Posts Tagged: science fiction
The stories we tell ourselves can help us understand, and maybe even adapt, to this new world. But the dour dystopias and escapist fantasies of our current science fiction diet just won’t do. We need something new: a form of science fiction that tackles the radical changes of our pressing and strange reality.
The Hugo Award is one of the highest honors bestowed upon science fiction, a genre which is (finally) broadening to include a diversity of authors and views. That’s not a good thing, according to many white male writers and fans, who have banded together as the “Sad Puppies” to fight against what they see as affirmative action for women and writers of color who are dominating the nominations for the Hugos....more
Take that, Mom and Dad. Turns out studying literature can be practical. The Atlantic looks at the evolution of climate fiction, a new genre that’s getting readers interested in environmental issues and inspiring students to study STEM subjects:
In this respect, cli-fi is a truly modern literary phenomenon: born as a meme and raised into a distinct genre by the power of social media.
We can toss around “sci-fi,” “fantasy,” “magical realism,” “surrealism,” and a dozen other genres in our struggle to categorize literature, but the term “weird fiction” is an interesting category that attempts to encapsulate a unifying element. Over at Lit Hub, Tobias Caroll makes the case for “weird fiction” and covers several examples of its wide breadth....more
For Electric Literature, Ryan Britt interviews Cuban sci-fi novelist Yoss. Their discussion covers the influence of heavy metal on Yoss’s fiction, as well as how science fiction can work as “code” for contemporary social issues:
In Cuba, on the other hand, it is normal that if one deals directly with the most critical points of the “real world,” the official response will be, in fact, intolerant: If one does not draw an optimistic panorama, one will be accused of being a defeatist, of siding with the enemy, etc.
The idea for the novel Dune evolved from a magazine article Frank Herbert began researching about the government’s efforts to stabilize shifting sand dunes on Oregon’s coast in 1959. At the Guardian, Hari Kunzru looks at how the science fiction novel changed the world:
Though Dune won the Nebula and Hugo awards, the two most prestigious science fiction prizes, it was not an overnight commercial success.
Fiction written under an authoritarian or totalitarian government often dares readers to view the work as a critique of that society.
In a review of two science fiction works by Cuban authors, Electric Literature takes a look at the surprising connection between oppressive political ideologies and fantastical worlds in fiction....more
She felt that this approach illuminated a fundamental truth about language: The very act of using language, she once told an interviewer, involves a ‘castration. The moment we utter a sentence, we’re leaving out a lot.’
A “nanopress” has begun reissuing the work of novelist, poet, and essayist Christine Brooke-Rose, who died in 2012....more
Of course Zadie Smith’s written a science fiction epic, set on September 11, 2001, chronicling the haphazard relationship between Marlon Brando, Michael Jackson, and Elizabeth Taylor. And of course it’s based on a true story, or at least an urban myth, supported by textual evidence, that she just felt the need to fill in the details of....more
What has happened is simple: an angry mob has exploited a loophole in how nominations occur in order to crash a party that they seemingly detest anyway. The gaming of the Hugo Awards Ballot wasn’t executed for frivolous reasons: it was organized by racist, homophobic people who want science fiction to be going backwards instead of looking toward the future.
Two years ago, it seemed the publishing industry couldn’t get enough of the XXL novel. But now, the trend may be shifting towards something smaller: the novella. Over at io9, Charlie Jane Andrews speaks with science fiction publisher Tor.com about their list of upcoming novellas:
For our readers, time is the precious commodity they invest in every book they decide to purchase and read.
Suzette Haden Elgin, the pioneering writer at the intersection of science fiction, linguistics, and activism, is remembered at io9 after her passing last week. Elgin leaves behind a body of work that is both fantastical and practical, escapist and activist; though she is perhaps best known for her nonfiction book The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense, her accomplishments also include creating a whole constructed language for her novel Native Tongue and founding The Science Fiction Poetry Association....more
Over at The Toast, Mallory Ortberg gives us a compendium of signs that you’re stuck in a soft sci-fi novel. Among the more notable signifiers:
You live in a world where robots masturbate, for some reason.
The ship’s doctor has a drinking problem.
We’re only a few centuries and a small apocalyptic event away from isolated communities of huddled believers worshipping the gospels of Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, and Le Guin….Let’s not think about L Ron Hubbard.
In the Guardian, Damien Walter argues that science fiction is the religion of the future....more
For the Guardian, Damien Walter applauds the growing diversity of science fiction titles in 2014, particularly the work of Kameron Hurley and Anne Leckie’s debut novel Ancillary Justice. Of Leckie’s work Walter writes:
Its unconventional take on gender politics helped Ancillary Justice make a clean sweep of the Hugo, Nebula, Clarke and BSFA awards, a rare and deserved achievement.
My heart pounded and my breath choked in my windpipe. I had stumbled on an accidental mention of a totally unfamiliar race. Obviously non-Terrestrial. Yet, to the characters in the book, it was perfectly natural—which suggested they belonged to the same species.
In the wake of the events surrounding the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, science fiction can offer a particularly compelling alternative to illustrate a future without violence and inequality. Mary Hansen at Yes! talks with author and activist Walidah Imarisha, who coined the term “visionary fiction:”
I think that science fiction and visionary fiction, as my co-editor Adrienne Maree Brown says, are a perfect testing ground to explore the countless alternatives that could exist to policing and institutions like prisons.
Science fiction is a growing force on the Chinese literary landscape now that government scrutiny of the genre has loosened up, according to a recent article in the Times. The English publication of Liu Cixin’s The Three Body Problem, following the inclusion of several of the author’s stories in the prestigious People’s Literature journal in 2012, serve as evidence of a growing readership....more
2014 may not have been an especially good year for female writers in general, but it apparently saw a rise in prizes and accolades for women writing science fiction. Unfortunately, this is but a small step forward toward gender equality within the genre....more