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March 9th, 2010

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03:01 pm - Further Thoughts on Pessimism in SF
I'm clearly not the only person writing about pessimism in SF. Here's an excellent article on this topic by SF author Jo Walton. Also, in the comments to this thread, there's a link to an excellent essay on pessimism in SF by Jetse De Vries, the editor of the anthology Shine: An Anthology of Optimistic SF, that I mentioned in my previous post.

The points made in both articles are excellent, and all I can add is while SF was clearly darker in the 80s & 90s than it was in the 50s & 60s, the biggest change I've seen has been post September 11. I sincerely hope that all media in the US, and for that matter, the populace of the US gets over those events very soon.
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(5 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:March 10th, 2010 02:09 am (UTC)
I have two words for you: Spider Robinson.

He is an award-winning, optimistic science fiction author. He is also transhumanist. If you haven't yet, heron61, buy some of his books immediately. You'd probably enjoy them very much.
[User Picture]
Date:March 10th, 2010 04:59 am (UTC)
As I noted, Japanese SF seems better, as does English webcomics. Of course, what I've enjoyed isn't a random or exhaustive sample, so it's more an indication that one can *find* non-pessimistic SF there than of trends.
[User Picture]
Date:March 10th, 2010 07:27 am (UTC)
I don't know about British webcomics (do you have any you'd recommend?), but I definitely agree about Japanese SF - I haven't seen much that's recent. but I'm not surprised that the optimism continues - compared to the US, they seem to be a culture that continues to believe in the wonders and value of progress.

Of course, what I'd really like an English language source for is some of the newer Chinese SF, since it has the look of highly optimistic US 60s space opera (both from looking at the covers and reading vague descriptions of it). I'd love to see what a very different culture would do with similar ideas.

Hmm, now I'm wondering where SF from India is on the optimism/pessimism scale.
[User Picture]
Date:March 10th, 2010 07:30 am (UTC)
I just meant English-language webcomics, not British. And I mention the ones I mean.

Japan's been in economic doldrums for a couple of decades so optimism would seem surprising. Of course, they still get the shiny new cell phone and toilet future.
[User Picture]
Date:March 10th, 2010 02:11 pm (UTC)
If you can accept a bit of weird Christianity (with a bit of slightly generic Goddess-oriented Paganism as a garnish) in your mostly-hopeful sci-fi, you might like Paul Cornell's British Summertime. It's sort of timey-wimey and about humanity's best and worst natures as influenced by various factors.

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