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October 12, 2006

SF, entertainment, Star Wars and the meaning of life

I'm enjoying immensley the current debate raging in the SF blogosphere about SF and entertainment and Star Wars and on.... There has been opinions from lots of people, and any links will probably be out of date by tomorrow, but Lou Anders kind of started it and Ian McDonald replied and John Scalzi joined in (of course). John is doing a good job of collecting the links at SFSignal, so I'll just point there.

The latest person to join in is Jose at MemeTherapy,
Where’s Our Casablanca?, who adds an interesting personal perspective on how pencil and paper RPG has been killed off by video games.

"We may just have to resign ourselves to the fact that Science Fiction is now primarily about visual media and that such popularity won’t necessarily translate and possibly work against its popularity in dead tree media. That doesn’t mean that Science Fiction books are on the way out or even in trouble but it’s a mistake to think that the hot market in oranges is a good thing for the sale of apples."

So here's my take on that. I spend most of my time here blogging about SF television and to a lesser extent SF films and even less SF books. Is that because I think SF TV is more valuable than SF literature? Nope, in fact I'd put SF literature at the top of my list. I could do without the films and the TV if I had the books.

However I watch far more SF TV than read SF books, because, like Jose said,

"We all have a limited amount of time and money to spend on entertainment"
TV is free and quick. It takes me 45 minutes to watch an episode of Doctor Who. It takes me at best a couple of weeks to read a book. (And I'm reading The Confusion at the moment which will probably take me months). I really wish I had time to read more, but I don't and that is that.

It's something I've thought about a lot with relation to this blog, but in the end I just blog about whatever I feel like, and if there's more TV, so be it, it's just a blog after all.

Oh and as for Star Wars. I love it. It was the first film that I ever saw at the cinema. If it wasn't for Star Wars I probably wouldn't be into SF, I probably would never have read any William Gibson, let alone any PKD etc etc. Anyone who slags off Star Wars is probably evil.

Ian McDonald said,

"As I said, entertainment is where we all begin, not where we end up. Call me fussy, but I'm not after your beer money. Beer is always good, but keep it for the beer: I'm after the money you spend on beautiful, precious things. The ornaments, the treasures. The things that really matter to you. The money you spend on lovers, I want that money. The money you spend on plastic surgery, drugs, hopes, faith and fetishes --the things that change your life, that make and remake you: that's the money I want. Keep your beer money, you've worked for it, I want your triple-distlled whiskey money.

Because it's more than just entertaining. "

And for me, Star Wars is one of my precious things, alongside books like River Of Gods.

1 Comment

Another problem with SF at the moment (for me anyways) is the overinflated length of alot novels. I read Reality Dysfunction while on vacation which Charlie swears by. The whole book comes in at around 1200 pages and it's the first part in a series.

I probably won't finnish reading this series as it isn't my bag really. I don't want to the book off but in the time it takes me to read 1200 pages I could have read 4-5 truly excellent novels, watch 20-30 episodes of Battlestar Galactica, get 20% of my marathon training completed (granted spaced out over a long period of time), you get the idea.