Skip

John Gray on science fiction
July 17, 2010 9:33 AM   Subscribe

War of the words - Science fiction was once driven by a faith in human ability to change the world. These days, the genre seeks to expose the illusions of everyday life. cf. near-future science fiction [1,2] & radical presentism [3] (via mr)
posted by kliuless (56 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is this because faith in human ability to change the world is being recognized as an illusion?

Aw! People are catching up! Good show!

...sorry...
posted by Appropriate Username at 9:44 AM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


And are they ensuring that all this world changing isn't being misconstrued as imperialism? :p


thanks for the post kliuless
posted by infini at 10:01 AM on July 17, 2010


You should be sorry; your statement was sarcastic, derailey, and flat-out wrong in its basic assumptions.

Lots to read and think about here; thanks, kliuless
posted by jtron at 10:03 AM on July 17, 2010


I'll just viddy these articles on my cyberspace deck later, when I'm working for a megacorporation.
posted by fuq at 10:11 AM on July 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Some great stuff here.

OF course, any discussion where it's said that Science Fiction IS this or IS that is inherently troublesome, because the you try to make walls around whatis and isn't science fiction and you keep finding annoying excpetions. These days Ifavour the big fuzzy circle theory.

The correct answer to the question "is science fiction driven by a faith in human ability to change the world or seeking to expose the illusions of everyday life." is probably something like "yes" or "maybe" or "mostly".
posted by Artw at 10:26 AM on July 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Orwell didn’t worry about a future dominated by the view-screens from 1984, he worried about a present in which technology was changing the balance of power, creating opportunities for the state to enforce its power over individuals at ever-more-granular levels.

Sorry, Cory, no. No matter how much you wish it was, 1984 was not about DRM.
posted by Ratio at 10:46 AM on July 17, 2010 [10 favorites]


I see this as a manifestation of the fact that we (the dynamical system of which humans are a part) are in the zone of increasingly rapid bifurcation just prior to the onset of chaos.
posted by jamjam at 10:57 AM on July 17, 2010


Science fiction is what I point at and say, "That's science fiction."

I believe Damon Knight said this.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 10:58 AM on July 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Science fiction was once driven by a faith in human ability to change the world.

Maybe two or three generations ago. But not in the lifetime of anyone here today.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:37 AM on July 17, 2010


Science fiction was once driven by a faith in human ability to change the world.

For some of us, the best science fiction still is.
posted by AdamCSnider at 11:40 AM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


If science fiction is no longer a viable form, it is because the humanist assumptions that underpinned it are no longer credible even as fictions

Ugh, whatever.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:56 AM on July 17, 2010


Science fiction was once driven by a faith in human ability to change the world.

And is now driven by the horror that we have irrevocably done so.

Or to put it another way, much SF these days seems less the literature of possibility and more a chastising finger-wag, a "look what you've done!"

I'm tired of dystopias.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:00 PM on July 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Heh. And it goes on...

The hybrid type of writing that has evolved in recent years is symptomatic. "Slipstream", "cyberpunk" and "new weird" blend together influences as diverse as Arthur Machen and Mikhail Bulgakov, Charles Williams and William S Burroughs. What these styles of writing have in common is an absence of politics.

Yeah, some shakey ground there... very shakey.
posted by Artw at 12:04 PM on July 17, 2010


These days, the genre seeks to expose the illusions of everyday life.

This task was formerly the province of literary fiction and the bildungsroman. One critic maintained that all novels could share the same title: "Lost Illusions". Personally, I go to science fiction and fantasy to stock up on illusions -- which can be good or bad, depending upon the use to which they are put.
posted by Faze at 12:07 PM on July 17, 2010


OK, I just got to the part in Blindsight where he divides humanity into four tribes: The optimists, pessimists, historians and the tribe that just-didn't-give-a-shit, so I feel the hand of Tiny Carl Jung on my shoulder.

My thought is that the tribe that just doesn't give a shit always feels like it's pulling ahead in pretty much every matter of human endeavor. So after spending a day of not curing cancer because I feel like I'm dealing with a management structure that can't find it's butt with both hands, or better still trying to interface with someone like myself who works at a company we work with through my management structure (TCFIBWBH) and its interface with her management structure (TCFIBWBH) when I get home I no longer have the force of will to imagine humanity evacuating the Earth prior to some sort of doomsday event. However, a girl clad in black leather with really fast reflexes, permanently mounted mirrored lenses over her eyes, retractable razorblades for fingernails and more personality disorders than I can count suddenly seems like the kind of person I'd like to hang with.

Hell, how much does the retractable razor blade thing cost these days.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:13 PM on July 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm trying to think of fiction that isn't based on "faith in human ability to change the world." All I can come up with is Beckett. Maybe.
posted by regicide is good for you at 12:15 PM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


And if you want a more contentious assertion... not only is Science Fiction essentially political, it's essentially Libertarian.

(I found that one while looking up stuff to do with the Prometheus Awards over in the James P. Hogan. )
posted by Artw at 12:18 PM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


What attracted me to science fiction at a time when my pre-adolescent peers were eyeing romance novels was the speculation of it all, the "what if", the dreams and yes, the better worlds we'd imagine and build... or if not, then simply the explorations of the different branches of the probability tree of decision making that humanity could take.

Don't forget all the reality that the dreams of science fiction has brought into being... from robots to geosynchronous satellites to every rocket scientist and dreamer who wants to be DD Harriman himself...

I agree with BitterOldPunk... dystopias have their value, as a thought experiment for caution and a moment to think about our actions, but its the dreams of galaxies far far away, when foundations were laid long long ago that makes our imaginations thrum vividly in response

meh to the negativity, without a vision we are nothing
posted by infini at 12:22 PM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry, Cory, no. No matter how much you wish it was, 1984 was not about DRM.

So you're saying that whole Alberto Gonzales warrantless wiretap thing is just to protect the rights of the artists?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:25 PM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really liked the article but I was surprised by the choice of authors represented. Not because I disagree with the premise, but because I don't exactly think of either one of them as writing science-fiction. The whole fuzzy-circle idea seems like it would work best here, but even then, I think of them both as fantasy authors.

Gaiman especially, as the works of his that I have read don't revolve around science and tech but around elements I associate with fantasy, gods, magic etc. I would describe Gaiman as a writer of fantasy set in modern times. The only thing I can say about China is based on the one book I read, Perdido Street Station. Seeing as that was based on the secretions of a magical moth, it didn't strike me as science-fiction either.
posted by Carillon at 12:28 PM on July 17, 2010


And it should be always remembered that though we associate Science Fiction (and the coining of the phrase Science Fiction) with a bunch of modernists with ideas about space travel that turn out to have been a bit over optimistic, the story that is arguably the first work of SF is a warning against industrialisation and building zombies out of left over human-meat.
posted by Artw at 12:31 PM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Heh. Well, this is interesting timing. I was just rereading this earlier today:
“In conclusion,” he [Thon Taddeo, the scientist] said, “a brief outline of what the world can expect, in my opinion, from the intellectual revolution that's just beginning.” Eyes burning, he looked around at them [the monks of St Leibowitz] and his voice changed from casual to fervent rhythms. “Ignorance has been our king. Since the death of empire, he sits unchallenged on the throne of Man. His dynasty is age-old. His right to rule is now considered legitimate. Past sages have affirmed it. They did nothing to unseat him.“

“Tomorrow, a new prince shall rule. Men of understanding, men of science shall stand behind his throne, and the universe will come to know his might. His name is Truth. His empire shall encompass the Earth. A century from now, men will again fly through the air in mechanical birds. Metal carriages will race along roads of man-made stone. There will be buildings of thirty stories, ships that go under the sea, machines to perform all works.

“And how will this come to pass?” He paused and lowered his voice. “In the same way all change comes to pass, I fear. And I am sorry it is so. It will come to pass by violence and upheaval, by flame and by fury, for no change comes calmly over the world.”

He glanced around the room, for a soft murmur arose from the community.

“It will be so. We do not will it so.”

... The words brought a new pall over the room. [The abbot] Dom Paulo's hopes sank, for the prophecy gave form to the scholar's probable outlook. Thon Taddeo knew the military ambitions of his monarch. He had a choice: to approve of them, to disapprove of them, or to regard them as impersonal phenomena beyond his control like a flood, famine, or whirlwind. Evidently, then, he accepted them as inevitable—to avoid having to make a moral judgment. Let there be blood, iron and weeping... How could such a man thus evade his own conscience and disavow his responsibility—and so easily! the abbot stormed to himself. But then the words came back to him. For in those days the Lord God had suffered the wise men to know the means by which the world itself might be destroyed... He also suffered them to know how it might be saved, and, as always, let them choose for themselves. And perhaps they had chosen as Thon Taddeo chooses. To wash their hands before the multitude. Look you to it. Lest they themselves be crucified...

But why must it all be acted again? The answer was near at hand; there was still the serpent whispering: For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods. The old father of lies was clever at telling half-truths: How shall you “know” good and evil, until you shall have sampled a little? Taste and be as Gods. But neither infinite power nor infinite wisdom could bestow godhood upon men. For that there would have to be infinite love as well.
— Walter M Miller Jr, A Canticle for Leibowitz, 1959

posted by koeselitz at 12:35 PM on July 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


I guess, but I wouldn't call steampunk science fiction, meaning that say the game Arcanum is clearly fantasy and not sci-fi, despite the fact that it also addresses the issues of industrialization and what have you.
posted by Carillon at 12:35 PM on July 17, 2010


So you're saying that whole Alberto Gonzales warrantless wiretap thing is just to protect the rights of the artists?

No, I'm saying 1984 was never about technology, and that Cory Doctorow is even denser than I thought.
posted by Ratio at 12:41 PM on July 17, 2010


I love it when people tell me what science fiction is.
posted by jscalzi at 12:50 PM on July 17, 2010 [11 favorites]


Dude, you write something featuring magic stones. Clearly you know nothing!
posted by Artw at 1:01 PM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Libertarianism as a philosophy, a poetics and a praxis in SF is popular for the same reasons as emerging magical powers are in fantasy: both are fundamentally literatures that emerged from and remain embedded within the almost universal, semi-magical pubertal processes of development: the transformation of an ineffectual, child-like body and consciousness into a pseudo-adult with a finally sufficiently effective mind-body that yet finds itself and its new powers inexplicably and uncomfortably constrained by unforeseen sociocultural constraints. This happens *before* the development of a mature prefrontal cortex that can both act as an nearly invisible, internal censor of actions and desires and help the individual fully and pleasurably inhabit the embodied sensations of conformity with sociality.

This is why sociopaths and asocial societies are so popular in the literatures of SF, fantasy, and objectivism.

The sensation that the "near-future" is somehow slipping away from "the genre" is a generational, developmental process. Generational clusters of creators usually linked socioeconomically and through amity tend to have evolved and to perceive similar worldviews. Their attempts to realise imagined near-futures tend to be concordant, and increasingly divergent from the actual, emerging future as society evolves according to its own more complex algorithms and not those of pubertal desires.

We are all prisoners of our conscious emergence, of the world as we found it when we became aware of it, and of how we imagined we could transform it. The world we later find ourselves living within is never what we imagined, and indeed our ability to perceive its margins, borders, and fault-lines of conflict become increasingly diminished by our sclerosing, filtering consciousnesses. The past really is a foreign country, and it increasingly renders our future alien to us as well.
posted by meehawl at 1:07 PM on July 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is why sociopaths and asocial societies are so popular in the literatures of SF, fantasy, and objectivism

Your wider thesis is interesting, but I'm not sure what this term means, exactly. An isolated society? One which is highly atomized?
posted by AdamCSnider at 1:42 PM on July 17, 2010


Aw! People are catching up! Good show!

...sorry...


Don't be disingenuous. You are not even a little bit sorry.
posted by pts at 1:43 PM on July 17, 2010


I completely disagree with the first article's assessment of Mieville. Perdido Street Station had a ton of labor politics in it, and I even got tired of it in Iron Council, because it seemed rehashed. Kraken has a familiar strike figure fairly prominently in it, for god's sake, complete with strikebreakers.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:02 PM on July 17, 2010


*skreetch* I need a thesis cleanup on aisle three! *skreetch*
posted by Theodore Sign at 2:04 PM on July 17, 2010


Maybe the rate of change is fast enough that the time-horizon of the future is essentially now.

I used to read a fair amount of futuristic fiction and I don't remember anything with Walmart in it or China growing a consumer society by expanding into western markets.

The other way to say it is that now is so weird that we don't have to imagine it being later to get strange.
posted by warbaby at 2:09 PM on July 17, 2010


I have to say that Halting State, the novel that Stross fretted so much about the near futureyness of, actually turned out pretty good.
posted by Artw at 2:14 PM on July 17, 2010


I'm not terribly convinced by Gray's argument either:

Stephen Baxter's work is full of examples of humans changing the universe; as are the Culture novels. "No world changing project" in Mieville? Not read Iron Council, then, as adamdschneider says? There's politics all the way through Mieville, Ken McLeod, Iain Banks, Richard Morgan, surely? All British writers, which you'd think the New Statesman would be aware of.

No, I'm saying 1984 was never about technology.

Well yeah, a lot of 1984 is based on stuff that was already happening, just made horrifying (to an English reader) by being set in the UK and conducted on a massive scale - the Soviet editing of history by removing people from photographs, etc. And the real horror (for me anyway) of 1984 was the social/psychological control (from the 2-minute hate to Winston's betrayal of Julia): none of which required technology.

Equally, Doctorow's comments about Frankenstein seem more relevant to the movie/pop culture idea of Frankenstein than the actual book, it's been a while since I've read it, but it struck me as being about Frankenstein's betrayal and casting out of the Monster; the Monster initially doesn't want to cause harm but is driven to it by being rejected from human society.
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:22 PM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kraken has a familiar strike figure fairly prominently in it

God, I loved Wati.

But I disagree, adamdschneider, on the matter of Mieville and Morgan (in particular). The works of both do feature politics, yes, but Gray doesn't seem to me to be saying that politics have left science fiction. Just that science fiction no longer showcases humanity's ability to change the world around it. I've never found, in either Mieville or Morgan, any serious sense that the characters - Kovacs, van der Grimnebulin, Marsalis, Borlú - ever had a chance of actually altering the oppressive and crushing sociopolitical structures they operate in. Offer cutting insights, yes. Change anything permanently, no.

Perdido Street Station and Kraken are both good examples of this, in fact. Remember what happens to the voydonoi strikers, and to Wati.
posted by AdamCSnider at 3:24 PM on July 17, 2010


Eh.

It seems to me that the point of sci-fi has always been that it begins at the frontier, but inevitably wends its way back to one's parlor, or one's parents' bridal suite; awe at the machine is shadowed by sorrow at man, Alpha Centauri gets sidelined by Freud or the gods and humors of ancient Greece.

To the degree that near-future, dystopic, explicitly introspective stuff seems the rage, and pristinely visionary stuff seems less so, it's probably a product of several factors:

1) Shiny Technology (of an alienated I-don't-understand-how-this-was-built-or-how-it-works sort) is much more common and accessible than in times past, so there's less of a priestly aura to it, and so it is as much a mark of the mundane as a harbinger of the new;
2) space exploration no longer feels, to many (I'd wager), a Final Frontier (even if it actually is); as we've been doing apparently trivial things in space for fifty years, it now seems like a dangerous but ordinary maintenance ritual, performed by non-exploratory people who fix antennas or something;
3) the present frontier, in the sense of Wait-we-don't-know-anything-about-this-or-how-it's-going-to-develop, is the ubiquity of tracking and monitoring and subtle control by governing institutions. (So are we back to 1984 and Phil Dick? Sure. It's a cycle, and will re-shift toward the great physical and environmental unknown, once new technology foregrounds a way of making space, or the deep ocean, or hidden dimensions, or radical biology, not-quite-accessible but suddenly immensely important.)

To be honest, the panicky tone of the original article, the NO NO IT'S NOT A PERFECT X AND THEREFORE IT'S ACTUALLY Y, endemic to lit crit, really does grate once you're outside college.
posted by darth_tedious at 4:02 PM on July 17, 2010


Science fiction is never about the future, the same way Fantasy is never about the past. They are powerful messages about the present built on powerful metaphors, strong expressions of shared cultural conventions broken and re-assembled at the whim of the author. Even the wacky spy thrillers Gibson is cranking out these days.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:48 PM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess, but I wouldn't call steampunk science fiction, meaning that say the game Arcanum is clearly fantasy and not sci-fi, despite the fact that it also addresses the issues of industrialization and what have you.

The people who wanted to draw a line between science fiction and fantasy lost that battle decades ago. There is no line; some have gone so far as to try to re-label them both "speculative fiction" but that'll never work because of the shitty name. But the idea is no longer controversial. Gaiman and Mieville and Vinge and Bujold and Banks and Stross and Martin and Morgan (and on and on) all write in the same broad genre.

Man, after reading his essay, Gray sure doesn't know what he's talking about.
posted by Justinian at 5:08 PM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm tired of dystopias.

I'm tired of poorly-written dystopias.
posted by Ratio at 6:58 PM on July 17, 2010


Gaiman and Mieville and Vinge and Bujold and Banks and Stross and Martin and Morgan (and on and on) all write in the same broad genre...

Anne Rice and Poppy Z. Brite and Toni Morrison, too.

Oooo... I went there, yes I did.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:11 PM on July 17, 2010


Gaiman and Mieville and Vinge and Bujold and Banks and Stross and Martin and Morgan (and on and on) all write in the same broad genre.

Which is why it might be better to categorize authors not by whether their stories feature dragons or spaceships, but by what they are trying to do with their stories. Are they trying to blow your mind with cool what-if ideas? Are they trying to explore new possibilities in how our social institutions could be constructed? Are they writing a cautionary tale about the dangers of DRM?

And yes, there are writers trying to "expose the illusions of everyday life" as well as current authors writing stories driven by a faith that human (or post-human, or human+alien) intelligence will ultimately change the world/galaxy/universe for the better.
posted by straight at 8:06 PM on July 17, 2010


And is now driven by the horror that we have irrevocably done so.

Looking at the "Science Fiction" racks at my local Big Box bookstore, the genre seems largely driven by vampires.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:09 PM on July 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


A friend of mine once observed that science fiction is speculative fiction that assumes the future will be better than the present or past, whereas fantasy is speculative fiction that assumes the past was better than the present or future. I'm not sure that I buy her assignment of "sci fi" and "fantasy" to those two ideas, since there's a lot of bleed-over (fantasy about the development of new technologies or techniques, and sci-fi that glorifies the "past," relative to the story's timeframe), but it's an interesting framework. A lot of the recent dystopian sci-fi novels tend to fit into the past-was-better genre, anyhow.
posted by Alterscape at 8:22 PM on July 17, 2010


I don't think science fiction has changed in any fundamental way (although it is of course evolving), and I don't think that science fiction today is any less relevant or speculative than it ever was. Those who have decided the genre is somehow dated or past its prime (like this John Gray fellow) probably haven't read any science fiction in the first place. Or they stopped reading it at some imagined point of perfection in the past. Read the magazines, read the new novels, and you'll find plenty of mind blowing sense of wonder stuff that's actively engaged with our world and attempting to see where we might be going.

The main difference today is that science fiction's themes and tropes have leaked into the wider world, but even that's happened before. When Viking 1 landed on Mars in 1976 it killed a lot of stories, instantly rendering a whole swathe of the field into alternate history or fantasy. But the genre adapted, absorbing the new scientific findings and then moving forward, coming up with even more outrageous speculations about what might be out there just past what we can see. If today doesn't look like the better future we imagined it would be, that doesn't mean we should stop speculating and/or concentrate on fantasies that can never come true. It means we need to speculate better and be more imaginative and more rigorous, and really put some effort into drawing that imaginary map between now and a better tomorrow.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:45 AM on July 18, 2010


The people who wanted to draw a line between science fiction and fantasy lost that battle decades ago. There is no line; some have gone so far as to try to re-label them both "speculative fiction" but that'll never work because of the shitty name. But the idea is no longer controversial. Gaiman and Mieville and Vinge and Bujold and Banks and Stross and Martin and Morgan (and on and on) all write in the same broad genre.

Ok great, that tells us nothing. So they write in the genre of Fantasy/Science-Fiction. Ok, fine. But there are very different sub-genres, and Gaiman and Mieville are not close to a many if not most of the sub-genres. I mean, there is a line, whether it comes at the genre or the sub-genre, there tend to tends to be a line between the to, so I don't know what you mean by no longer controversial, but the notion that Gaiman or Mieville and Martin are writing in the same sub-genre seems pretty controversial to me.
posted by Carillon at 1:23 AM on July 18, 2010


but the notion that Gaiman or Mieville and Martin are writing in the same sub-genre seems pretty controversial to me.

I like how you got from me saying "broad genre" to you saying "sub-genre".
posted by Justinian at 1:43 AM on July 18, 2010


Of course they're different genres. I'm not sure why anyone would even want to put all those authors in the same pigeonhole. It's like talking about mystery-westerns or suspense-romances. There's always going to be edge cases where genres bleed together, but putting everything together in one mushy group loses any definitive resolution.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:23 AM on July 18, 2010


On the other hand Gaiman will hapilly confess to not particularly doing Science Fiction, and it's pretty clear what he means by that.
posted by Artw at 6:57 AM on July 18, 2010


Anne Rice and Poppy Z. Brite and Toni Morrison, too.

Resteraunt Fiction!
posted by Artw at 6:59 AM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I actually know precisely what science fiction is but I'm not telling.
posted by eykal at 10:38 AM on July 18, 2010


A book featuring an elf with a jet pack: Fantasy or Science Fiction?
If it's a book featuring a jet pack wearing elf who dispenses advice on how to best manage your 401K, then that book should be shelved in the Personal Finance section.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 3:26 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fucking Eldar...

/thought you said 40K
posted by Artw at 3:39 PM on July 18, 2010


True, my near namesake, if anything the politics that surface in Mieville's world point to a rather fatalistic outlook re: the ability of the masses to throw off the chains of the elite. I was taking exception to the narrow statement that there are no politics in Mieville's work. Viewed more broadly (no hopeful politics, perhaps), I think I'd be forced to agree.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:19 PM on July 18, 2010


A bit suprised to see this posted here a month after the initial conversation. If you are interested in the issues, I would recommend this commentary on Gray's article (and on Laurie Penny's counter-article, also in the New Statesman).
posted by ninebelow at 3:32 AM on July 19, 2010


AdamCSnider: "asocial societies

I'm not sure what this term means, exactly. An isolated society? One which is highly atomized?
"

Not entirely,. I guess I am picking on Tor (and its libertarian agenda) because it was prominently highlighted earlier, but it's the representation of ideas for "future" societies that is so prominent in 'first approximation' SF and fantasy, with its so-political assertion of the feasibility of societies devoid of sociality, of altruism, of distributionism and of gift exchange. You know, all the things that make the more complex, real world work despite the atomising, monopolising, isolating and stratifying effects of labour extraction and capital concentration. I believe this is concordant with part of what the OP's link was saying: imagining these worlds is a political act, writing these fantasies is a political act and publishing them is a political act. Many people use wish fulfillment to attempt to advance, either consciously or unconsciously, a "year zero" simplification and "return-to'simplicity" that they find lacking (or disturbing) in the world as they find it.

These writings have always been about the present - but at some times it is more expedient than others to frame these stories within "the future" or "another planet" or "aliens". This was true when al-Nafis wrote the Theologus Autodidactus, when Kepler wrote Somnium, or when Plato wrote The Republic. All these works used a "radical presentism" to politically critique the societies of their day.

That some older writers and readers notice an apparent "lack" of "what-if" futurism in SF and its apparent replacement by a presentism reflects not some change in the dynamic of sociocultural evolution, or "the genre", but a development in the comfort and sensitivities of a cohort of writers and readers moving together at roughly the same rate through their life and growing into and through their inheritance and reproductive capacities.
posted by meehawl at 11:15 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


You guys really need to read Daemon and FreedomTM.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:38 PM on July 19, 2010


« Older Fruit MRIs   |   Zenyata: the greatest mare ever Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post