30 January 2012

What I Like About Science Fiction

Talk about how much you like science fiction in mixed company and you’re bound to rapidly descend from whatever echelon of the social ladder you thought you occupied.  I think this is because there are two groups of science fiction novels; literature and trash.

I think of it as the difference between the sci-fi channel movies and 2001: A Space Odyssey.  In many cases, science fiction can tell us something really significant about humanity’s place in the world or tries to make sense out of existence and death and the intricacies of our relationships.  Of course, there are stories like Star Wars, which for all the flashing lights would have us believe it is telling us something, but are really just a façade held up by cardboard.

The difference is more often than not, too subtle for most to grasp.  For example, The Mule (last week’s book) was borderline trash to me because in the instant it could have made profound statements about the human condition or even the invented science of psychohistory, the character called the mule revealed his motivation for galactic warfare to be revenge for society shunning him as a child.  Come on.

Science Fiction literature does not enjoy the mainstream popularity it deserves.  I believe it to be legitimate but I think people see in the genre what they see in horror films, that is to say, only the surface.

1 comment:

  1. Keep fighting. This is a serious literature that is too often obscured by junk. I worked in a bookstore for 10 years, and it took me a long time to convince my superiors to let me promote sci-fi more. Eventually I turned it into the best-selling sci-fi section in the chain. People just need to give it a chance.


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