Some Thoughts About Sf
Some of you will see this a couple of times because you follow my many breadcrumbs of data / content in several places. I’m not sorry about this. I’m spreading this burst as far and wide as I can in the vain hope that I’ll find a new vein of ideas.
When did Science Fiction stop being subversive?
about the same time people started noticing that it was.
– A Reply.
Subversion refers to an attempt to overthrow structures of authority, including the state.
– Definition of ‘Subversion.’
And also it’s like porn, the definition of what’s extreme is constantly changing.
– Another Reply.
When society, in a super loose sense, internalized what were once ‘Star Trek’ concepts as understandable or normal.
I suspect that I take the view that the quality of the writing is what matters when it comes to literary merit. Sf is an attitude more than anything else to me. It’s the attitude of having an idea, a shock, and then producing a fiction to explorer that idea and some of its logical consequences. Rather than just simply having fantastical stuff as set dressing to disguise bad or lazy characterization. Or because it is popcorn friendly fun.
** REAL SF FANS DON’T READ PRIEST **
There’s a saying: “REAL programmers don’t eat quiche… they eat
Twinkies and Szechuan food.” This kind of junk-food mentality is true of
your typical SF fan, too. Your REAL SF fan doesn’t read Priest. He doesn’t
read Dick or Ballard, either. He reads David Brin and Larry Niven and Anne
McCaffrey. Junk food for the brain.
And what’s more, he’s proud of it. He holds his head high so the
light will catch his coke-bottle glasses, hoists his basketball gut, and,
with the odor of Twinkies on his breath, tells you, “I’m SPECIAL. It takes a
special kind of person to appreciate this stuff.”
And the hell of it is, every so often something that really IS
special comes along in a junk-food wrapper. Like a granola bar, or maybe
chicken cordon bleu on a bun — it looks like junk food, tastes like junk
food, but it’s actually got real nutrition in it. This year we’re lucky —
we’ve had a couple of rich, vitamin-packed granola bars already, and at least
one of them is being scarfed down by junk-food addicts everywhere.
Certainly they like the taste of NEUROMANCER (by William Gibson, an
Ace Special, $2.95 (Gollancz L 8.95)). I mean, this is high-tech enough to
satisfy the most acned sixteen-year-old hacker whose only sex life is getting
his modem on-line with an X-rated bulletin board. Never mind that it shows
you how the future may very well BE, never mind the political issues, this
guy knows what it’s like the be plugged IN, man.
But that’s okay. Literature, the really good stuff, has a way of
changing your thinking whether you want it to or not.
But let’s talk about our other granola bar for a minute. You see,
the problem with this kind of literature is it’s got a short shelf life. A
book that comes out in September might as well have a little printed squib on
the back that says “Best if enjoyed before November 1,” like you see on bags
of Twinkies, because in no time at all it’s going to be gone.
– Cheap Truth #8.