Guardian on SF (Again)

The Guardian is continuing to dip its toes into the waters of speculative fiction, with mixed degrees of success. Discussions of SF in the mainstream media are often most interesting for the ways in which the commentators limit their view of it so as to be able to dismiss it as bad.

Margaret Atwood famously described science fiction as being about “talking squid in space”, though she has apparently now added “flying rabbits” to her definition. She does this in order to attempt to distance what she regards as the believable speculation of her novels, particularly Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood, from less rigorous scientific extrapolation in what she believes science fiction to be.

In The Guardian‘s latest podcast Simon Ings responds to Damien Walter by arguing that science fiction is nothing but rigorous scientific extrapolation, devoid of all emotional content.

The apparent contradiction between these two explanations as to why science fiction is bad does not yet appear to have been noticed by anyone at The Guardian.

One comment


    A french SF writer, Michel Jeury, just said something I would roughly translate as :
    “The difference between science fiction and the rest of literature is not imagination. The difference is freedom”. I like it.