Writing and Other Afflictions

"If it was easy, everyone would do it." –Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own"

What Makes Good Science Fiction?

Still forging through 2666, so even though I have a Bill Bryson book to review, I will hold off for the moment on reviews and give you this Roger Ebert blog post. Since his cancer and therapy have prevented him from speaking, Ebert has been writing a long and thoughtful blog. He’s met a lot of interesting people and has some great stories to tell.

This entry made me think, not about the subject per se, though that’s interesting too, but about the one line he writes, that Arthur C. Clarke was often prescient in his science fiction. And I thought about Clarke and Bradbury, extraordinary storytellers who turned their gifts to science fiction, and I thought that the key to understanding science fiction is to understand, not science, but people. The yearning for communication that Ebert describes is at the heart of many good science fiction stories about merged minds and telepathy; the curiosity about what is Outside is the foundation of a library of excellent SF; the need for companionship and our social nature informs much of the “softer” SF of the sixties.

These are parts of people that remain constant through the years. Good science fiction imagines how they might react to new technologies like cell phones, like the Internet, like flying rocket cars. And because people bend technology to their desires, rather than the other way around, the really good science fiction becomes, eventually, truth.

Write Back!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: