Six Writers Talk of Future of SF

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Six Writers Talk of Future of SF

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http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn1 ... genre.html

NewScientist asked six writers for their thoughts on the future of Science Fiction.

The future of sci-fi
Is science fiction dying, asks Marcus Chown

What does the future hold for the genre of science fiction? We asked six leading writers:

Margaret Atwood

Stephen Baxter

William Gibson

Ursula K Le Guin

Kim Stanley Robinson

Nick Sagan

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Re: Six Writers Talk of Future of SF

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Kim Stanley Robinson says:
Science fiction is now simply realism, the definition of our time. You could imagine the genre therefore melting into everything else and disappearing. But stories will always be set in the future, it being such an interesting space, and there is a publishing category devoted to them. So there is a future for science fiction...
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Re: Six Writers Talk of Future of SF

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Stephen Baxter says:
...In the coming years, whatever else we run out of - oil, fresh water, clean air - change itself will not be in short supply. So there will be no shortage of raw material for science fiction, and a need for it, however it's labelled in the bookshops.
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Re: Six Writers Talk of Future of SF

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Its an interesting set of articles. I note that each author's views are colored by their own writing focus. Baxter focuses on the social commentary of SF. Robinson, who is typically a hard science fiction writer, mentions the danger of SF becoming fantasy if we "skip" the next century and instead focus on "space fiction" set in the far future.

I believe that Science Fiction will always have an important role because it relies on both our ability to reason (science) and our ability to imagine the unreal and combines them in a thought provoking way. The great SF authors are the ones that can do that in an entertaining way that engages the reader.

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Re: Six Writers Talk of Future of SF

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Sci-fi is in no danger of dying as long as we as human beings have the ability to imagine and say: "what if?"

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Re: Six Writers Talk of Future of SF

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I couldn't have said it better myself spknoevl.

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Re: Six Writers Talk of Future of SF

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I think the SV community touched on some elements of this when we were discussing Is fantasy easier to write than science fiction?

It seems that for many of the authors, it comes down to what the definition of Science Fiction is. For most of them it comes down to either a view through their own sub-genre, as The Master commented, or through the eye of someone who's actually read a lot of Science Fiction.

Far off planets, future timelines, and three-eyed aliens don't necessarily make something Science Fiction. However, to your average Joe, that IS Science Fiction. You have to have that stuff in Science Fiction, right?

Most of the authors don't seem to be concerned with the death of Science Fiction as much as the death of GOOD Science Fiction. I think Ursula K Le Guin's comment that "much science fiction is really fantasy in a space suit," seems to resonate among all the authors and myself included. While there is room for the space opera sub genre, there's the fear that it will take over to the point that that's all is left.

If you break it down, you've got science and fiction. A fictional tale that science plays a part in the telling of. Good Science Fiction doesn't need to be set in the future with aliens. Stephen Baxter commented that "...science fiction has - rarely - been about the prediction of a definite future, more about the anxieties and dreams of the present in which it is written" and IMO that's at the core of what good Science Fiction is. Looking at a certain element of today and if not taking it to an extreme, in say a post-apocolyptic nuclear war setting, at least using it as the focus of the story.

Science Fiction is fueled by science. As long as science keeps advancing, keeps coming up with new ideas, Science Fiction will always be there. The focus of popularity in the genre may shift from one sub-genre to another, but I don't see Science Fiction ever dying. GOOD Science Fiction...well...it'll always survive in certain mediums. :mrgreen:

btw, I loved Margaret Atwood's intro paragraph...
Is science fiction going out of date? No point asking me - I'm too old - so I had a talk with Randy-at-the-bank, who looks to me to be about 25. (That may mean he's 35: as you get older the young look younger, just as when you're young the old look older. Time is relative. I know that from reading sci-fi.) I knew he was a sci-fi fan because he said he liked Oryx and Crake (Margaret's latest book.) So as he was setting loose the key I had somehow got stuck in my own safety-deposit box, I asked him what he thought.
I'm going to die the way I've lived...poor, screaming, and naked.

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