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Kelwyn Sole

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

There’s Science Fiction, and Then There’s Science Fiction

“The enormous pressure to become a reliable cash cow has resulted in a huge portion of bookstore shelf space being taken up by franchise work, reinforcing wish-fulfillment fantasies of people in search of an entertaining escape from reality. This situation has been lamented in scores of eloquent jeremiads, and it is indeed a nasty situation for writers trying to do new and interesting work, and readers looking for same. But it is not as if this is a situation confined to science fiction alone. The particular SF novel we are living in these days is a kind of “happy dystopia,” in which a technologically advanced version of feudalism rules the planet and the stupidification of the culture of the well-off is therefore a widespread phenomenon, helping to obscure the situation to all concerned.

But resistance to this phenomenon, and to the world order it masks, is widespread also, in science fiction as elsewhere. And science fiction is particularly well-suited to resist.  Our business after all is depicting alternatives to the present, in a whole scattering of future scenarios that can, if constructed cleverly, question current reality. And the future is still there, of course, unconquerable – it could become anything, no matter how heavily mortgaged it seems now.”

- Kim Stanley Robinson

 

Recent comments:

  • sitambo
    sitambo
    June 22nd, 2014 @22:21 #
     
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    If anyone is interested in far-out science-fiction, I strongly recommend this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00HMNP5BM?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    June 24th, 2014 @00:30 #
     
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    I read far too little SF to comment on the first para, but these words: 'a “happy dystopia,” in which a technologically advanced version of feudalism rules the planet and the stupidification of the culture of the well-off is therefore a widespread phenomenon, helping to obscure the situation to all concerned' sound like a good description of the Real World today. Except maybe not so happy. We certainly have the feudalism, the stupidification, and the wool-pulling-over-eyes. Fiction less strange than truth, again?

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