Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Looking for Solutions, a Future

Unlike Eleanor, I'm not in the least bit concerned that I have no interest in mainstream novels. For me, it's a matter of taste. I like carrots. I don't like tomatoes. Science fiction excites me; mainstream, not so much.

However, her thoughtful post made we consider WHY I like science fiction so much better. The conclusion I've come to is that science fiction (in general) tends to focus on solving a problem. (Unlike mainstream novels, which seem, IMHO, to wallow in them.) Even dystopian focused science fiction novels or movements, like cyberpunk, more often than not end with corrupt governments exposed, defeated, etc. The hero, like Case, might still be living in a back alley, but he will have used his powers for good... or made a valiant try.

This is why I consider THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy to be mainstream, not science fiction. The ending is bleak and the character's lives simply go from terrible to awful.

That's not science fiction to me. Science fiction is ultimately hopeful.

Of course, not all science fiction novels are deep and meaningful. Because modern science fiction came out of the pulp tradition, sometimes it's just plain fun. I can read books like THE PLUTONIUM BLONDE (John Zakour and Lawrence Ganum) and just enjoy it for what it is: a ripping good yarn.

I don't usually find the same entertainment value in reading about someone's family dysfunction.

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