||DAMON KNIGHT SAYS:
Good to see PITFCS back; I applaud its dissolution
& resurrection. This is a chunky issue; it has its usual quota
of flatulent nonsense (most of it in the first half of the alphabet, for
some reason), but "Strolling on the Banks of the Mainstream" is a really
solid piece of work, for which I am grateful. So is George Price's
contribution. I'm glad to see someone defend Starship Troopers
capably. The screams of fury this book aroused puzzled me for a long
time, but I think I have figured out why it got under some people's skins.
To a dedicated pacifist, "War is horrible" is a basic premise and is interpreted
literally. It follows that no recognizably human being could be a
professional soldier. But professional soldiers exist. Therefore
they must be essentially depraved and brutalized people. When professional
soldiers are depicted in fiction as being normal human beings, the pacifist's
whole position is threatened; and he screams. So would you.
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Originally published in The Proceedings of the Institute
for Twenty-First Century Studies #138, December 1960.