Monday, March 25, 2002

SCIENCE FRICTION: Nick Marsala has some comments up on my comments on a post of his; I was wondering how science fiction is going to stay vital in an era where science fiction is becoming reality. The Arrogant One sayeth:

So does Hard and Soft Science Fiction drive our technological development? No. Human creativity and ingenuity drives that. Science Fiction is merely one of the mediums in which we express ourselves to those of us who can’t quite understand all that over complex tecnhobabble munbojumbo. However, one *can* argue that Science Fiction and Fantasy helps perpetuate the creativity, by those who read the already written text, and then take it to the next step that the previous generation of writers couldn't quite reach. As Science Fiction becomes Science Fact, those of us alive right before or during its introduction into the real word, can see the reality in which it affects us, and takes it to the next logical (or not so logical) steps.

Nick is right on; science fiction lets reality emerge from science facts, unlike mainstream literature which is all about a shared social reality. Actually, I don't think the facts or ideas that underlie a science fiction story have to be of the physical sciences (not that Nick was saying that), otherwise my fave Philip K. Dick gets eliminated as a science fiction writer. To Dick, I think, science fiction was something where you could have an idea and let it shape reality and then have people who had to live in that changed reality and see how they made out under the new conditions --Dr. Bloodmoney being an outstanding example of this. I'm babbling. My point is that SF is where ideas take precedence over everything else as far as determining setting goes, and these ideas can come from anywhere between physics and metaphysics. As long as ideas are things that change the world, you've got science fiction. If ideas are just more words in conversations, you've got literature on your hands. Of course you can find things that will defy categorization, but SF as the genre where ideas determine setting is what I think covers the most ground if you're debating what is or isn't SF. It's the best I can think of right this second.

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