Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Brain Parade Future Science Fiction

Over on Meme Therapy, they've posted one of their Brain Parade roundups. The topic this time in "What new formats, subgenres or media would you like to see more science fiction in?" and respondents include me and the inestimable Lou Anders. As invariably seems to be the case with these sorts of things, once I see everyone else's answers I immediately think that my own was thin and anemic, but by then the damage is done. Lou's got all sorts of interesting things to say, though, but that comes as no surprise.

Tell Lou he should read Scott Westerfeld's YA SF, which does what he asks. Uglies/Pretties/Specials and Peeps -- science is sexy, baby. (Or, you know, I can just tell him myself. Ha.)
When I was a kid Niven did it for me. Kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit for.

Subject matter is a different story though. I think a lot of the SF written in the past ten years would have been a bit too dark for me as a child, paticularly the gratuitous torture scenes that seemed to come in vogue in the 90s.
I've got a couple of Westerfeld's books in my to-read pile, but so far haven't had a chance to ckeck them out. I'll be sure to let Lou know (assuming you don't tell him first.)
You may well be right, Jose, on both counts. The SF I read as a kid was only very rarely "kid's SF," and usually just the same stuff sold to adults. And I think a large problem with much of recent sf isn't so much the dark aspect, but what the dark suggests--an utter lack of fun!
I think you hit the nail on the head. I've put down a good number of well written but utterly dull books lately simply because I can't be asked to finnish reading them. But I don't have trouble finnishing books that aren't necessarily written with deathless prose but which are lots of fun regardless.
I've been reading a lot of Moorcock lately, and he's mentioned from time to time that his works, whatever their varied intentions, are first and foremost entertainments.

I've come to believe that fiction can enlighten, inspire, educate, and serve any number of other lofty purposes, but that its first and best use is to entertain. If the worst that can be said about one of my books is that they're merely "fun," I'll consider that an accomplishment.
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