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Re: [mythsoc] What is science fiction? (was Re: NPR top 100 Science Fiction ...)

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  • David Bratman
    It seems to me that both Jason and Darrell are experiencing severe cases of confusing the name with the thing. Jason says that science fiction is any fiction
    Message 1 of 31 , Aug 4, 2011
      It seems to me that both Jason and Darrell are experiencing severe cases of
      confusing the name with the thing.

      Jason says that science fiction is any "fiction about or involving science."
      But there can be much fiction involving science which is not what anybody
      else considers science fiction, if it has no element of extrapolation or
      technological advance. A murder mystery set in a scientific laboratory. A
      historical novel about Isaac Newton. The classic example is "Arrowsmith" by
      Sinclair Lewis, which is about the culture and society of real-life medical
      science. Damon Knight calls it "the antithesis of science fiction," in that
      in SF, the new consequences of a discovery are all-important, while in a
      novel of imaginary events with a realistic setting, no such world-changing
      result can arise from the events of the novel. In "Arrowsmith" the hero
      makes a real discovery, but is pre-empted by the real-life discoverer.

      Darrell wishes to exclude from SF any stories about "a dream state, or other
      variations of the 'all in someone's mind' theme," which is fair enough: if a
      story turns out to be imaginary within the invented arena where it takes
      place, like the Alice books, is not SF. But then he said "Flowers for
      Algernon" disqualifies because it is about "the effects of an altered mental
      state." That's an entirely different thing, with no relationship whatever.
      It's not even "obliquely" related. The events of "Flowers" are not taking
      place within Charlie's mind. It's not a story about a dream, it's a story
      about speculative extrapolated brain surgery.
    • Alana Joli Abbott
      On Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 7:31 PM, Lisa Harrigan
      Message 31 of 31 , Aug 4, 2011
        On Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 7:31 PM, Lisa Harrigan <auntie_m_groups@...> wrote:
        Most of these should not be on a Best of All Time list, because they are
        Brand New, some trilogies have not even had book 3 printed yet, Series.
        How do they get on a Best of All Times List?

        This is a fair point. I do think it's valid to want to include things that are new, so you get the full range of classic to contemporary. But series that aren't completed yet really shouldn't qualify.

        -Alana 


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        Alana Joli Abbott, Freelance Writer and Editor (http://www.virgilandbeatrice.com)
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