Thursday, June 10, 2004

Post-Future Science Fiction

As I typically do when reading a (at least to me) relatively new author I find enjoyable, I tend to look out on the internet for interviews, backgrounders, and reviews of his work - a general examination of what "the world" (or at least its online portion) thinks of the person I've discovered. Often, I find little gems that crystalize something completely unexpected and pleasant.

A perfect example is this wonderful little article Ken MacLeod wrote a number of years ago on the history of science fiction writing and its reactions to the arrival of the future they write about. KM does an excellent review of the various different "schools" of science fiction that have evolved over the years in reaction to the environment - beginning with 'agenda sf' and moving forward to 'new wave,' 'hard SF,' 'cyberpunk,' and today's fractured approaches. Implied is the idea that science fiction has often been a reaction to both the genre as it currently is as well as the world and society in which we live in. I suppose that's why I continue to read in the genre, even at my age, though my tastes have changed dramatically since when I first started. And perhaps I just like the fact that someone other than me still remembers the classic novel "Stand on Zanzibar" (which KM rightly mentions, depicts a "nightmare future" in 2010 [the novel having been written in '69] that is in many ways much nicer than the one we're actually in now) - it was always one of my personal favs.

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