I used to spend sleepless nights reading SF - but now feel increasingly
disenchanted and am turning to pure science in my search for intellectual
entertainment; it seems that either me or SF is to blame for our breakup -
and [,of course, :)] I think it's SF; I'll try to summarize my arguments
here and would be grateful if someone helps me think of it...
The remarkable success of Science strongly relies on the departure of its
concepts from our [limited] sensual experience, to more closely correspond to
the constructs of the real world, while Fiction is bound to address our
sensuality - and so SF has to keep one foot on each side of this widening gap
(with, as our Preacher probably wouldn't resist to predict, inevitable traumatic
consequences in the groin area ;). Now, with SF writers' and readers' worldviews
widening much slower than this gap, we can notice that modern SF is both less
romantically appealing to the wide audience and lags farther behind current
scientific frontiers than Jules Vernes' and many other books of the relatively
If we accept that a SF story (or film) consists of: 1) a frame of reference -
to link its contents to the reader's thoughts and feelings, 2) some conventional
entertainment - to tickle our senses and decorate the whole thing, and 3) the
exciting exploration of a new imaginary world, than, in my opinion, an ideal
piece of SF should suggest a *brief* frame of reference, a couple of external
effects, and a whole sea of new intricate situations, concepts and feelings.
What I see is absolutely different from it: usually there is a very familiar
human environment, a fountain of show effects (particularly on screen, where
rapidly improving imaging technology seems to tempt movie-makers to show more
and more of breath-taking sights) - and very rare sparkles of new ideas.
And even the well-known ideas suffer from the obsession with spectacular
while real weapons are known to grow smaller, quieter and more accurate, the
SF weaponry's main effects are energy-wasting bursts of noise and fire, and
in most cases it misses the target- only to let it stay there for subsequent
- looking at Star Trek's Data, one can assume that it's much easier to produce
a robot with high intelligence and even some human emotions, than to make it
turn its head smoothly, or paint its face pink (of course, it is needed only
to explain some interesting - though not new... - 'robot' problems, while
supporting the familiar 'cyborg identity' for the unsophisticated audience);
- many spaceships in childrens'[?] SF cartoons have *horns* (while everybody
should know that at those speeds an armored bump is no harder than a rotten
- While future definitely belongs to GLOBAL long-term PLANNING, the SF heroes
spend their time resolving various LOCAL CRISES - with a few exceptions,
like Asimov's Foundation epic, but even there the global issues serve merely
as a background for hot-selling local activities...
And on the covers of most SF books and tapes, those typical pictures of
sexy-barbaric-alien-females-holding-BIG-SPARKLING-shmasers- what kind of Science
So it seems that [at least, the mainstream of,] SF has developed into a new
set of fairy tales - by creating an artificial reality of its own symbols,
metaphors, heroes and environments - and the stories it tells us usually are
not even aimed at expanding its world.
Maybe, we'll see a vertical stratification of the SF market - with some of it
catching up with - and even leading in development of (which it used to do, at
least in some areas) - advanced scientific and social concepts. But it is very
difficult to separate from other staff with the same name and terminology, and,
besides, WHO WILL [be intelligent enough to] READ IT?
Or, maybe, I am simply missing the *real* SF?
Here are some of the issues, situations and concepts that *I* would like
to see addressed in SF:
- the future state, basic structure and life of the civilization AFTER
the technological revolution is over;
- possibilities of existence of non-biological - and non-material -
thinking entities - like sciences, morphic fields etc., and how they
may feel and think and whether they could be contacted;
- ethical, cultural and psychological problems that will arise when
the humans have an opportunity to considerably alter/improve their
bodies and minds (very soon, BTW) - at the expense of identity...;
- the ultimate stages of human evolution - merger with (or turning into)
God? ; possible conflicts - will there be any? with whom?; Timing?
All of this lies beyond the scope of current scientific research, is too
vague for conventional futurology, and offers lots of opportunities for all
kinds of dreams and fancy conflicts - which seems to make it an ideal ground
for *intelligent* SF... - but where is it?
I would be very grateful to anyone who provides me with reading advice on
these topics - or expresses any reasonable ideas on them, not necessarily
watered with any adventure stuff.