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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A lament for science fiction

Bane is vastly underwhelmed by what looks to be the penultimate generation of science fiction writers:

Sci-fi sucks. I used to party with the last of the Old Guard, the Haldemanns and the R. R. Martinesque types. Even then, they were going bad. Now, they are all appearing to be a pack of out and out communists and Trotskyite pinkoes. Self confessed, and proud to be so.

And this takes their written product and makes it as dreary as can be, and not worth reading. I just gave up on Charlie Stross's 'Accelerando' after about five pages. Dreary drivel, with no soul, just like its creator. And he and his kind give each other awards and book contracts. The fish is rotten from the nose to the tip of its tail.

While I very much disagree with the Reaper's Hairball when it comes to Stross, who is one of the very few interesting writers in science fiction today, he's right on target with regards to science fiction in general. I used to absolutely devour science fiction, now I'm on the SFWA's novel jury and I have to force myself to wade through one miserably unreadable book after another to the point that I'm completely losing interest in the genre.

There are the occasional exceptions, of course. For all that he personally resembles the very sort of liberal pinko that Bane abhors, John Scalzi writes science fiction that is quite popular precisely because he's one of the few SF authors writing in the enthusiastic old style.

Science fiction has changed a lot, unfortunately, not for the better. It used to be adventure literature for young men, now it's romance literature for middle-aged women. That's why young men now play science fiction-based computer games instead of reading science fiction novels and so-called science fiction publishers churn out book after book about sexy vampires, seductive were-seals and strong independent forty-something single women looking for love in space.

It's not a crime, but it should be.

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