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May 3rd, 2005

Do Science Fiction writers sound bitter?

To them [science fiction authors], "Star Wars" is nothing more than a space opera, and if the big guy in the black cloak is finally singing, that means the show is over. The saga continues no longer.

"That's the past of science fiction you're talking about," said Richard K. Morgan, the British cyberpunk-noir writer whose most recent novel is "Market Forces."


And then

What Mr. Lucas may have seen as eternal, however, science fiction writers have tended to see as antique.

"It started out 30 years behind," said Ursula K. Le Guin. "Science fiction was doing all sorts of thinking and literary experiments on a totally different plane. 'Star Wars' was just sort of fun."

"It takes these very stock metaphors of empire in space and monstrously bad people and wonderfully good people and plays out a bunch of stock operatic themes in space suits," she said. "You can do it with cowboy suits as well."

Science fiction, on the other hand, "is a set of metaphors," Ms. Le Guin said. "It's useful for thinking about certain things in our lives - if society was different in some way, what would it be like?"


Way they're speaking, you'd almost be forgiven for thinking that science fiction weren't built and sustained on the back of novels and movies and tv just like Star Wars. Bad bad people and good good guys are the standard trade in sci-fi (and much of the other genres like fantasy).

But this is my favourite quote:

"Blade Runner." Many people, including Mr. Morgan, consider the film, directed by Ridley Scott, to be one of the best sci-fi movies ever made, because it was as much about what's inside as what's outside. It, not "Star Wars," was truly ahead of its time.

"You've got the gun battles and all that stuff," Mr. Morgan said, "but the movie is very much about internal factors, like robots yearning to be humans."


Yeah, man, robots yearning to be human. Fuck. How'd I ever think that wasn't brand spanking new and well thought out? It's like, Wow, I'm wanting to be someone else. Man. What a spin. Pass me the joint--this is great, isn't it? God. I want to be someone else. I want to be a chick... not, fuck man, I wanna be Rutger Hauer!

Jesus.

In fairness, of course, the quote could be taken out of context, shifted round, done whatever, but lets for a moment assume that the idea of having a movie (or piece of fiction) structured around the question of wanting to be someone different, about wanting to change your life... lets just pause and think that this might be something unique.

Did you pause?

Did the countless novels and films and even goddamn pop songs that focused on the desire to be someone different and escape your shitty life just cause your skull to explode?

Make A Shirt Outta It.

I'm thinking of making a t-shirt that says Science Fiction is Dead.

The thought came to me as I was reading deborahb's entry on genre death.. She wrote, "And genre's dying, right, uh-huh, it's been dying since I began reading articles on it ten years ago. A slow death, then," and I realised that what's needed is a t-shirt. Everything important is put onto a t-shirt. Just ask Che Guevara. His legacy would be taking a beating if idealistic left wingers hadn't put his face onto a t-shirt and worn it round to their meetings instead of taking machine guns.

Science Fiction is Dead. T-shirt. I want one.

The Secret of Pie.

15.


Therapy yparehT.


When I walk into the office of my psychiatrist, he says, "How are you?"

"Fine," I reply.

He gives me the medication I want, anyway. It's the public heath service and he's swamped by men and women who come in every ten minutes, expanding the shape of his waiting room with flesh like a kid blowing into a balloon. So he has an in and out policy, a therapy session born out of his desire to give you medication, and your desire to take it. Since I appear like a reasonable fellow, we've no problems, though he constantly tells me that I should meet a nice girl and fuck her on a regularly basis. It'll be like a relationship, he tells me, though I think he just wants the movies I make of it.

Anyhow, I'm on the candy medication now and doing fine. Thanks for asking. If you're worried, the worse that can happen is that I'll find some cats and jam it down their throats for laughs, then set them on fire and toss them into the neighbours cooking shed to mix in with the spices they've got there. Still, I tell you, if you got problems, therapy is a cool thing. Don't fear it.

16.


Pie.


In what will surprise many of you to learn, I make pie. From nothing but ingredients to crust and boiled apples (or apricots) and a top and put into the oven and cooked.

My Nanna is eighty four and a tiny, silver haired British woman who makes fine pie. You eat her pie and for years when you have something not hers, you say, "All I'm eating now is inferior pie." The story goes that she learnt it from her mother and grandmother in England, the latter who ran a bakery when my Nanna was a little girl. It's the kind of thing that's got age to it, and when you eat the pie, you can taste that. For example, the recipe involves things like lard, which I didn't even know you could still buy until she laid it out for me. Anyhow, unlike my Nanna, I can't make great pie. I made mediocre pie because I'm in the learning stages, but I like to tell people I make pie because it makes them blink, look to the left, look to the right, and go, "Um," in clear confusion. But the truth is, I'm learning how to make pie because my Nanna is cool and eighty four, and one day she and my Pop won't be round no more (that's a fact for us all) and I'd like to have something to remember them by.


(I am still answering thirty questions. Half way through. It's really not even questions now. People are just leaving words and I go from there. Anyhow, leave whatever, and feel free to participate.)

Bit of My Soul.

50 %

My weblog owns 50 % of me.
Does your weblog own you?