Gary Gibson – the state of the debate

Richard Morgan‘s recently-posted essay about the bitchiness and infighting of the sf/f fiction scene caused a flurry of reactions, some sympathetic, others less so.

Gary Gibson‘s response chimes best with my own feelings on the matter, though:

“To me, I’d say all the bitchiness is a sign that things aren’t nearly so moribund within the genre as some have claimed. I’m not saying the arguments and fighting are always healthy, or necessarily mature; but I am saying it feels more alive than some genteel, mannered alternative. At least the way things are, it feels like people give a damn.”

Indeed. I mean, sure, sf people can get pretty entrenched in things, and rather more emotionally attached or opposed to certain words and definitions than really makes much sense (cough *mundane-sf* cough).

But if I’d stumbled into fandom as I did and found it to be an echo chamber … well, I’d probably be more focused on writing about music, I guess. The ability to debate the merits of a piece of art without resorting to fists, name-calling and hissy-fits is rare enough in my daily life that I’d rather not lose it.

That said – live and let live, eh? Maybe it’s just my nature as supreme wishy-washy diplomat of compromise, but I’ve always found the best way to get anyone to respect my opinion (even if they don’t agree with it) is to respect theirs. As my mother used to remind me at the end of every school sports day – it’s not the winning, it’s the taking-part.

[Disclosure- Richard Morgan is one of my clients.]

4 thoughts on “Gary Gibson – the state of the debate”

  1. No, no, no… you’ve got it all wrong.

    Arguing about SF is like sex – Despite being humiliating and pointless, it’s always about getting your point across and going for the big win.

  2. I think Fantasy and Science Fiction as genres are in their teenage years. We bicker because we want to be heard, and we want to feel important. “Classical” literature has been around a long time, and it’s comfortable with its status. Our genre hasn’t been, and we want to feel comfortable, too.

    Also, I think there are so many of us in the genre writing field that we’re not entirely sure how to deal with everyone else. We all want our ideas to be the most important or the most interesting, and we bicker about other peoples’ ideas to make sure that we’re the loudest and most likely to be heard.

    Just my thoughts.

  3. Well one problem with that article is that at the end it says that according to Ian Banks the genre is part of the entertainment industry. But SF can be part of the education industry. We may need a split between Sci-fi and Fantasy because Fantasy doesn’t have much to say even though some people find it as entertaining as crime.

    I don’t read crime but watching a few CSI episodes shows how much science and technology may have affected crime novels. Look at how DNA testing has found innocent men charged with rape in the REAL WORLD. So where are the fanatics promoting sci-fi for educating kids since everyone is complaining about the schools. All of these liberal arts types that think they can write sci-fi are part of the problem.

    Star Wars IS NOT science fiction. LOL


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