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Old October 24 2012, 04:26 AM   #16
Yminale
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Re: Is SF in a state of exhaustion?

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
There hasn't been anything really innovative or interesting going on in sf since cyberpunk in the '80s.
You mean steampunk because cyberpunk was lame pretentiousness just like everything else in the 80's.
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Old October 24 2012, 04:39 AM   #17
Brendan Moody
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Re: Is SF in a state of exhaustion?

Another link: a very recent post by Kincaid in which he continues to consider these topics, including a big collection of links to other responses. I still think he's making various distinctions that aren't ultimately very useful, but he's clearly a thoughtful person working hard to clarify what the things he perceives about the shape of the genre might mean.
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Old October 24 2012, 05:00 AM   #18
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Re: Is SF in a state of exhaustion?

And if we didn’t understand the present, what hope did we have for the future? The accelerating rate of change has inevitably affected the futures that appear in our fictions.
I reject this point utterly. One of the best things about well-written sf is that it can help us make sense of our world, and times of crisis and doubt about the future have always produced great genre fiction, from Wells to the 60s New Wave.
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Old October 24 2012, 05:19 AM   #19
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Re: Is SF in a state of exhaustion?

Science Fiction is becoming more closely related to reality, not because it attempts to predict the future and those prediction are coming true(which never really was the main goal), but because there exists a demonstrable condition of mathematical patterns and trends in industrial technology and biotechnology that are more quickly delivering what we can hypothesize and speculate upon. It is outpacing it even now. It is likely in my opinion that within 10 years, science fiction and science--both pure research and technological development--will often intersect in a real-time level, and the resulting moral, social and cultural questions are ripe for exploration, whether positive or negative. Any writer that doesn't acknowledge it is living an outmoded past. The best writers have already stated this, and suggest SF is struggling to keep up. Change is so common now even seemed previously amazing is ordinary to many...planet at Alpha Centauri, been there, done that...untethered hiking robots, same....downloading/uploading our brains, child's play.....drones over enemy territory using rudimentary AI for target choices, bought the movie...handheld computers with more power than a moon mission, don't make us laugh!

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Old October 24 2012, 05:32 AM   #20
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Re: Is SF in a state of exhaustion?

RAMA wrote: View Post
Science Fiction is becoming more closely related to reality, not because it attempts to predict the future and those prediction are coming true(which never really was the main goal), but because there exists a demonstrable condition of mathematical patterns and trends in industrial technology and biotechnology that are more quickly delivering what we can hypothesize and speculate upon. It is outpacing it even now. It is likely in my opinion that within 10 years, science fiction and science--both pure research and technological development--will often intersect in a real-time level, and the resulting moral, social and cultural questions are ripe for exploration, whether positive or negative. Any writer that doesn't acknowledge it is living an outmoded past. The best writers have already stated this, and suggest SF is struggling to keep up. Change is so common now even seemed previously amazing is ordinary to many...planet at Alpha Centauri, been there, done that...untethered hiking robots, same....downloading/uploading our brains, child's play.....drones over enemy territory using rudimentary AI for target choices, bought the movie...handheld computers with more power than a moon mission, don't make us laugh!

RAMA
Two more related thoughts on this...first, people already basically experience SF in virtual worlds, games also lead to virtual spaces like Second Life, a rudimentary avatar based exploration of environment that may well be experienced first hand in a few shorts years because of exploding information technologies.

The positive side of modern SF feeling outmoded....in 20-40 years it's likely we'll be experiencing the science fiction.
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Old October 24 2012, 06:32 AM   #21
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Re: Is SF in a state of exhaustion?

RAMA wrote: View Post
....downloading/uploading our brains, child's play.....
This one passed me by. When did we become capable of this?
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Old October 24 2012, 03:02 PM   #22
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Re: Is SF in a state of exhaustion?

Brendan Moody wrote: View Post
But I suppose this discussion is becoming more suited for the "What SFF book are you reading?" thread.
Considering the nature of the article in the OP, I think that's a valid prerequisite to ask of participants here. It really helps a discussion when opinions can be taken in their intended, or at least "native"(personal) context.

RAMA wrote: View Post
Science Fiction is becoming more closely related to reality, not because it attempts to predict the future and those prediction are coming true (which never really was the main goal), but because there exists a demonstrable condition of mathematical patterns and trends in industrial technology and biotechnology that are more quickly delivering what we can hypothesize and speculate upon. It is outpacing it even now.

It is likely in my opinion that within 10 years, science fiction and science--both pure research and technological development--will often intersect in a real-time level, and the resulting moral, social and cultural questions are ripe for exploration, whether positive or negative. Any writer that doesn't acknowledge it is living an outmoded past.

The best writers have already stated this, and suggest SF is struggling to keep up. Change is so common now even seemed previously amazing is ordinary to many...planet at Alpha Centauri, been there, done that...untethered hiking robots, same....downloading/uploading our brains, child's play.....drones over enemy territory using rudimentary AI for target choices, bought the movie...handheld computers with more power than a moon mission, don't make us laugh!

RAMA
edited by Mariner
Edited for readability, which should clarify your last point for people like me and sojourner who aren't well versed in deciphering Brontean tomes.

I'm not trying to be a bully (despite how often I tell you how full of shit you are on a given point) but it's something that I've noticed about your posting style, and I sincerely suggest taking a few extra seconds to break up or rework your paragraphs before posting (or during edits, like I often do.) That last run-on sentence, for example, needed it's own paragraph worth of space because it's damn near impossible to understand next to everything else, despite it being a relatively simple thought.
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Last edited by USS Mariner; October 24 2012 at 03:13 PM.
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Old October 24 2012, 03:26 PM   #23
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Re: Is SF in a state of exhaustion?

Re: Okorafor.
I also read a review of Who Fears Death? where the reviewer seemed somewhat unclear whether or not the Nuru were literally aliens... when to me they seem obviously Sudanese Arabs with a creation myth.

I'm not saying either McCalmont or de Fillippio don't have interesting points to make about the novel, but slips like that just seem a little big for me.

Klaus wrote: View Post
And if we didn’t understand the present, what hope did we have for the future? The accelerating rate of change has inevitably affected the futures that appear in our fictions.
I reject this point utterly. One of the best things about well-written sf is that it can help us make sense of our world,
I think that was Kincaid's point though. When sci-fi writers invest in the Singularity and thus the idea that the future is unknowable, they're left with sci-fi that isn't really engaging with the future.

RAMA wrote: View Post
in 20-40 years it's likely we'll be experiencing the science fiction.
I'm talking to you via cyberspace.

And before that, the Moon Landing.

And before that, Sputnik.

And before that, the Atom Bomb.

And before that, the Wright Brothers.

That today's science fiction can have elements that we'll actually see in the future is something that we've lived with almost as long as it's been recognized as a genre. But which elements, and how, and why, those are trickier questions. It's frankly interesting to read sci-fi novel from say as recent as the mid-1990s and then see the bits where a character is searching for commonly known data - it almost always seems like they'd be better served with google.
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Last edited by Kegg; October 24 2012 at 04:34 PM.
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Old October 24 2012, 03:36 PM   #24
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Re: Is SF in a state of exhaustion?

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
There hasn't been anything really innovative or interesting going on in sf since cyberpunk in the '80s.
There are only so many plots to go around. Any "innovation" is in the window dressing. Man has been telling variations on the same double-handful of stories since storytelling began.
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Old October 24 2012, 03:56 PM   #25
{ Emilia }
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Re: Is SF in a state of exhaustion?

RAMA wrote: View Post
there exists a demonstrable condition of mathematical patterns and trends in industrial technology and biotechnology that are more quickly delivering what we can hypothesize and speculate upon.
If it's demonstrable, why don't you go ahead and demonstrate that trend.
There are many areas that have seen accelerating progress, there are others where we've seen genuinely new things, and there are many areas where we've just learned to do things better and faster but not fundamentally differently.

downloading/uploading our brains, child's play
We don't even remotely understand how memory or (even worse) character is "stored" in the brain, much less how to upload and download things. We don't even know how that data is structured and how it could be read or written.

Anyway, I'm off to fill my pocket fusion power plant with new unobtainium.
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Old October 24 2012, 06:37 PM   #26
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Re: Is SF in a state of exhaustion?

Klaus wrote: View Post
And if we didn’t understand the present, what hope did we have for the future? The accelerating rate of change has inevitably affected the futures that appear in our fictions.
I reject this point utterly. One of the best things about well-written sf is that it can help us make sense of our world, and times of crisis and doubt about the future have always produced great genre fiction, from Wells to the 60s New Wave.
Agreed. However, Scifi is acting "exhausted" in that 90% of what's out there is :

a.-a sequel
b.-some video game/D&D/tv show based franchise story
c.-something written by Kevin J Anderson

While a bit of whimsy is inherent in "c", I point my finger at him as one of the most successful "hack" writers who I see as degrading the genre in recent times. he's got very little original thought(if any) and rides the coattails of any successful author he can. (Frank Herbert comes to mind). When new caught fish come to science fiction, they see his crap and think that's what its about. Its like a new wine drinker thinking screw top caps are "acceptable".
I worked at Borders from 2003-2006 and I watched the scifi section get taken over by his books, books about Halo, books about Drow Elves and a crap load of "magic in the modern world" books. The longer I was there, the harder it was to find the next Cory Doctorow or Alastair Reynolds...
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Old October 24 2012, 06:50 PM   #27
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Re: Is SF in a state of exhaustion?

Mistral wrote: View Post
Agreed. However, Scifi is acting "exhausted" in that 90% of what's out there is :

a.-a sequel
b.-some video game/D&D/tv show based franchise story
c.-something written by Kevin J Anderson
Sturgeon's Law!
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Old October 24 2012, 07:08 PM   #28
Brendan Moody
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Re: Is SF in a state of exhaustion?

Since it's all too easy to bloviate in generalities about the state of the genre and not back up one's opinions with fact (a point made in this response to Kincaid), I've decided to read the three anthologies that drove Kincaid's original essay* and see what I think of them. Since we're talking about 1500 pages in large trade paperback format (somewhat less, actually, since six stories appear in both year's-best volumes), this thread will be long dead by the time I finish, but if I have anything vaguely interesting to say I'll revive it.

*I may also read Jonathan Strahan's SFF year's-best, since it overlaps a lot with the other two and a few of the unique stories are by authors I've enjoyed.
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Old October 24 2012, 08:38 PM   #29
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Re: Is SF in a state of exhaustion?

Mistral wrote: View Post
I worked at Borders from 2003-2006 and I watched the scifi section get taken over by his books, books about Halo, books about Drow Elves and a crap load of "magic in the modern world" books. The longer I was there, the harder it was to find the next Cory Doctorow or Alastair Reynolds...
So the store was one of those who mis-shelved the fantasy in with the sci-fi...
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Old October 24 2012, 09:01 PM   #30
Mistral
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Re: Is SF in a state of exhaustion?

Ian Keldon wrote: View Post
Mistral wrote: View Post
I worked at Borders from 2003-2006 and I watched the scifi section get taken over by his books, books about Halo, books about Drow Elves and a crap load of "magic in the modern world" books. The longer I was there, the harder it was to find the next Cory Doctorow or Alastair Reynolds...
So the store was one of those who mis-shelved the fantasy in with the sci-fi...
Nah. It was a neighborhood store-about 4000 sq ft, maybe 5000, so we had Mystery/thriller, Romance, and Scifi/Fantasy with a tiny Western section. Everything else was in "Fiction". Just wasn't a large enough inventory to justify separate scif and fantasy areas-although I kept pushing for it.
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