Science fiction isn't about the future. It's only set there.

09 Nov 2010 in international | questo post è lungo 367 parole

Black Swan - Bruce Sterling «I suppose we have to get used to people saying really idiotic things about science fiction», writes Shaun Duke. «Whether it's some blogger telling us that science fiction is dead (again) or a non-reader telling us that science fiction isn't literature, there seems to always be someone saying something wrong about the genre».

Shaun points out some example (Why writing fantasy is better than writing science fiction) and makes a good point.

Wikiworld - Paul Di Filippo - English versionJoseph Robert Lewis writes, with an argument based on a common misperception: «to write (good) science fiction you need to understand the future, which is impossible». Lewis then continues with his second point: «really good science fiction totally kills drama. Think about your modern life for a moment. Thanks to the phone in your pocket, you’re never lost, never out of touch, never without access to detailed information. And you can photograph or video anything that happens so you have records or evidence. So you’re not going to have a lot of drama related to being lost, confused, or miscommunicating anything».

Duke responds:  «If only that were true. The problem? Science fiction isn't about the future. It's only set there. Lewis assumes that setting determines what the genre is about, but since that doesn't even work within his own logic (since there are plenty of fantasy stories set in the present, and, thus, for Lewis, must be about the present -- see urban fantasy) it is remarkably faulty. Science fiction has never been about the future; it has always been about the past and the present. Hence the oft repeated claim (an accurate one, I might add) that science fiction is allegorical; something about the future cannot be allegorical, since the future, by definition, hasn't happened yet. Whether traditional fantasy is about the past is debatable (most of it isn't), but science fiction and the past/present are bosom buddies, and understanding that is crucial to understanding the genre». Definitely a worth reading post (even if you are not completely agree with it):  Science Fiction: It's Not About the Future (Part One)

Suggested readings: Bruce Sterling, The Black Swan | Paul Di Filippo, Wikiworld

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