Watching SF...

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 recent past.

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 effects:

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 is that?

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:

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.

Alexander Chislenko 11/28/91