There is a cartoon going the rounds showing the spines of diaries. The titles go something like this:
...2013, 2014, 2015, The Year Nobody Talks About, 2017, 2018…
Well this year has been awful on a personal front (no, I’m not going into details or I’ll have you all crying torrents) and in terms of world news. There have been so many high profile figures that have died this year, a trend we don’t seem to see the end of. The chaos of the Brexit vote, where to be frank, the politicians made this country and the EU a laughing stock in the rest of the world. Now, there has been the surprise election result in the USA, which has left the rest of the world wondering what’s going on there.
What is going on? What pesky evil spirit has been set lose on the world?
In a sense I feel the rest of the world is catching up with what the science fiction community has been seeing with Puppies sagas. The disaffected and forgotten have decided to kick up in the only ways they can think to vent their frustration at not getting what they want. In a small percentage of cases that want is more of a need rather than a desire. They’ve gone about it because they are so focussed on their want/need, that they miss how their actions will have ripple effects through other parts of society. They can’t think of anything else except to get rid of what is making them miserable.
Emotion is ruling practicality at the moment. That’s why so many people can’t make sense of what is going on worldwide. They either don’t understand what emotions are in play or that emotion is now King!
Things have calmed down in the science fiction world and indeed, the problems are being resolved to a certain extent. Well here is a site that gives what are considered the best novels of 2016 so far – note it’s their opinion.
Does anything say ‘buy me’ in that list?
Though there are some interesting books in that list, nothing generates the wow-factor for me.
This suggests to me that the science fiction community is in a far greater state of grabbling about for direction than normal. You know the kind of thing, e.g. just before the New Wave or Cyberpunk hit the bookshelves. This should not come as a surprise given that we are in a period that is concentrating on cross genres. My guess is that most if not all the interesting cross genres themes have explored and there is very little significant new stuff to say.
Below is a diagram that summarises the main science fiction trends over the years.
So what could be new?
I’ll give one suggestion – Perspectives – looking at viewpoints other than human-centric. This would include the debut novel by Emma Geen – The Many Selves of Katherine North. This is a toe in the water of a different perspective for me. It starts that journey, but it is another vast area to fill in the science fiction canon.
My short story AI Deniers in Explorations Through the Wormhole anthology hints at why other perspectives are important to explore. But it is only one different perspective.
More on perspectives will come with another post. In the meantime I’ve come to the conclusion that a robo-cat is an oxymoron.