I’m feeling in a cynical wacky mood… a dangerous combination at the best of times, but perhaps one of the combinations that goes to make up a traditional British eccentric…
Why this mood… well, I’m stuck in my writing… I’m trying to describe a Solar System feature that I’ve never seen described before, or anything like it, which just goes to show that there are places where science fiction writers may never have been before. I keep starting with a well-it’s-like-this… only in the next few seconds to dismiss it as a crazy idiocy.
So it’s not surprising my mind keeps wandering off piste… so here are some wacky cynical thoughts about the current vogues in science fiction – enjoy!
Cyberpunk – is trying to grapple with dealing with computers and how they could turn out in the longer term. Well, I suspect most of you would have known that!
Zombies – I hate ’em. They are dull, boring, moronic and not that much life in ’em. But why the popularity? Well, I guess that as we get more integrated as a society, we get more and more like each other. So we get more like the same boring personality. So the shoot-em-down-zombies is really a reaction to the growing uniformity in our society… and now I can understand why they’re so popular as stories.
Steampunk – going back to the oldy-worldy tech. Now I like a good old steam engine in full puff as much as anyone else, but steampunk keeps on inventing things in its steamy way. Is it the escape from oil? Nah! Steam was much more smelly and dirty as a world, particularly when you needed so much in the way of fires and boilers. I reckon it’s something else entirely. In the good old days, tech designs were built to last, they had extra margins built into them to stand the extra strains and strains. Look at he Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco – it takes today’s traffic load. Compare that with more modern bridges, which have had to be rebuilt to take increase dtraffic and loads. I reckon steampunk is the wish fulfilment of going back to days when tech things wouldn’t be so easily broken if they were used ‘out of specification’.
Dystopia or is really another wish fulfilment in going back some way to a simple uncomplicated life?
Going back slightly further in time we had the warnings of what could go wrong with our world – what I call the John Wyndham or George Orwell type books. Well, knowing about a potential problem is part way to preventing it or solving it.
Of course, if we go even further back in science fiction history, we have technology boom of the 40s and its follow through into the 50s. That’s when we had all those books that taught us what science could bring in the future. This is very much in line with ideas of Hugo Gernsback when he set up Amazing Stories.
So, hands up as to who’s noticed a pattern here about the various movements in science fiction?
Yes, science fiction is a commentary of the societal issues of our time, only for some of them the reason is harder to see than others.
And the big question is, what is the next big issue and how will science fiction tackle it?
I was listening in to some of the BBC broadcasts about astronomy earlier this week. There was one question sent in by a boy when I went – if only my novel had been published I would have not only given him part of the answer, but lightened up his imagination.
So no wonder I’m feeling cynical…
PS I might delete this post when I’m feeling more like a normal human being again… I said feeling, not being…