Archives for sci-fi

How SF has changed and why I don’t read dystopias

I saw a fascinating panel at Mile Hi Con about how SF has changed over the last 50 years, moderated by Paolo Bacigalupi. Really good observations by all, but what really struck me is the loss of optimism about the future. Dystopias are big. Series like Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games are megahits, and you can’t seem to get away from them. And when you stop and think about it, you can understand why. We live in what we would call the second Great Depression if we were really honest about the economy and unemployment numbers. Times are tough. People are looking for
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Why Sci Fi? (Part 2)

In my last post, I established the cultural value of sci-fi. However, just because it has cultural value, does that mean it has literary value? In order to evaluate whether or not sci-fi/fantasy belongs in the larger category of literary fiction, we first need to define some terms. What makes literary fiction, well, literary? And what makes sci-fi/fantasy, sci-fi/fantasy? Literary fiction, I feel, is best described as a thought provoking work of art in book form. They are narratives that transcend time, genre, and resonate with ideas. At its best, literary fiction should be a learning experience, a spiritual experience,
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Why Sci Fi? (Part 1)

As a genre, science fiction and its relatives (from horror, to fantasy, to dystopias) are by in large dismissed by the literary community. To me, to dismiss sci-fi and fantasy is to dismiss George Orwell (1984), Margaret Atwood (Handmaid’s Tale), Mary Shelly (Frankenstein), Bram Stoker (Dracula), Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels), and Beowulf, to name a few.  Recently, Pulitzer-Prize winning author, Michael Chabon wrote of his frustrations early in his writing career when his sci-fi flavored stories were dismissed and ridiculed.  On the surface, the literary community makes some good points. The otherworldly impossibilities are often times nothing more than imaginative
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A Tribute to Ray Bradbury

It was the future: 1999, back when the 2000s promised flying cars, silver jumpsuits, Y2K, and Jeston’s-like fare. For me, however, I was being introduced to the past. It was then that I went to hear a man named Ray Bradbury speak. At the time, I hadn’t read any of his work, but I sort of recognized the name. I thought it might be interesting to go and see a famous author give a talk, and I had to attend at least one public speaking engagement as a requirement for a theater and film class I was taking at the
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Why Sci-Fi?

As a genre, science fiction and its relatives (from horror, to fantasy, to dystopias) are by in large dismissed by the literary community. To me, to dismiss sci-fi and fantasy is to dismiss George Orwell (1984), Margaret Atwood (Handmaid’s Tale), Mary Shelly (Frankenstein), Bram Stoker (Dracula), Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels), and Beowulf, to name a few.  Recently, Pulitzer-Prize winning author, Michael Chabon wrote of his frustrations early in his writing career when his sci-fi flavored stories were dismissed and ridiculed.  On the surface, the literary community makes some good points. The otherworldly impossibilities are often times nothing more than imaginative
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The Big Argument

Yes, friends, it’s here. Actually, it’s been here for quite some time, and no one has figured out how to get rid of it. Neither Black Flag nor borax has any effect. The big argument is, of course: Where does science fiction end and fantasy begin? I’ll grant you that this one will never be settled. There are both good and not-so-good reasons for that. But before we get really serious, let’s have a gander at the most serious problem an SF writer must face: whether and when to violate known physical laws. If you enjoy science fiction (which I
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