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Old August 27 2013, 07:45 PM   #54
M'Sharak
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Re: Lindelof not writing next trek movie?

Hober Mallow wrote: View Post
"Science fiction" as a genre has several agreed-upon definitions by those who've practiced it (who else should define it?), and most television writers don't write things that fit those definitions. It's not an insult to television writers to define what they do and what they don't do, and it's not to say they can't write good scripts. It's just that I, personally, would like to see Trek bringing back the SF it used to try to do on occasion by people who do it for a living.
If science fiction, as a genre, has several agreed-upon definitions, isn't it also true that most (if not all) of those definitions were applied after the fact, and that not all of those definitions even agree with each other?

It's one thing to define a genre, but the definition itself is nearly always a label applied to a creative work already made - already written, composed or painted. Mozart and Haydn didn't one day decide "I'm going to write a Classical sonata according to this definition of sonata form." No, that label was invented and applied decades later by someone else. Same with science fiction: the stories came first, the label sometime later. The people creating stories and what-have-you are not (and should not be) concerned with how exactly the thing they're making fits any predetermined definition; they should be concerned, first and foremost, with making it function as a story or whatever kind of work it is. The classification and labeling by genre/sub-genre and any further applicable slash/hyphenate hair-splitting is a secondary thing which gets taken care of afterward, by someone other than the creator.

If you're a movie producer, you want to hire a writer - one who can deliver the story you're looking to tell. That is and should be the qualification. Whether that writer is perceived in advance as a "real SF writer" is simply not (IMNSHO) of primary importance. Of the "SF writer" names which keep coming up—Ellison, Matheson, Sturgeon, et al—most wrote in other genres as well, and they did this because they considered themselves writers first; writing is what they did for a living. That they're known as SF writers is mainly because some of the stories people remember best were thus categorized, not because they're any more "real" than any other writer whose story fits at least partially into the SF genre.
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