October 26, 2013
In some imaginary world there are people out there, readers of this blog, like you I guess, who these last few months have been frustrated. Abandoned. Cast adrift in the universe of Science Fiction. Wondering. Floundering. Without my rushed reviews as guidance they have read the wrong books or watched the wrong films or given up and started reading Fantasy.
All this I know to be untrue (bar the reading Fantasy bit). If you care about speculating on the next superhero film to be made in a years time you are reading io9, if you want to read writers endlessly plug their latest novel/comic or talk about their hangovers you are reading Twitter, if you want to keep up to date on the latest author interviews you are reading SF Signal, if you are obsessed with awards you are listening to one of the multitudes of SF podcasts, if you like SciFi television you are probably just watching everything that is on regardless of its quality, same goes for films. The reduced frequency of posts on this blog has made no difference to your life unless you very specifically wanted to know what I have been reading/watching/listening to.
So, to maintain that illusion that someone cares, let me inform you. The answer is suprisingly little. There have been not many things to inspire me. A few of course, Les Revenants was a superb slow burning take on zombies, The Chaos Walking Trilogy was interesting although unable to maintain it's vibrancy across three books and very recently Salt by Adam Roberts was a fantastic examination of the difficulties in trying to cross the gaping void of cultural differences. But in general I have felt, do feel, out of step with the current state of Science Fiction.
On TV only The Walking Dead maintains my interest. Every week I fall asleep whilst watching The Agnets Of SHIELD (literally). I gave up on everything else. It all feels so bland and formulaic. Where are the issues and agendas? Where is the passion? Where is the relevancy?
With books I have struggled to find anything that sparked my interest. I have even failed to read Empty Space which I have started three times and given up on. Everywhere I look it's urban fantasy or Game Of Thrones or YA. It's authors and publishing struggling to make a profit and somewhere inside of that the urgency is lost. I want a book that gives me a future, that is screaming for revolution, that shows me change. The only novels that have come close to that for me recently are Little Brother and Homeland by Cory Doctorow, both written for the YA audience. What does that say? Have we given up on the adults? Are we too old to change anything? I just don't think so. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places? I've been listening to Clarkesworld podcasts and Lightspeed podcasts and the stories there don't grab me. The only short story I can even remember from the last few months is by Tim Maughn and it was published on Medium! I must be missing something, there must be more out there like that, there must be places to publish fiction like that.
Maybe I'm craving primary (or at least secondary) sources? The things that pique my interest right now are Bruce Sterling's blog, are Arc Magazine, are people looking at a possible future via speculation, people doing real research even. Perhaps this is the point I give up on consuming Science Fiction? Instead of reading and writing so much I've been coding, writing open source code, making something. It may only be an app that plays sounds or some new blogging software but there is something about open source that feels like the future. That feels worthwhile. At least more worthwhile. I want that feeling back from my Science Fiction.
That's it, a splurge of thoughts, unedited, typed in one sitting, with no conclusion. It's an ongoing conflict and this is just a snapshot.