Shineanthology’s Weblog

An anthology of optimistic, near future SF

Archive for December 3, 2008

Kindred Spirits, part 2

Two kindred spirits — or ‘partners in crime’, if you wish — from a definitely non-paper nature:


Let this sink in: a major TV network is actively soliciting ‘solutions for change‘, saying “You can imagine a better tomorrow for our planet.” In the meantime, the majority of the SF community balks at trying to come up with innovative, inventive approaches to solve our current problems, saying it’s either not SF’s job to do that, or feeling much too depressed to turn to a pro-active mindset. earth_2100

This bears repeating: if SF won’t try to become relevant, someone or something else will become relevant instead of it. To quote Jason Stoddard: “Science fiction doesn’t become obsolete, it just turns into alternate history.” Remember how cyberpunk — in the eighties — had to do an immense catch-up with the quickly developing computer technology that most SF was hugely ignoring at the time? How cyberpunk was sorely needed to make SF relevant again?

I’ll end with a paraphrase of my own: IIRC a reviewer back in the sixties said that Philip K. Dick made most European existentialist writers look like ‘navel-gazers in a cul-de-sac’. We are now reaching an ironic role reversal: a multi-media project of a major network (and how SF fans love to claim that written SF is superior to media SF) is now making most current SF novels look like ‘escapists in a frightened flight forward'(*).

(*) = Yes, there are exceptions, and I’m well aware of them. They are so much in the minority that they’re akin to voices of sanity lost in the distracted and downbeat crowd.