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Showing posts from August, 2012

A Genre Of Things?

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Science fiction was created by geeks, who prefer objects to people.

An over-simplification?

Perhaps.

But it also explains the predominance of 'ideas', concepts and technology in SF literature. And the cardboard characters who are often servants to the exposition.

If science fiction was created by geeks, then fantasy was created by dreamers, no?

But geeks are people too, and they dream.

So what do they dream about?

Super powers to defeat the bully with. Maybe genetically engineered super powers, or maybe some cool cyborg add-on. You know, that anyone could use.

Aliens - someone not-human who we can maybe talk with. And sympathise with. Maybe even crave the existence of. For do not geeks sometimes feel like aliens themselves?

A future where people are reasonable and wise, and where they are more likely to co-operate than threaten or fight. So no more stranger-fear.

A narrative that doesn't revolve around the troublesome issue of sex and relationships.

That last part is espe…

Science Fiction as fantasy

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Predictions are not really about the future. What they really do is portray one's view of the present. Science Fiction predictions are no different.

In Mary Shelley's time, advances in biology and engineering convinced many that humans were just like machines. So we got Frankenstein's monster, a bundle of stitched together body parts that was powered by electricity.

In the post-war years we all got excited about computers and, coincidentally, became convinced that the human brain was just a computer. So we got humans dispensing with their bodies and uploading themselves into networks, and we got smart androids imagining themselves to be human, as if there was no difference. Hence the angst ridden tag-line 'what it means to be human' appearing on dozens of sci-fi book covers.

Both these ideas sound ever so 'hard' science fiction. But in fact both ideas were, and remain, complete fantasy. Because that's what science fiction is - fantasy.

It's the fan…