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"Forbidden Thoughts" Book Review

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of two, and published sci-fi and horror author.

The Introduction of “Forbidden Thoughts”

Milo Yiannapolis wrote the foreword for Forbidden Thoughts on challenging social mandates about not questioning or even thinking certain things. The fact that Milo’s been increasingly physically threatened by liberal bullies who silence free speech in the name of fighting fascism makes his contribution to this sci-fi anthology all the more ironic.

The anthology Forbidden Thoughts looks at what happens when you have dangerous ideas relative to the society you live in or desires that undermine your ability to be happy.

Cover of the book "Forbidden Thoughts"

Cover of the book "Forbidden Thoughts"

A Review of Forbidden Thoughts

Forbidden Thoughts contains a history of the Sad Puppies campaign intended to counteract the liberal and identitarian politics taking over science fiction awards, where fiction’s purpose was no longer to entertain but to carry only a liberal message and its quality measured by the intensity of the liberal message. Some of the stories in Forbidden Thoughts are directly opposite the liberal message of mainstream SF.

  • "Safe Space Suit" suffers from the same problem as SJW-infected sci-fi; it's a story intended to hone the message to the point of not being entertaining. Fortunately, most of the anthology is better than this in every regard.
  • “Auto America” shows the horrors of automated policing intersecting with identity politics.
  • “A Place for Everyone” gives you a look ar what a society populated by mostly interchangeable people looks like. The twist at the end is worth the read.
  • “The Code” by Matthew Ward takes Title IX rape tribunals and related social rules to their logical conclusion.
  • “The Secret History of the World Gone By” is a return to the classic trope of the barbarian saving the civilized people by destroying technology. Even Star Trek had several episodes with this theme.
  • “At the Edge of Detachment” reminds me of the Phillip K. Dick story “The Pre-Persons”, though updated for modern lingo.
  • “The Social Construct” is a modern update of many sci-fi stories where families seek to have the perfect child at all costs.
  • “If You Were a Hamburger My Love” is a parody of “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love”. It is a parody of a parody and good if you like that kind of thing.
  • “Imagine” by Pierce Oka presents a world where John Lennon’s song “Imagine” is the anthem of a dystopia.
  • “Graduation Day” takes a number of trends to an extreme that seemed impossible until I read about an EU nonprofit saying it is OK to send death threats to homosexuals if you’re Muslim and European Union officials hiding stats on rapes or blaming the victims of Muslim rape gangs for their assaults. But if a man looks at you funny in your short skirt, he’s guilty of a serious crime. The internalization of self-hatred the narrator shows is horrifying.
  • “Hymns of the Mothers” is an interesting look at a world where women rule and have near-immortality, too. It is a far better story than the book “Gate to Women’s Country”, which radiated Tepper’s incredible disdain for Christianity and men.
  • “By His Cockle Hat and Staff” is a horror story with little gems of humor, ultimately becoming a story of changing multiple worlds. One of the best lines is that you aren’t allowed to judge based on biology, that would be biologist. Another is “I can’t judge people who use recreational drugs, that would be druggist”.
  • “The Left’s 20 Rules of Racism” and “The Right’s 20 Rules of Racism” mirrors Dennis Prager’s list of differences between the left and the right.
  • “World Ablaze” looks at an America where Christianity is illegal, though such horror stories were part and parcel of Soviet Russia and modern North Korea.
  • “Amazon Gambit” features a unit of Amazons, modern women trained for combat, who exist only for PR purposes. The final twist exceeds the tactics in Disney’s Mulan.
  • “Elegy for the Locust” looks at the price and problem of wishing you were someone else.
  • “Test of the Prophet” is an intriguing look into Islamic culture while condemning Islamic fundamentalists like the Taliban.
  • “Flight to Egypt” is a story by Sarah Hoyt. You see two worlds suffering from segregation and two parents who choose to break the rules to save their unborn son.
Totalitarian regimes are defined by their total control over society, with nothing but the state to be tolerated.

Totalitarian regimes are defined by their total control over society, with nothing but the state to be tolerated.

For a better understanding of the gradual infiltration of science fiction by social justice warriors, I recommend reading “How to Make a Social Justice Warrior” by William Shetterley. His book traces this problem back to 2000 and discusses its growth over time as it worked its way into the core of sci-fi.

As a communist, Shetterley is unique in criticizing authoritarian liberals while being as far from the political right as possible. It is also a good look at the deeper history of science fiction’s infection with liberal ideology and the build-up to what became the Sad Puppies controversy.

If we take social justice warriors' demands to their logical conclusion, we end up in a high-tech Soviet Union rivaling what Lt. Belenko escaped.

If we take social justice warriors' demands to their logical conclusion, we end up in a high-tech Soviet Union rivaling what Lt. Belenko escaped.


Kara Skinner from Maine on March 03, 2017:

A lot of interesting short reviews here. Interesting article.