When the 1950s were over and dead, American science fiction blackened over. Not like something dramatic–a shadow, a cloud, a plague–as it may have hoped, but with all the depth and meaning of over-cooked toast. Scape off the angst, take a knife to the political moaning and pretentious groaning, and you find only one thing: white bread.
Scrape away the remains of most of the popular science fiction, particularly from the 90s-onward when Star Trek and Star Wars had run around exhausted, to find unbaked cynicism.
Scrape away the bitter blackness from Samuel R. Delany (most stories and novels will do, but “Aye, and Gomorrah” is perfect) and you find a pedophile writing about diseased worlds where he can quite readily get away with his preferred madness…
Scrape away the soot from Childhood’s End, and you find an emotional cripple shouting that his opinions are right. There’s no maturity of discussion, as one might expect from a Bardbury, Lewis, or Asimov; nor is there the emotional maturity one finds in, say, Camus, who is quite happy to admit that disagreeing with his own views will not make you any less of a person.
In a way, this all leads to the background of my latest project. It’s too dramatic to say it will be “a restoration of hope to science fiction”; this trend has been underway, in greater and lesser waves, for the better part of a decade by the time I set my pen to paper. But there are few things more pleasant than a war of words; and even if a salvo is late, it should never be held back from battle.
Progress: A few hundred words; most of this week’s writing time has been spent sealing the deal.
Other stories increased by about 2k. An acceptably small count, considering sickness and travel.