Do it in the dark.
posted by Johnny Dark at 6/30/2005 05:38:00 PM
I want an option that says "Where's my rocketcar?"
What about "[Groans.] Is science fiction dying again? It just does that to get attention, you know."
Ooh. Genre marketing as munchausen by proxy....That's just wrong
If science fiction is pretending to be dying just to get attention, that's just plain Munchausen. If someone else says it is dying and secretly feeding it bugspray, then it is Munchausen by proxy. Um... I'll go now.
The results so far, as of 28 hours after the poll was posted: Science fiction is dead, alas: 0 votesScience fiction is dead, thank god!: 0 votesIt's not dead yet, but it's dying. Nothing new is any good: 1 voteIt's alive, but who cares? It's all media crap now: 1 voteIt's alive, but hasn't been quite the same since Asimov died: 2 votesSame as ever-- if you like it, you like it: 4 votesSF has been replaced by fantasy: 4 votesDoing fine. There's some crap out there, but there's good stuff too: 23 votesDoing great-- there's more good stuff than ever: 11 votesThe field is doing great, but I kinda miss the days when it was about rockets 'n stuff: 5 votesSF rules! We conquered the world! 5 votesA nice bell curve, but the leader is clearly "Doing fine. There's some crap out there, but there's good stuff too."
Oh, and one I missed:(Write-in candidate) Where's my rocketcar?: 1 vote
I'm with the "I kinda miss the days when it was about rockets 'n stuff" cabal myself. Can we vote for more than one option? (I want a rocket car, too!)
I moved the poll over onto the sidebar, instead of in the main highway, so we can get back to discussing stories.As of now, the results are a clear win for "Doing fine. There's some crap out there, but there's good stuff too."What's the state of science fiction today? Science fiction is dead, alas: 0Science fiction is dead, thank god!: 1It's not dead yet, but it's dying. Nothing new is any good: 2It's alive, but who cares? It's all media crap now: 2It's alive, but hasn't been quite the same since Asimov died: 2Same as ever-- if you like it, you like it: 6SF has been replaced by fantasy: 7Doing fine. There's some crap out there, but there's good stuff too: 33Doing great-- there's more good stuff than ever: 13The field is doing great, but I kinda miss the days when it was about rockets 'n stuff: 8SF rules! We conquered the world!: 6(Write-in candidate) Where's my rocketcar?: 2
I'm one who misses rockets. Rockets that were there to get you from point A to point B, not sentient thought-bots like the ship in Light, for example. My problem with SF today is that so much of it seems like techno-geek oneupsmanship. Cutting edge whiz-bang at the expense of story and character development. And since I'm not anonymous at the moment, I ain't namin' names.
The earliest rockets weren't even rockets; e.g. was it Verne who went to the moon via cannon? Some of that stuff reads more like fantasy now. Then came stories where the basics had to be explained. Writers could spend paragraphs on what would happen to a human in a vacuum, never mind ftl travel. (Nowadays you could write historical drama about rockets if you wanted -e.g.Apollo 13- but that's not my point.) Eventually the conventions are so familiar you can use shorthand (warp drive, anyone?) and spend more time on character development, etc.Same for robots. They started as fantasy, then Isaac Asimov developed his laws of robotics, then Stanislaw Lem, who could write hard s.f. if he wanted (see Solaris) chose to write fairy tales about robots, exploring politics etc.So, arguably, the techno stuff is establishing ground rules (and a sense of wonder?) Once the rules are established, the stories might get less technical, and the wrters'll spend more time on character etc. But that's just my opinion, and I don't know enough about sf to make a stronger case.
Whew! Isn't it a relief that comments on pseudonyms have finally stopped crowding out all the intense critical conversations the Dark Cabal was meant to provide?I mean, who would have had the guts to take a one question poll if they'd had to own up to the results?
It's fairly predictable that in any meeeting of community members a discussion about anything will be dropped in favor of doing a poll or taking a test to determine personal identifiers as, "Which House in Hogwarts would the Sorting Hat put me?," "Which Science Fiction writer am I most likely to resemble?," "What is is my Killing Machine avatar?," and announcing the personal results.All best -- F
I was one of the "Supplanted by Fantasy" people, although I also checked "Doing fine, but there's some crap." I chose Supplanted by Fantasy primarily because reading a collection of in-jokes by hard-science enthusiasts connected by a haphazard plot and cardboard characters doesn't really give me a sense of wonder. (Throwing in Lovecraftian references won't win me over either.)So that's "Sense of Wonder" out the door for SF, currently in the hands of the Hard-SF people.There's also "Exploring Social Issues", which is another great and worthy goal, but alas, Exploring Social Issues only works for me when you have actual characters. Otherwise, you're writing a self-praising thesis with a few cardboard villains to knock over. You can tell who the villains are, because they're the ones who don't like science. Again, fantasy is currently doing this more effectively, overall, than SF.On the other hand, SF is excelling in fulfilling the "Literary Onanism" purpose, so all the folks who read for that reason are having a golden age.
Oh man that stuff up right above this comment, that's just mean. Anyway, I checked that it hasn't been the same since Asimov died (it just hasn't! R. Daneel and Susan Calvin, where are you!). But I think there's still a huge amount of good stuff in SF, way more than Sturgeon's law would imply. I'd say at least 40-50% of it is worthwhile, even if it doesn't fit my or your tastes. I mean, I've heard alot of people decry Terry Goodkind and David Weber, but I really enjoy their stuff. And other people hold up Bruce Sterling as being great, which I can admit, but he just doesn't really pique my interest. Let's all just be happy in our little mini-ghettos.
Tacky and Rahkan: I liked both of your posts; I suppose I must be fickle.Anonymous person whom I've irked:Honestly, I'm not trying to be irritating; I couldn't do serious critique if I tried. But I've seen other writer's blogs with simple little comments like "I agree," or"me, too," or"awesome, dude," and no-one seems to mind. As for the pseudonymity thing, I share my name with an American writer, so I don't really have much choice. And Foxessa: good luck with your new blog.
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