resigns to protect the office once she is exposed.
  • The teenage daughter of a deceased president, acting president after an alien invasion, since nobody in the line of succession survives.
  • A time traveller from a utopian future who takes over as president to change history because utopias are boring.
  • A post-apocalyptic president who doesn't actually exist but still has a lot of support, drummed up by a self-appointed civil servant.

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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by RockDoctor »

ffutures wrote:
Sat Oct 31, 2020 1:08 pm
once you assume a hereditary monarchy with absolute power you're going to end up with an idiot running things sooner or later.
(Sorry for forgetting to put the author/ story-series in the previous.)
You seem to be taking the "hereditary monarchy" future of the USian presidency as a given. Given the existing history of the short-lived experiment with the Bush dynasty and the current looming of the Trump dynasty, I am not going to argue against that.
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by spud42 »

The character of Nehemiah Scudder, the "First Prophet" of the regime, appeared in Heinlein's first novel (never published in his lifetime), For Us, The Living.
televangelist named Nehemiah Scudder who rides a populist, racist wave of support to the Presidency.

Later paperback editions have paired Revolt in 2100 with Methuselah's Children.

The afterword describes three stories which describe the beginning of the theocracy and subsequent beginnings of rebellion against it. "The Sound of His Wings" would have concerned a televangelist named Nehemiah Scudder who rides a populist, racist wave of support to the Presidency. "Eclipse" describes the subsequent collapse of American society with particular emphasis on the withdrawal from space travel by the new regime. "The Stone Pillow" offers the rise of the rebellion which the protagonists of "If This Goes On-" later join; the rebellion (styled the "Second American Revolution" in later stories of the Future History) includes Mormons, Catholics, and Jews, groups suppressed by the Theocracy, working in concert with Freemasons. Internal evidence of the series, particularly conversations in Methuselah's Children and Time Enough For Love place the Scudder election in the year 2012.
directly and indirectly referenced in several of Heinleins books.
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by ffutures »

OK, I think I can accept this one - not because theocracies are especially unlikely, but because the power grab here is so blatant that even the US electorate would probably notice sooner or later...

One to go!

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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by Cholmondely »

ffutures wrote:
Sun Nov 01, 2020 12:00 am
OK, let's try a few clues - and just say that there are some VERY strange ones out there, I'm really surprised none of them have come up:
  • A Russian-born writer and philosopher, she becomes president of a libertarian America.
Would this be Ayn Rand, by any chance?
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by ffutures »

Cholmondely wrote:
Sun Nov 01, 2020 10:52 pm
ffutures wrote:
Sun Nov 01, 2020 12:00 am
OK, let's try a few clues - and just say that there are some VERY strange ones out there, I'm really surprised none of them have come up:
  • A Russian-born writer and philosopher, she becomes president of a libertarian America.
Would this be Ayn Rand, by any chance?
It would indeed. But we need more.... information....

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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by ffutures »

Anyone want to post a complete answer before I let Cholmondely have this?

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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by Cholmondely »

ffutures wrote:
Thu Nov 05, 2020 12:22 am
Anyone want to post a complete answer before I let Cholmondely have this?
But I don't want Ayn Rand as President! Far rather George Santayana, Eric Voegelin or Leo Strauss.
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by ffutures »

Cholmondely wrote:
Thu Nov 05, 2020 9:46 am
ffutures wrote:
Thu Nov 05, 2020 12:22 am
Anyone want to post a complete answer before I let Cholmondely have this?
But I don't want Ayn Rand as President! Far rather George Santayana, Eric Voegelin or Leo Strauss.
If you can point me at an SF work that has any of them it would be fine with me. There is one with Ayn Rand...

OK, let's add a little more information:
  • A Russian-born writer and philosopher, she becomes president of a libertarian America. (I've mentioned the series she appears in in a previous round) - a late 1970s book
  • An alien masquerading as a human woman who resigns to protect the office once she is exposed. - A recent TV series, still running
  • The teenage daughter of a deceased president, acting president after an alien invasion, since nobody in the line of succession survives. - a 1990s film
  • A time traveller from a utopian future who takes over as president to change history because utopias are boring. - episode of a 1990s TV series
  • A post-apocalyptic president who doesn't actually exist but still has a lot of support, drummed up by a self-appointed civil servant. - a 1980s book, later filmed (though I can't remember if this is in the film).

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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by ffutures »

ffutures wrote:
Thu Nov 05, 2020 5:25 pm
Cholmondely wrote:
Thu Nov 05, 2020 9:46 am
ffutures wrote:
Thu Nov 05, 2020 12:22 am
Anyone want to post a complete answer before I let Cholmondely have this?
But I don't want Ayn Rand as President! Far rather George Santayana, Eric Voegelin or Leo Strauss.
If you can point me at an SF work that has any of them it would be fine with me. There is one with Ayn Rand...

OK, let's add a little more information:
  • A Russian-born writer and philosopher, she becomes president of a libertarian America. (I've mentioned the series she appears in in a previous round) - a late 1970s book
  • An alien masquerading as a human woman who resigns to protect the office once she is exposed. - A recent TV series, still running
  • The teenage daughter of a deceased president, acting president after an alien invasion, since nobody in the line of succession survives. - a 1990s film
  • A time traveller from a utopian future who takes over as president to change history because utopias are boring. - episode of a 1990s TV series
  • A post-apocalyptic president who doesn't actually exist but still has a lot of support, drummed up by a self-appointed civil servant. - a 1980s book, later filmed (though I can't remember if this is in the film).
A little more info on all of these.

The first one is Ayn Rand, as guessed; the source is a Libertarian utopia by an American author.
The second is from a TV series based on comics canon, as is the fourth - both are based on comics from the same publisher, and have characters in common, although one changed race.
The third owes its origin to bubble gum.
The president in the fifth owes part of his origin to a British rock group.

If nobody posts a better answer tonight I'll pass the baton to Cholmondely tomorrow.

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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by ffutures »

Right, since nobody gave a fifth answer, but Cholmondely spotted that one of the unlikely presidents was Ayn Rand, Cholmondely is declared the winner of this round. The five examples I gave were as follows:
  • A Russian-born writer and philosopher, she becomes president of a libertarian America. (I've mentioned the series she appears in in a previous round) - a late 1970s book - Ayn Rand in The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith - unlikely because it requires a complete rewrite of the US Constitution from the outset, eligibility of a foreign-born candidate, etc.
  • An alien masquerading as a human woman who resigns to protect the office once she is exposed. - A recent TV series, still running - President Olivia Marsdin, in the TV series Supergirl - unlikely because she resigns voluntarily rather than fighting it out. Totally unlike real life...
  • The teenage daughter of a deceased president, acting president after an alien invasion, since nobody in the line of succession survives. - a 1990s film - Taffy Dale, daughter of President James Dale, in Mars Attacks. Unlikely because being the under-age daughter of the president is not a qualification for office under current rules. The bubble gum connection I hinted at is that the film was based on a series of trading cards distributed with bubble gum.
  • A time traveller from a utopian future who takes over as president to change history because utopias are boring. - episode of a 1990s TV series - Tempus, a recurring character in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Unlikely because of time paradoxes etc.
  • A post-apocalyptic president who doesn't actually exist but still has a lot of support, drummed up by a self-appointed civil servant. - a 1980s book, later filmed (though I can't remember if this is in the film) - President Richard Starkey (which happens to be Ringo Starr's real name) in The Postman by David Brin. REALLY surprised nobody got that one.

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