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      CommentAuthorhmobius
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007
     (175.21)
    @Adam.

    technoshamans will probably recoil in horror from that title. don't they all tend to be the introverted ones who are far too engrossed in their work until a mashup king realises that haptic chips through a dial-up interface begat shrieky girls? Then they get sidelined anyway \ hidden away somewhere by the obscene IPOs of the world

    @Ariana.

    why is horror the constant commentary on all three phases of time? are fantasy and sci-fi too wrapped up in the writer's imagination to be objective enough? or is it that horror can encompass the two other genres and any other as well? I could quantify Robert Harris' Fatherland as sci-fi\horror for example given that its set in a parallel present with the Nazis in power. You could describe Jeff Noon's Vurt as all three to an extent.
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      CommentAuthorAdam
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007
     (175.22)
    Actually, Adamatsya, I'm in the same boat -- it's been years since I last bought (or even READ) a sci-fi, so I'm really in no position to lecture on the current state of the field. In fact, the last several novels I read of that genre were all Heinlein-era. And that may be a part of the problem, on why its all slowed down... Back in that era, there was still that sense of wonderment of it all. And now I, as a reader, have lost that sensation - and as such I don't even browse the Sci-Fi shelf at the bookstore at all anymore! And I'm sure I'm not the only one who has subconsciously drifted away from it.

    Market dynamics may be to blame, here, afterall....
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      CommentAuthorYann Best
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007
     (175.23)
    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.


    Oh man oh man.

    Ignoring the silly name (I know, it's hard to do), it's nice to see that the ancient novel has been completely ignored. Specifically, Lucian's True Story, an absolutely fantastic parodic science-fiction story written around, ooh, 160 AD, where the main character goes on a trip to the moon, meeting moon people.

    Not to mention the philosophical discussions prior to that, where there were earnest discussions about what people on other planets must look like.

    But who needs to pay attention to history, eh?
  1.  (175.24)
    War of the worlds radio show - that would never have worked today.


    Nope - never would work today.

    There are a *lot* of people out there who are daft, or uninformed, naive or whatever - they will fall for this sort of stuff a lot. People still spit at soap stars who play evil characters.
  2.  (175.25)
    Specifically, Lucian's True Story, an absolutely fantastic parodic science-fiction story written around, ooh, 160 AD,


    Interesting. Here it is.
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      CommentAuthorYann Best
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007
     (175.26)
    Glad to make someone else aware of it: it's really quite something :)
  3.  (175.27)
    @Reynolds

    oops. Another good call. I didn't think about brass eye and the CAKE incident either (they got a made-up drug into a REAL parlimentry [sp?] debate! Yay, chris morris, yay!).

    @adam

    I lost touch with sci-fi/sci-mungery/fict-cence/blah for a while. Came back to Phil Dick and then drifted again, so that makes two of us.
    • CommentAuthorNecros
    • CommentTimeDec 12th 2007
     (175.28)
    Personally, I think it is really hard to see what we are standing up against. It is really easy to look back and say all of this was great, why does it all suck today, where did our future go. However, if we care to recall the past as it was...there was not so much clear delineation. I can go into a store and, arguably, buy the best science-fiction/fantasy/horror that has been published in past generations. If I want to find good current reading material I have to wade through loads of crap. In 10 years the good stuff will stand out, and the crap will be gone. So looking back it is always easy to say tomorrow is dead, the past is great.

    We really can never know the future, and arguably there is never an actual future to be had, we are living in an ever rotating constant...the shifting momentum of an ever changing now...
  4.  (175.29)
    For my two cents, and I still routinely browse the sci-fi fantasy section at my local Chapters (read Borders or B&N if you're American). The main problem with current Sci fi is it's all pastiche, badly written and unimaginative crap. (not that all pastiche is crap, but, well, anyway). The titles are bad, the writing is bad and there are no ideas that don't ring with a very familiar tone. We've seen Star Wars and Star Trek and Neuromancer and Heinlein and Dick and so many other things that brought new ideas to the table that the sci fi writers who are working now seem happy simply to eat the meal that is already prepared, rather than go into the kitchen and cook up something new.

    I don't really want to read Space Opera, I don't think there's anything new you can show me in that genre, but I'll be the first one in line if someone wants to prove me wrong. I'm also not real big on tie-in books, so there go another fifteen or twenty shelves of titles that don't interest me. Even ____-Punk (insert whatever noun you want) really doesn't have any new ideas left to it, that I have seen. Horror sticks around because there are always new and inventive ways to scare the crap out of yourself, but it's a lot harder to imagine a future that isn't like the ones we have already seen. I find largely the same thing with Fantasy, everyone seems content to re-write Tolkien or Lewis or whoever. And for every Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett (Authors who I think are looking at what has come before and are consciously playing with and pushing those ideas into new places) there are literally dozens of writers who have no interest in trying to reinvent an already functioning wheel.

    The old adage that if it isn't broke, don't fix it, is largely what the publishing community holds true to, the editors and associated folk who make those books aren't really looking for the new, they're interested in sell copies of books that they can predict. I'm amazed Crooked Little Vein got released, primarily because it was so different then the rest of the crap on the bookstore shelves. Even Harry Potter (which was just old stories dressed up in a British Boarding School setting) failed to bring anything new to the shelves. Harry Potter was different, but rather than opening the floodgates for the new ideas, it just opened a small slot in the wall for stories about magical kids.

    The genres are dying in the public sphere primarily because the publishers don't want to take a risk on anything that they can't see coming. Corporate culture is destroying the creative imperitive. It's not that people aren't writing new things, they're just not getting published (at least I hope that's right) because they are new. The same thing that has happened to movies is happening to books. If you can't market a movie as a "well it's sort of like 'When Harry Met Sally' meets 'Psycho'" studios won't look at your screenplay, and if you're writing Fantastika that isn't "like" something else, publishers won't give you the time of day.

    Like I said, my two cents, and off the cuff, sorry for any typos or incongruities.
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      CommentAuthornigredo
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2008 edited
     (175.30)
    The old adage that if it isn't broke, don't fix it, is largely what the publishing community holds true to, the editors and associated folk who make those books aren't really looking for the new, they're interested in sell copies of books that they can predict. I'm amazed Crooked Little Vein got released, primarily because it was so different then the rest of the crap on the bookstore shelves. Even Harry Potter (which was just old stories dressed up in a British Boarding School setting) failed to bring anything new to the shelves. Harry Potter was different, but rather than opening the floodgates for the new ideas, it just opened a small slot in the wall for stories about magical kids

    The genres are dying in the public sphere primarily because the publishers don't want to take a risk on anything that they can't see coming. Corporate culture is destroying the creative imperitive. It's not that people aren't writing new things, they're just not getting published (at least I hope that's right) because they are new. The same thing that has happened to movies is happening to books. If you can't market a movie as a "well it's sort of like 'When Harry Met Sally' meets 'Psycho'" studios won't look at your screenplay, and if you're writing Fantastika that isn't "like" something else, publishers won't give you the time of day.


    even though i do agree with what you're saying on the whole, there's still a lot of good material out there. well, crooked little vein isn't that much more different or better than other noirish stuff out there, like clevenger, baer, the more recent ballard etc. what you are describing has been the norm for decades. if it appears that during the 60s-70s literature seemed more imaginative and different, it sometimes has to do with the fact that publishers wanted to exploit the "countercultural" zeitgeist too, the way it's been happening with music since the earliest blues/jazz days (via motown, disco, punk, new wave, prog rock and any genre you can think of) or cinema (see the creation and facilitation of the star-system by the studio system in the early days of hollywood.

    the thing is that you can still find interesting stuff if you are willing to shift through the mud, writers like vandermeer, mieville, lethem, clevenger, baer, or danielewski. it's even more conspicuous in comics, where we have encountered stuff like astro city, planetary, preacher, transmet, hate, eightball, invisibles, from hell, watchmen, bone, black hole, the filth and countless other titles within an industry dominated by mindless repetition and gutless sterility. i'm not even considering the amount of great european and japanese comics that have been published in the last 20 yrs, in markets that are again very commercially driven, if seemingly less so than the american.