sorry to have to say this again, but

Science fiction survives on its metaphors, catching an echo from the human context then rifling current science for an image or chain of images to act as a correlative. The rationales behind this project (including the rationale that it’s all rational, the claim that the project has, or should have, more in common with scientific discourse than poetic, philosophical or political discourse) are less important to the general reader than the excitement of the found image. Science fiction is not read as a form of peer-reviewed publication.

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5 Comments

Filed under predicting the present, science fiction

5 responses to “sorry to have to say this again, but

  1. I agree with you with all points except one… because of the internet, nearly everything is potentially subject to peer review. I was reviewing a sf book for this guy, and I told him that it was unfit for publication. He explained that it’d been submitted to Amazon’s Createspace and subjected to the scrutiny of a reading group to which he belonged. I advised him to keep it personal because it became a case of there being too many cooks.

    For me science fiction has never been about the science; in fact I find the best science fiction in stories that immerse the reader in the world itself and the tangled trajectories of the characters. The potentiality of the future’s science condenses, contributing with its potentiality, on the surface of this juxtaposition.

    I would, if I were to quibble with labels, go as far as to claim that the only true genre is sf, and everything else is just subgenre.

  2. uzwi

    I meant that sf isn’t read as a scientifically peer-reviewable act of science.

  3. Reader

    “The excitement of the found image”. Exactly that. For me, science fiction is a mere device to allow characters the belief that their fictional universe is rational (and build a story on that), while allowing me to enjoy all the found images of the fantastic that I irrationally love.

  4. Daniel del Valle

    Sense of wonder as the possibility to be perplexed by the sparks of light reflected in the glass facade of the fantastic.

  5. MichaelO

    It hasn’t been all the brood of Hugo Gernsback, even from the beginning. Hodgson’s Night Land and Lindsay’s Voyage to Arcturus could give a ripe dump about the science in their fiction, not to mention the gaudy planets of Burroughs or Clark Ashton Smith or Jack Vance. I think the SF that aspires to clinical accuracy, or even bald seriousness, is pretty lean fraction.