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read biography for - Sulkyblue

 Sulkyblue ( 12th Sep 2003, 17:49, Rank: Nazgul )  reply

I was going to write an inspired response to this, but I really can't think of one. I have to say I read a few of the slashdot posts and ran away.
I think if I'd have been subjected to that speech at Worldcon I would have been more than a little dejected about the whole thing - how about celebrating the excellent sf that is out there rather than implying that it's all rubbish?


read biography for - dormouse

 dormouse ( 12th Sep 2003, 18:20, Rank: Jedi )  reply

Yes I'd tend to agree. I don't claim to be any sort of expert on sf, but there seems to me to be plenty of good stuff being written. Although I can see the point that maybe the sf out there seems less imaginative and ground breaking than it used to - perhaps it is 'by definition' due to it being a mature genre with well-read readers, or because sf thoughts are becoming more mainstream now and no longer sf but reality. I'm often amused these days by headlines (particularly to do with cloning) that declare (shock, horror) what might happen if we don't watch out.

What authors would people suggest as writing current, groundbreaking SF? The main one that springs to mind for me would be Greg Egan, but TBH I haven't been reading that much new SF recently...


read biography for - John Kirk

 John Kirk ( 12th Sep 2003, 18:59, Rank: Patrician )  reply

Well, I'm not sure that he's right, but I'm also not sure whether he's talking about people like us. He refers to "young people" and later to "grown adults", so he may just be complaining that children aren't reading SF. Personally, I read far more SF than fantasy, so I wouldn't say that the genre's dead.

He mentions "Tolkienesque fantasy" - I would guess that Tolkien books are suddenly selling a lot better than they used to, due to the success of the films. So, there may be a case of misleading statistics - is it just that SF books are at the same level, and fantasy has shot up, or have SF book sales actually dropped? The other big success that springs to mind is Harry Potter (which I guess would count as fantasy), but I definitely don't think it's a bad thing if loads of children are reading those books.

More generally, I think he has an "either/or" attitude which is misplaced. After all, there's no reason that people can't read SF and fantasy. I also think he's being overly negative about people "clinging to" media novels, which was echoed in a comment on Slashdot ("People who read Star Trek novels aren't interested in proper SF"). Which incidentally is the type of head-stuck-up-arse attitude that makes me avoid Slashdot unless someone specifically points me at a link...

Personally, I've never read any of Spider Robinson's books, so I don't know whether they're any good. As for other authors, I'm not sure about "groundbreaking", since there's loads of books that I haven't read, so it's hard to say whether ideas are completely new vs. just new to me. But over in the comics field, Grant Morrison comes up with a lot of very weird ideas, e.g. having cities on Earth hidden inside tesseracts, so that you have lots of wide open spaces. Warren Ellis has also done some interesting SF in comics, and he's writing a novel soon - (newsarama.com).


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