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"Why Contemporary Science Fiction and Fantasy is Godawful" Topic

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Science Fiction

1,571 hits since 21 Apr 2018
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rvandusen22 Apr 2018 8:57 a.m. PST


An interesting blog post about the woeful state of SF and fantasy literature in the 21st century.

I could add my own 2 cents in about experiences with the H.P. Lovecraft Society FB page, but jeffro leaves me with little else to say.

Dynaman878922 Apr 2018 9:11 a.m. PST

Got halfway through the wall of text, NO attempt in all that time to say what the "problem" was other than the single word "commies". Skimmed a little more and saw references to introducing people to older Fantasy authors but still no argument as to what is wrong with the genre today – gave up there.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP22 Apr 2018 9:29 a.m. PST

Ah. Lecturing the ignorant masses.
The usual "Taylor Swift? How can you listen to that, and get off my lawn!"

Black Hat Miniatures22 Apr 2018 9:35 a.m. PST

Well, that was complete nonsense… he seems woefully ignorant of the current sf and fantasy creative writing programs or of much modern sf and fantasy….

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP22 Apr 2018 9:54 a.m. PST

It's interesting, but it sends me to the laws of Sturgeon, and, before him in a time of higher quality, Kipling. Sturgeon noted famously that, while 90% of science fiction is crap, 90% of everything is crap, so science fiction is perfectly in line with the rest of the culture.

Some 70 years previously, Kipling had remarked that "Four-fifths of everybody's work must be bad," so I guess things were 10% better then.

Looking at it mathematically, we may be seeing that the proportion of crap increases 10% every 70 years. If so, we are approaching 100% crap in about 10 years.

I'm glad that I'll be old enough not to care.

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Apr 2018 10:13 a.m. PST

You just have to listen to the short story "spar" to prove his thesis incorrect.

cloudcaptain22 Apr 2018 10:58 a.m. PST

Armor, Leviathan Awakes, Fireships and anything by David Drake alone prove that wrong. I'd even say Dan Abnett who is fairly recent.

USAFpilot22 Apr 2018 11:54 a.m. PST

I agree with the 90% of everything is crap. The latest crap is always in vogue in the present. But after a short amount of time it fades and is replaced by the newest crap. Anything that is really good survives the test of time and receives the moniker of "classic" after a few decades, or centuries. Case in point, The Hobbit was written in 1932 and yet can still be found in contemporary book stores today. My Father read it, and later read it to my brother and me when we were children. I suspect it will still be read in a hundred years from now.

Striker22 Apr 2018 1:29 p.m. PST

I'm with Dynaman.

emckinney22 Apr 2018 7:42 p.m. PST

It may not be what he likes, bit The Three Body Solution is brilliant. Perhaps a bit closer to what he likes, I loved The Darkling Sea.

PMC31723 Apr 2018 12:40 a.m. PST

SF&F is actually in a wonderful place. There's loads of it, for starters, and it's beginning to get recognition for what it is, at the high end – literature.

Not just pulp adventures or sword and sorcery violence, but real, actual, proper literature. I mean that's always been there (Frankenstein, for example) but so often it's dismissed as 'genre fiction' and ignored or looked down on.

Plenty of really good authors out there, from all sorts of backgrounds too, writing wonderful stories.

YogiBearMinis Supporting Member of TMP23 Apr 2018 3:39 a.m. PST

As far as I am able to tell, few MFA graduates write either fantasy or science fiction, so I am not sure whether the proliferation of programs has anything to do with the "problem" of bad writing. My wife is an MFA and everyone she knows or knows of seems to consider those genres "beneath" literary fiction, though there are a few exceptions of course.

To me, a common thread I see is that so much of the current generation of science fiction and fantasy is of a thinly-developed first-person perspective. It is just bad writing, regardless of genre. Even the heralded new fantasy I read about is first-person with a lead character who might as well be a 1990s teenager.

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART23 Apr 2018 5:34 a.m. PST

I agree with PMC317. Many SF authors are among the best in any writing genre. This also applies to ALL writing genres. Many authors have survived the test of time and left a great legacy behind for following generations of readers and writers. If you don't have the patience to wait, just look at the imitators who jump on the bandwagon
and see who they are copying. There is no 'woeful' state.

Thomas Thomas23 Apr 2018 1:55 p.m. PST

A stupid blog post – and even stupider following comments – check out the one renouncing all female authors.

Just another verison of: "This is the RIGHT literature to read; read nothing else and don't dare ask why not."


billthecat23 Apr 2018 4:10 p.m. PST

Contemporary 'SF' and 'fantasy' IS awful… but not for the reasons hinted at in the rambling post. Of course, contemporary literature, 'art', and culture are also awful, so no surprise. What's even more interesting is that most of non-contemporary 'SF' and 'fantasy' is also awful… yep, the world is full of awful. I'm going to go paint now… which will hopefully not out awful…

Paint it Pink26 Apr 2018 4:20 a.m. PST

My take, the authors have discovered there was SF&F predating their birth, which despite assertions by the jaded old farts who are searching for the next "new" fix, are enjoyable on their own terms.

By that I mean, Edgar Rice Burroughs was a man of his time, and to expect him to write to modern sensibilities is a non-starter. Same for Twain or Kipling etc.

There is a tendency to dismiss the works of the past on things other than whether the stories are entertaining.

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