Links for 9th November 2008

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Genre at the End of Time

    "I can’t help feeling that our constant worries about the death of the genre says more about us than it does about science fiction. The science fiction we read today cannot be like the science fiction we remember, because that would defeat the whole object of the exercise. But that doesn’t stop us wanting it to be the same." Kincaid.

    Tagged with: sfsciencefictionwritinggenrebookscriticism

2 thoughts on “Links for 9th November 2008”

  1. The problem is not so much the death of the genre as the effective saturation of the genre.

    When I was much younger I used to like Andre Norton but then I seemed to notice a certain sameness about her books. The names of the characters were different and the situations were different but they were the same shallow stories. How many different interstellar empires can we have and what aliens can be imagined but how much time does anyone have to read? So the problem becomes one of filtering out the bad to mediocre and what is just a variation of something done better 20 years ago.

    Is a story better because the writing style has changed somewhat over the years. Sure it is kind of silly reading the descriptions of people using computers in an H. Beam Piper novel from the late 50s but the story can be more interesting and meaningful than Alastair Reynolds talking about nanotechnology. The blatant sexism can even be hysterically funny.

    So what sense does it make to spend $8 for a 600 page novel that is actually boring and somewhat depressing when more upbeat and fun stuff can be downloaded for free. You just need a good portable book reader. I use an Archos PMA400.

  2. The success of Star Wars told a lot of liberal arts people that there was money to be made in “science fiction” even if you don’t know squat about science. But real SF is more than just fantasy with the magic replaced by pretend technology and techno-babble. But these people want to claim that shallow trash is SCIENCE fiction. If they admit it isn’t that might interfere with the MONEY, which is really all it is about.

    The Harry Potterization of science fiction produces just a low grade pop sci-fi. Flash Gordon level stuff. Watch Babylon 5 to get an idea of decent SF without emphasis on tech. Star Trek isn’t good enough to read, though I might try that Terok Nor. I haven’t tried a DS9 novel yet. That is the best Trek series.

    A Harry Potter novel got a Hugo in 2001. That was the death of sci-fi. LOL

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