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  1.  (175.1)
    John Clute is, frankly, far from my favourite commentator on sf. But he outdoes himself in this lecture on fantastika, which, it turns out, is his preferred term for sf/fantasy/horror:

    1750 is not only the year in which fantastika began to be written as a weapon against the owners; it also marks the point when Western Civilization begins to understand that we do not inhabit a world but a planet. It is from this point that science — astronomy, physics, geology, biology — begins to shape our understanding that we are a species on a rolling ball, that the past is deeper than we can conceive and that the future is going to rip us apart. (Science fiction does not begin in the discovery of Space, but in the discovery of Time: terroristic meditations on the conjoining of Ruins and Futurity dominate the first decades of the genre.) So science takes the ground from underneath our feet; and fantastika, with its heated and cartoon immediacy of response to instability and threat, responds instantly to the vertigo of this new knowledge. Fantastika vibrates to the planet. It is the planetary form of story.



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      CommentAuthorAriana
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007
     (175.2)
    I've always seen the three faces of Fantasika, if that's what they are, as Past/Present/Future as much as Fantasy/Horror/Science Fiction. It's not perfectly accurate, no, but that's the way it sifts out more often than not.

    So it's interesting to me to see someone putting forth that Horror (terror) is best addressing this now -- because I've thought it best at addressing ANY now. It's just that, in the past, we've had periods where then-back or then-forward was more relevant to society, or more desired by a population.

    Right now we don't know what the future even looks like, let alone where it will be, or why we'd want to go there.

    Of course, I've said all this so many times... and it's been said by people smarter than I am a million times more. It's just, you know, right there.
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      CommentAuthorelizabeth
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007
     (175.3)
    "Fantasika" might be my new favorite word.
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      CommentAuthorAdam
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007
     (175.4)
    "I've always seen the three faces of Fantasika, if that's what they are, as Past/Present/Future as much as Fantasy/Horror/Science Fiction. It's not perfectly accurate, no, but that's the way it sifts out more often than not."

    I'd have to agree with that statement. At base level - the very first intuitive impressions of the words Fantasy/Horror/Science Fiction conjure, to me at least, the contexts of the timelines you've attributed there. As with everything creative, there's always certain examples that buck the trend and don't fit into the accepted boundaries perfectly, but a lot of those examples are also engineered SPECIFICALLY to fit outside those boundaries, by conscious decision.

    So basically it just boils down to a case of authors wanting to be difficult :)
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      CommentAuthorAriana
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007 edited
     (175.5)
    At base level - the very first intuitive impressions of the words Fantasy/Horror/Science Fiction conjure, to me at least, the contexts of the timelines you've attributed there.


    If you don't put too much thought into it so as force out the arguments against (heh), you can argue that FANTASTIKA came into being right around the time we discovered the future. As Clute says in the linked essay, we discovered time, but I think what he's really saying (or what I really think) is that we discovered the cycle by which we could predict future events. And,again,as pointed out in the essay, time started to move faster as soon as we became aware of it (much like we've destroyed the universe by looking at it, of course).

    Once we found Science Fiction/the future/a place to go, we created a three-fold concept with which to sort those fantasies of where we could have come from, where we imagine we are, and where we might dream to end up.

    Which, as anyone who knows me and knows I won't shut up about, is what everyone smarter has noticed lately... we've lost the idea of what the future looks like, or where it is... and our concept of time is suffering because of it. I don't think it's that Horror is most productive right now because it's the most relevant so much as the present and the past are the only genres we can hold on to. And we're losing past, quickly. Note how "Fantasy" is slowly slipping into "Alternate Now".

    At some point, we're likely to lose everything but the immediate, and all we'll know is Fear.
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      CommentAuthorAdam
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007
     (175.6)
    Ariana, a little fatalist today, are we? ;) Hahah.

    I'm not so sure its a case of narrative imperative shifting away from the future, but more that as our technology level advances, each possible path into the future is becoming a bit more clearly defined, and stories no longer need to be told about it... Perhaps a case of everybody sitting back, catching they're breath, and waiting to SEE what happens rather than postulating on it... I don't know, of course :) This needs much moody ruminating in a dark dank room.
  2.  (175.7)
    @adam

    Maybe I misinterepreted but do you think the genre is, in a sense, slowing down? That we've, to some degree at least, got there? I suppose it amounts to the disappointment of reaching 2000 and there being no massive cataclysm/leap forward. It also explains the whole retro-futurism genre: we are looking back for our sci-fi/fantastika/sci-mance.
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      CommentAuthorAdam
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007
     (175.8)
    No, not got there. There's still many years to go before we get there. But we've now got a clearer idea of what there will look like, and as such the stories we tell of it aren't so groundbreaking anymore. Science of a significantly advanced level should not be distinguishable from magic, but now we're getting to a point where, even though its not yet possible, we can see how it WILL be possible soon....
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      CommentAuthorAdam
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007
     (175.9)
    Its really a case of there not being enough "new" ideas - ideas that have not been even vaguely proposed before
  3.  (175.10)
    okay, so it's kind of lost it's glamour. The fact that we have become more educated/cynical the possibilities are more limited. For instance: War of the worlds radio show - that would never have worked today.
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      CommentAuthorAriana
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007
     (175.11)
    But we've now got a clearer idea of what there will look like


    Hm.

    Really?

    I won't argue we've got clearer schematics of the tech, but do you really think we know what it looks like...?
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      CommentAuthorAdam
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007
     (175.12)
    No, it wouldn't have - the magic is gone, and narrative is a part of our day to day lives. We now EXPECT a story. Thankyou, TV!!

    And as for the genre slowing down, I'm still muddling my way through this line of thought - I'd have to say that a lot of the new technologies we dream up in these stories are ALREADY IN THE WORKS in some form or another - someone, somewhere, is working on making them (or something like them) real as we speak. EVERYTHING we think of.

    Its just a case of some truly bright author-type spark coming up with another groundbreaker like in the good ol' days. The good ol' days when Men were MEN, and so were the women, indeed.
  4.  (175.13)
    Now, thats pretty fatalist ;p

    EDIT: People having a clear idea of the future is mostly theory and conjecture, though.
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      CommentAuthorAdam
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007
     (175.14)
    @Ariana

    I think we do, for sure. The new technology to build human hearts with modified desktop printers. The computerised infrastructures and the effects those will have on city planning and so forth. The people who have the information on whats in the works are able to form VERY clear ideas of how it's all going to fit together and shape our world.
  5.  (175.15)
    Nothing is true - everything is permitted.
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      CommentAuthorAdam
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007
     (175.16)
    I'd agree with that also. Thats why its a clear IDEA, and not a clear schematic :)
  6.  (175.17)
    Good call :P
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      CommentAuthorAdam
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007
     (175.18)
    Technoshamans. Them's the boffins as would know.

    Should we perhaps compile a glossary of all the words we're contributing/resurrecting for our fine language? :)
  7.  (175.19)
    Brilliant notion and I still absolutely adore the word. It's really amazing to understand how a genre of storytelling can come into being. And I believe sf is the only one of its kind, whereas everything else is very obviously rooted.

    However, I feel as if the genre itself is beginning to fall apart. Perhaps I'm not on the pulse of it enough, but it seems to me that while the "classic sf" is very appreciated, there is little that pushes it any further or says anything new. Once in a while there's something great that comes along but the most recent example I can come up with is Snow Crash.

    Now, in terms of sf beyond the literary, I'm actually very surprised that it hasn't been wholly embraced by cinema these days. Do the studios and directors feel that there's not enough for an audience to latch onto? Why is it that in the "age of information," where technology and the future are daily topics for discussion and thought, that it is so infrequently used as a film device? Or, worse, it is used, but in such a subpar way that it cheapens the whole deal.

    I became very excited when a friend described Jumper to me, thinking it might be some sort of adaptation of The Stars My Destination. But, alas, it's just some shit.
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      CommentAuthoradamatsya
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007
     (175.20)
    @Adam
    That we've, to some degree at least, got there?


    Makes me think of how W. Gibson's two latest novels are kind of about the same things as his early work, only now they're set in the present, not the future.

    I'm out of the loop in terms of the breadth of contemporary scientifiction, but I don't see as many WAAAAAAY into the future settings in what I'm noticing - are people doing that kind of stuff? Is that singularity thing that warren pointed out and I downloaded but haven't read yet maybe something that pushed into deep future time?

    Or is the idea of the singularity a barrier against writing stories set in deep future?

    Something that pops into my head is Grant Morrison's DC One Million comic series where he writes about the - was it? - 843rd century. At the time when I first read it it occurred to me that I'd never even thought of civilisation existing that far in the future - that there was some inevitable sense of it all ending long before that - which this setting challenged. And I liked that it challenged it. There was an optimism there that I liked.