Saturday, December 16, 2006

Geek SF

You may have seen, recently, Gene Neuroses 101 on Charlie's Diary. Interesting article, a lot of people have been linking to it. (The most interesting bit for me is towards the beginning, when it talks about the current state of horror fiction. How it's not really scary, and has morphed into this weird Romance meet Christian revival by way of vampire thing.) It talks about how modern American SF has recently started to suck, and the obsession with "alternate history" stories. (THE NAZIS WON! OMGWTF!)

There's another article on that site that's very interesting, also talks about "the decline of science fiction," but approaching it from the readership angle rather than the writership angle. It's sort of a response to an essay by Kristine Kathryn Rusch that defends Star Wars and its tropes, that I read when it was published in Asimov's. (Which you should read, by the way. It's an excellent magazine.) This time, the really interesting bit is about two thirds of the way down:

We've arrived in a different future, and central planning doesn't work. Things are fast, chaotic, cheap, and out of control. Ad hoc is the new plan. There's a new cultural strange attractor at work, sucking in the young, smart, deracinated mechanistically-minded readers who used to be the natural prey of the SF movement. It's geek culture.

There's more, but that's the basic gist. Read the article.

Now, the reason this is interesting is because I'm nominally a member of geek culture, as well as a reader of science fiction. (I say "nominally" for geek culture because I'm not really much of a techno-geek. I participate in geek culture through the roleplaying side of things, and by hanging out with techno-geeks.) So I don't think that geek culture and science fiction are naturally antagonistic to each other.

Particularly, I think that created worlds are attractive to the same kinds of people who are attracted to geek culture. It's one of the major features that I find interesting in sf. "Near-future" types of science fiction, where the focus on how various technologies will affect the world in the next few decades, are not as interesting to me as things set futher into the future, or seperate worlds all together. Partially because the near-future sf I've read has generally been either preachy, frankenstein-type warnings, or singularity nonsense.

I don't read enough science fiction, though. I read a lot of short stories, but I don't really know what's going on with novels. Seems to be time for a trip to the library.

1 comment:

  1. The "fangfucker" thing is SO true. LK Hamilton's books weren't that bad up until the 6th one. The main character was DECIDEDLY celibate up until then. Then, all of a sudden, she has TWO lovers and then things start spiraling out of control and she just fucks everything that moves.