Nobody really knows where the fuck to take it. After post-New Wave and cyberpunk, almost no one had any idea what was next, no one had anything to do or any story to tell that could be told better as science fiction than in any other genre. I think also part of the problem is that there's been a turn towards the contemporary - towards the moment, and towards the specifics of the present condition, and away from speculation and generality.
It's worth pointing out that a significant part, I would say the majority, of the interesting science fiction that's come out over the past ~25 years has been backwards-looking, paying homage to or trying to revive older kinds of science fiction, whether that be space opera or cyberpunk. People want to write science fiction, but they don't have any new ideas about what to do with the genre.
>>5124515 It has to. It's the only qualitative thing separating the classics (Roadside Picnic, Solaris, Asimov etc) from fantasy. >>5124524 This somewhat, although in my opinion Alastair Reynolds still has his gaze on the future and he's not 100% full of shit. Africa could be the next superpower if they collectively tame their inner nigger. Mechanics is a bit of a rehash of Icarus from DX1, but still a current dream of good government.
>>5124540 Reynolds was one of the people I had in mind w/ 'interesting science fiction', but he's also someone who is recapitulating past forms of science fiction IMO, specifically space opera.
Also IMO speculation and thinking about the future are two different things. The decline in speculation isn't because people aren't thinking about the future, and speculation doesn't have to be about the future. I mean, a lot of the great New Wave works of SF are not really serious predictions about the future at all. But they're still fundamentally speculative - they're speculating about human existence and 'what could be but is not'. So it's not that the future has gone away, it's that speculation has. (also this theory is still in development and I haven't figured out, eg, what precisely differentiates fantasy from science fiction so yeah)
I like speculating about mankind and its relation to the future, but I don't get why that must always be "SCI-fi." The title of the genre itself seems to resign itself to the authority of science...wouldn't "speculative fiction" open more doors (and close a lot of lesser entryways)?
Meh, I don't know. I'm drunk and barely read sci-fi.
>>5124570 >>5124570 People have been arguing about what to call the genre for like 50 or 60 years. Historically a lot of people (including a lot of really good writers) agree with you that science fiction is a bad name and speculative fiction would be better. There's also been some arguments that different names like SF, sci-fi, science fiction, and speculative fiction should be used to refer to different kinds of fiction.
But TBH these days most people use them all interchangeably because no one gives a shit anymore and it's easier.
>>5124365 Good sci-fi writers (or really any kind of writer) have always been outnumbered by the bad ones. For every Philip K Dick or Ray Bradbury, there are five no-names who had one printing of their crappy, sci-fi fantasy novel that's rotting in the back of a goodwill. There hasn't been enough time to filter out the recent crap.
>>5124355 Hey look, you posted the same thread again, even though your old one got plenty of responses and just died a couple of hours ago. You didn't even manage to make your OP more interesting this time around. Great job.
spoilers: there's no hard and fast difference between sci-fi and fantasy. Book of the New Sun, Dune, Canopus in Argos and many many others give the lie to any hard&fast dichotomy. the more seriously someone takes such dichotomy, the more they enforce their own genre ghetto and cheapen fantastic works of every stripe.
>>5125877 This. It's also good to mention that the print magazine has collapsed because of television, making literature far more niche activity, attempted by the passionate. There's also, more and more since Star Wars, the lure of screenwriting, which offers young sci-fi authors the chance to make something visual or fail awfully and give it up instead of getting paid for mediocre short stories in pulp mags until they improved.
>>5128730 I didn't write that but Ted Chiang's fucking great, check out his short story Exhalation for some god-tier science fiction (pdfs are easy to find online). I also just finished Blindsight by Peter Watts which I think is also "Great" sci-fi. Oryx & Crake might be in this category too, I don't know.
I like sci-fi a lot, it's definitely my favorite genre for light reading, but yea most of it isn't great. E.g. Culture series gets held up a lot, but let's be honest, they're not great ruminations on the human condition that are going to be read and talked about half a century from now. They're fun action-adventure books filled giant robots and really cool space ships.
There's nothing wrong with liking a book or an author or a genre because it's fucking FUN. You can enjoy Pynchon and Danielle Steele at the same time, if that's your thing. Why lie to yourself about it? You're just making yourself unhappy.
I, personally, despise fantasy, I think it's garbage and it makes me roll my eyes. But that's ME, what gets my dick hard is lasers and super computers, and I don't try to pretend otherwise.
The whole discussion about renaming sci-fi "speculative fiction" is so fucking stupid. It doesn't matter what in the fuck you call it. There's always going to be bad speculative-fiction or bad future-writing-fiction or bad space-monster-bookie-things, and there's always going to be "great" post-present-fiction and there's always going in-between not-now-and-not-the-past-and-not-non-fiction. Trying to rename a genre is just an excuse to try to run-away from the unpopular bits, to lie to yourself and say "oh but it's OK, i'm still respectable because I only like the GOOD fantasy/sci-fi/romance/whatever"
Just like what you like, who gives a shit what it's called. If you want to find good sci-fi, it's out there.
It's really not worse though. If you actually compare the recent award winners like 2312 and Ancillary Justice to early award winners and a lot of the golden age stuff, there is a comical difference in quality. We are getting some of the best SF right now.
>>5124540 I started Revelation Space the other night and I'm loving this. It's so easy to read. I don't know why. I read the Wiki articles for his books a month or two ago, and hard sci-fi really intrigues me mainly because Clarke's Third Law is my favorite concept of anything.
So much enjoyment. I'm happy to actively be reading again.
Licensed Media Tie-In Novels have taken over the midlists Star Trek, Star Wars, rpg/wargame/computer game, etc They occupy the sales positions authors like Gene Wolfe once held So unless you're a big name author its hard to get sales and that means its hard for them to get signed, and the only to become a big name is to get signed
The second reason would be the collapse of the short story market Traditionally authors would hone their craft and make their name by first writing for years in the various short story magazines and paperback anthologies, even make it their exclusive avenue for output for some authors Starting out writing short stories allows through its constraint an author to learn how to pace a story and structure the plot and develop characters Right up til the late 70s/early 80s there were about 5 or 6 magazines in North America, 1 or 2 in the UK, and numerous paperback anthologies of original material (Damon Knights Orbit series is a good example) Now there are three magazines that nobody reads cause they're not stocked anywhere, and no anthologies except years best-ofs and retrospectives and retro throwbacks (the latter two filled with big names cause thats the only way they can get published) So with nowhere to learn or develop you're supposed to write a trilogy of brick-sized novels as your first time sale. Or sign up to write a licensed novel which drains your creativity through the inability for anything to happen to the characters or universe.
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