When science fiction is not science fiction.

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Do you still read that crazy, Buck Rogers stuff?

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When science fiction is not science fiction.

Postby admin » Wed May 29, 2013 8:15 am

Yesterday, I posted about fantasy that doesn't feel like fantasy to me. My most recent science fiction reading, by William Gibson and Neal Stephenson, feels like science fiction but isn't really. That is, it is set in the present day and nothing happens that could not actually happen using today's technology. I enjoyed both books, but I'm still waiting for some real sf, maybe the next Vernor Vinge novel, or Lord Vorpatril's Alliance, when it comes out in paperback in September.
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Re: When science fiction is not science fiction.

Postby HAL Jr » Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:41 am

Firstly, where is everyone? And where have all the forum posts gone??
As to modern SF, well I believe there's a feeling amongst new authors that everything in SF has been done, that people won't read stuff unless its new, cutting edge. Of course there are still great stalwarts of 'proper sf' such as Alastair Reynolds and Paul Mcauley. But I think they're pretty unknown amongst the youth of today brought up on nothing more thought provoking than Harry Potter or the latest zombie flick.
It doesn't help that bookshops ,certainly in my town, have a Sci-Fi and fantasy section filled mainly with fantasy!
Has SF had its day?
I dont know. I like reading the old stuff personally. I find much new SF cold and lacking that sense of wonder.
Would you like a stress pill Dave?
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The popularity of zombies.

Postby admin » Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:19 am

Good to hear from you, Hal 9000. Hint: Don't trust Dave.

As for where everybody has gone, I wish I knew.

I love Harry Potter. It feels like fantasy to me. In contrast, the most recent fantasy I read, River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay, had only the least smidgen of fantasy in it. I gather it resembles a more romantic Game of Thrones in that respect.

As for the popularity of zombies, there are a large number of people, particularly here in the US South, who own semiautomatic weapons and would dearly love to kill large numbers of people with them. But they know, in their hearts, that killing people is wrong. So they fantasize about killing zombies.
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Re: When science fiction is not science fiction.

Postby HAL Jr » Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:36 am

I liked the first Harry Potter film but got bored soon after. I really think that fantasy has overtaken sf. People like an easy read and see sf as hard to read and boring.
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Re: When science fiction is not science fiction.

Postby admin » Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:55 am

The Harry Potter books are better than the films, the earlier books and films better than the later ones. As for people liking simple stories, most people like who-done-its, which have a simple style, likeable characters, but require a certain amount of puzzle solving. The same is true with the most popular video games. And the top science fiction writers are certainly not simple: Neal Gaiman and Neal Stephenson.
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Re: When science fiction is not science fiction.

Postby HAL Jr » Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:16 am

I think the problem with this forum is that posts keep disappearing, so visitors come but see an empty forum so don't bother registering!
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Re: When science fiction is not science fiction.

Postby admin » Wed Jan 01, 2014 7:49 am

The other side of that coin is that if posts stay up forever, the forum gets too long. But I'll change the setting, and we'll see what happens.
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Re: When science fiction is not science fiction.

Postby HAL Jr » Wed Jan 01, 2014 8:22 am

Not a problem with other sf forums! Some have posts that have been around for years and still get comments on!
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Re: When science fiction is not science fiction.

Postby Stinky93 » Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:51 am

I'm still here, but generally in stealth mode.
I've slowly come to the conclusion that I really don't much care anymore to put forth any online opinion
on any topic. Call me lazy or apathetic.
I guess it stems from the fact that I generally don't pay much attention to anyone else's posts, and I don't really care if
people like or do not like what I have to say either (online at least).
I still think this is one of the best sites around, and I stop in and check it out whenever I can.
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Re: When science fiction is not science fiction.

Postby Brightonian » Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:19 am

Perhaps the flipside of this is when SF novels get published as "mainstream". I've recently read two novels about aliens taking human form and living among us, both of which were marketed without the words "science fiction" sullying the cover: The Humans by Matt Haig and Under the Skin by Michael Faber. I'm about to read Life after Life by Kate Atkinson which features someone living a period of their life over and over again, like the guy in Ken Grimwood's Replay. Though it's perhaps debatable whether this can be claimed as an SF trope, as the same plot device occurs in Ouspensky's mystical novel The Strange Life of Ivan Osokin (1915).
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Re: When science fiction is not science fiction.

Postby admin » Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:55 am

I've been reading some old sf: Fritz Leiber, Isaac Asimov, Theodore Sturgeon, Hal Clement. One think I notice is that the authors assume readers know at least some science: the names of elements, the difference between an acid and a base. Modern books, even "hard science" books, cannot assume their readers know anything about science. it's all touchy feely.
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