Saturday, August 28, 2010
- Swanwick and Gunn, "Zeppelin City": Caleb Weeks
- Broderick, "This Wind Blowing, and This Tide": Katy Santi
- Sterling, "Black Swan": Bailey Carpenter
- Genge, "As Women Fight": Jenny Strack
- Baxter, "Formidable Caress": Amelia Baez
And of course, you needn't wait until our class meeting to start the conversation. You could start with a blog post -- a new post, please, not merely a comment attached to this post. Each story deserves at least one thread of its own. Thanks, all.
Friday, August 27, 2010
My only question is: what about Toy Story? Science Fiction or Fantasy?
(BTW title is a link to the original trailer.)
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
- Nicola Griffith's "It Takes Two" is a Hugo Award nominee.
- Peter Watts' "The Island" is a Hugo Award nominee.
- Karen Joy Fowler's "The Pelican Bar" already won a Shirley Jackson Award and is a World Fantasy Award nominee.
- Kij Johnson's "Spar" already won a Nebula Award and is a Hugo Award nominee.
- James Patrick Kelly's "Going Deep" was a Nebula Award nominee.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
As far as literature goes, my experience is definitely more limited. My taste in books has always been heavy on fantasy of the magical, mythical sort. I did read and enjoy Brave New World, Jurassic Park, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and the first book in the Artemis Fowl series. As I said in class, I took a course on anthropology in fiction, and there were quite a few short stories, all of them science fiction, that we read for discussion. I liked the stories, but I don't remember the authors' names, so I'll have to look through my stuff to make note of those writers.
In attempting to define science fiction, I think it is important to first make the relationship between sci-fi and fantasy distinct; personally, I agree with notion that sci-fi is a sub-genre of fantasy, not a totally separate genre of its own. Now, one must specify what qualifies a work as not merely fantasy, but fantasy of the sci-fi persuasion. I think sci-fi must allude to use of technology, either futuristic or alternative in nature to that known and used in the reader's world, and the consequences of this technology's employment. These consequences, whether positive or negative, serve as a setting unknown to us that we can use to discover things about ourselves. How would life adapt to a given situation?
When I first signed up for this class, I thought to myself, “I don’t really know much science fiction.” But after our first class discussion, I realized that science fiction has been a presence in my life for almost as long as I can remember. My parents were teenagers in the 70s when Star Wars first came out. We had the original trilogy on VHS, which I naturally watched all the time as a kid. I also remember “late nights” as a kid watching the syfy channel and getting scared to death from some of the movies and The Twilight Zone. Once I randomly picked up Timeline by Michael Crighton and three days later was finished with the book and hoping that sort of “time travel” would soon be available to me. Then in high school I was convinced my mother had set up a Big Brother surveillance system to keep me in line after I read 1984. Mostly these days every time I hear the words “science fiction” I think of Rocky Horror Picture Show… “science fiction… double feature…”
When asked to define science fiction, I struggled to find a single definition that would explain my opinion of science fiction in its entirety. Science fiction, to me, is one of those forms of media that continues to grow and change to the point that there really is no true definition for it. And isn’t that sort of thing that “science fiction” writers try to convey anyway? That everything is possible, and there really are no boundaries and definitions?
Alright everyone, I’m going to go a bit old school-nostalgic on this one. I can trace my loving relationship with the world of science fiction back to one place. Well, actually it was five people…
The Mighty Morphing Power Rangers.
That’s the one. That show started it all for me. It was just the right thing to turn my 4 or 5 year old mind on to the concept of science fiction and all the aliens, lasers, and giant robots that came along (especially in Power Rangers). I say this with all due respect paid to Star Wars (the shining jewel that it is), but Power Rangers came to me first. After that, I really fell down the giant space rabbit hole that was science fiction television in the early ‘90s. I fell in love with shows like the remake of Gigantor, Thunder Cats, Transformers, Voltron, Robotech, and all sorts of others (and as you can see, giant robots were kind of my thing). Elementary school saw my introduction to sci-fi videogames like Starcraft and Mechwarrior 2 (more giant robots, but now they were MY giant robots), and I started watching some pretty good movies. I saw Star Wars and finally started to actually grasp it, but it was Stargate that really blew my mind. Then I finally was old enough to start reading some real novels, and I fell head-first into things like the BattleTech universe, Tom Clancy novels, and a book called the Transall Saga by Gary Paulsen (which remains one of my favorite books). And all of this just scratches the surface. We’ll just say that I’ve had a long, fruitful relationship with science fiction in its many forms.
As far as defining it... Well, that's a little harder. It is pretty difficult to beat “the genre of ‘what if.’” I mean, for a long time this was a genre defined by space ships and giant robots, but I understand that is not, and never was, the case (although both of those things are still awesome). I mean, sci-fi certainly is about the “what if,” but couldn’t traditional fantasy play that role as well? I’ve spent the last week trying to pin down the crucial elements of science fiction, and I’ve come away pretty empty-handed. I have had one thought though: science fiction exists through the power of explanation. I think this is what sets it apart from fantasy when it comes to telling the story of “what if.” When fantastical things happen in a science fiction world, there always seems to be an explanation. In fantasy, it is most often written off as magic, but sci-fi always seems to rationalize events with things like “ancient alien technology” or midi-chlorians in your cells giving you control of the Force. Anyone have other thoughts on this?
Monday, August 23, 2010
My first meaningful foray into science fiction was reading Orson Scott Card’s Ender Saga in middle school. I was fascinated by what I would now term Ender Wiggin’s “Hero’s Journey.” Since then the preponderance of my leisure reading has been in the Science Fiction / Fantasy Genre. A frequent patron of the public library, I explored both the classics of the genre (Asimov, Heinlein, et al.) as well as a variety of current authors. Some of my favorites include: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, the Dune series, Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy, Anderson’s Saga of Seven Suns, and Webber’s Honorverse novels. As for Science fiction in other mediums, I greatly enjoyed Joss Whedon’s Firefly, Serenity, and Dollhouse. While I wasn’t a huge fan of Star Trek, the latest reboot of the property has definitely caught my interest. The geekiest of the Science Fiction shows I watch/watched is definitely Sliders (Hooray for the 90s!).