In short, sometimes that which doesn't seem like it's SF, actually is.
Friday, August 20, 2010
An odd little tale.
I hope you've read The Pelican Bar already because I have to say this is one of the oddest bits of science fiction I have ever read. We often think of space opera, steam-punk, cyber-punk, or military SF when we think of science fiction. This leaves a gap in our collective definition of science fiction. That's why The Pelican Bar blindsided me when I read it. The story seems like it's more of conspiracy nut bait, something that happens in a dystopian present, than it is science fiction. Then I realized, after finishing the book, that I've forgotten one of the basic elements of science fiction, the exploration of the sciences. We're all familiar with the SF works that deal with physics, astronomy, engineering, and biology, but there is a gap that most of us miss, psychology. The Pelican Bar is an exploration of psychology, of what happens to the human mind when subjected to certain stresses and situations. We see a teenager grow and learn in an environ that most of us, and her especially, have never been subjected to. It's sobering to realize what the protagonist goes through, but you also realize that she has grown and is probably better for it.