Progressive Science Fiction – A Summary View

It’s Easter Sunday and the BSFA awards will be announced this afternoon. When I look through the list, I don’t get that inspired feeling that I have had in other years. Maybe it’s a sign of my growing older, but my guess is that I’m demanding more from my science fiction these days.

This statement is backed up by my positive reaction to the new Thunderbirds Are Go series, the first episode of which was aired yesterday. Whilst it is still very much what I call a youngsters programme, it had touches of sophisticated reality (like Alan and Scott hiding under the table to avoid Grandma’s bad cooking!). So it as a concept has developed from the marionettes of the 1960s.

Which is why I was delighted to dig out an old doodle about progressive science fiction drivers and update it a little bit.


All of the drivers in this picture are not new, but it’s nice to see them all in one place. Obviously you can have the mix and match of them in any story.

One thing did rather strike about this map. The more traditional drivers for science fiction are on the left hand side under the pushing it into fiction, whilst the pull are more traditional drivers for general fiction. It kind of explains a lot of what is happening in science fiction today… the veer away from the science end towards the fantasy and the fact that more new fantasy novels get published than hard science fiction. What it shows to me is that, with a few notable exceptions, the science fiction writing and publishing industry does not have strong enough characters to make real science fiction happen.

As to the why… well I’ll leave that question for another time…

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