Because the future is depressing?

Rant in the Globe & Mail from Spider Robinson regarding the current state of science fiction. He opines that SF readers today seem to prefer fantasies rather than the forward-looking works of science and space travel that used to dominate the genre.
‘Why are our imaginations retreating from science and space, and into fantasy?’

(via Slashdot)

6 Replies to “Because the future is depressing?”

  1. For me, the reason I’ve retreated away from Sci-Fi for the most part is that all the sci-fi authors I’ve read in the last…eight years with the exception of one…suck ass.
    Hell, I’ll go out on a limb and say that in the last eight years theres been only two fiction writers I’ve come across who didn’t turn into crappystink bags of poorly written characters.
    Carl Hiaasan and Iain Banks.
    I’ve slugged through works from old writers I used to like and new writers and it’s all turning into crap. New writers out there like K.S Robinson can’t squeeze out a plot without droning on and on for 70 pages, then move onto something else without ever getting the point they were trying to make 70 pages ago.
    Nothing Gibson has written in the last ten years is worth a darned from what I’ve seen, Pournelle is an ass, Clancy is torture to read, ugh it gives me a headache to think about it.
    I don’t know what happened, but after reading Banks, everything else in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy realm seems hollow and boring.
    I don’t think the future is going to be depressing, it’s going to be better.

  2. Dan Simmons is worth reading. The Hyperion Cantos is pretty good “hard” sci-fi; at least until it gets preachy for…oh, the last book or so.

  3. I’ve always liked the Science and politics behind Bujold’s books — my only problem with the Vorkosigan books is that the author’s hit on this idea that beating the crap out of the hero is what makes the story really click, and 12 books in the poor bastard can barely feed himself anymore.

  4. Try Spider Robinson if you like clever characters & stories in your sf. Try David Weber if you like action & military sf. Try F.M. Busby for bare bones writing style but great plots & memorable characters. Go ask your local librarian for more suggestions. Just quit bitching & get reading.

  5. Hmmm. Looking at the sf I’ve read of late, a lot of it’s been Space Opera — David Weber, Elizabeth Moon, Cole & Bunch, David Drake, folks like that. Military fiction with zap gun and hyperdrives. I suspect Robinson probably wouldn’t approve. But I’m rarely looking for Mind-Expanding New High Concepts when I read — I’m looking for entertainment, amusement, something to grab my attention at lunch or on the couch.
    Or media-based sf. Peter David’s “New Frontiers” Star Trek novels come to mind. Albeit, that’s the only example that does.
    And there’s always rereading old classics, old favorites.
    The rest — yeah, fantasy — contemporary, past, whatever. I think Robinson is mistaken when he discusses fantasy as only backwards-looking — themes of heroism and sacrifice and facing and overcoming dark and terrible dangers are by no means “past” themes, nor are they themes not to be encouraged, since they can appear on Mars, in St Louis, or in Middle Earth.
    Actually, there’s a bit of irony here, since the most recent episode of the only thing by Robinson I’ve bothered reading in the past five years was … sf that was firmly and solidly and intentionally based a decade in the past. And heavily leavened with fantasy.

  6. Erkle?
    I’ll admit that most of what I’ve read lately has been fantasy. Most of what I’ve admired that I’ve read lately has been fantasy or fantasy crossover, like Alice Hoffman. –Some amazing things have happened to fantasy over the last decade or two, with magic realism and a return to the non-epic fantasy in which one’s soul is coughed up onto the landscape, like Graham Joyce.
    Fantasy is readable.
    Not that SF isn’t…sometimes. But it does seem like the better SF writers with the good ideas aren’t the ones that make eternal, likeable characters anymore. Greg Egan? Rudy Rucker? Sheeeeeeeesh. You may as well be reading horror. I haven’t read any good ideas paired up with people who successfully solve problems or have red hair and take all their clothes off at the drop of a cat lately…

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