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science fiction, what's that about, then? (part whatever it is) - The Villages — LiveJournal

hutch0
Date: 2008-04-28 23:01
Subject: science fiction, what's that about, then? (part whatever it is)
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Location:the utility room in the sky
Mood:calmcalm
Music:bjork
Some time ago, back before the PreCambrian Explosion, when it was just me and Jean Marie and Selkie and the (even then sadly-LJless) OJM rattling around here, with occasional interjections by Lou Anders and brisingamen and peake (remember those days, guys? Before all these boisterous folk started moving in?) I posted a few rather clumsy and embarrassing rants about the state of science fiction today and my rather namby-pamby views on it.
Well, I'm indebted to Neal Asher for pointing me at this article by Richard Morgan (whose novel Black Man I'm currently enjoying enormously) which addresses a few of the points I sort of approached but veered away from. I think the man talks a lot of sense. Any thoughts?
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-04-28 23:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I do wonder whether there isn't a deeper problem here. Detective fiction has never been estranged from its roots; you can draw a straight line from Poe to Conan Doyle and Wilkie Collins to Agatha Christie to the point where detective fiction bifurcates at Hammet and Chandler. It's always been, at base, a literary form. In science fiction, you can't draw that line. You have Wells and Verne, and then there's this messy dislocation in the 1920s and 1930s. We know there's a literary base, but the background is predominantly pulp. Then you get the Golden Age, and nobody argues about that. And then you get what comes afterwards, and I think that's the problem. Who are the inheritors? Who has the True Genes?
*just noodling, too, because I want people to talk about this stuff*
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-04-29 21:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I like the Dylan analogy. Yes, I think that's very apt.
What really took me aback was the sheer vehemence of some of the scuffles. That really surprised me.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-05-01 20:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That's really rather scary. And more than a little shaming. I remember at the Glasgow EasterCon someone yelled something and stormed out of one panel when Paul Cornell made some disparaging comments about the original Battlestar Galactica. That rather startled me
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calcinations
User: calcinations
Date: 2008-04-29 22:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Wells:
What if someone invented a time machine?

What if martians invaded earth and landed in England?
What if someone invented an anti-gravity metal?

Verne- what if you could build a flying car thingumabob?
Or a submarine?

Morris
What if the revolution did happen peacefully?
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-04-29 22:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You're absolutely right. Can't argue with you. But you can do the same with thrillers. What if someone tried to assassinate De Gaulle? Or spy fiction. What if a mole infiltrated MI6? Really, when you say `what if?' you're creating fiction, not just science fiction.
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calcinations
User: calcinations
Date: 2008-04-29 22:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yes, you have a point there. How about specifying that the what if has to involve technology or physical happenings which we do not have or are impossible? SF, in my opinion, always comes back to mankinds relationship with technology/ science.

So that way, a mole infiltrating MI6 is very likely, and indeed quite normal, so it isn't SF. Or assassinating De gaulle- I'm sure someone must have tried that in real life.

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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-04-29 22:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That sounds fair enough to me. Although I should point out that my stuff only rarely has anything to do with mankind's relationship with technology and science, and I still think of it as science fiction.
I'm not sure whether anyone did try to assassinate De Gaulle - although you're right, someone must have, at some point.
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calcinations
User: calcinations
Date: 2008-04-29 22:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It would be nice to know if there are more women reading SF these days. I suspect not.

I think crime fiction has a unifying theme yet you can play many variations, kind of like composers from Mozart through to Elgar all used symphonies to produce different sounds which appeal to different people.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-04-29 23:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It is indeed possible that there are places where detective authors gather round and mutter imprecations against other groups of detective authors - I don't know that world. Morgan's source seems to think not.
The tropes thing is a good point. Yes, I like that one.
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