Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What is Science Fiction?

Hello friends and neighbors!
I was talking with a fellow lover of the Science fiction genre and while be both love it we tended to disagree on exactly what is science fiction these days. I think that anything that has a scientific modification which can include (biology, technology or any earth alteration) while my friend feels as if only your post apocalyptic, genetic mutation due to chemical warfare sorta thing hits the mark more readily.
Now I used to be of the mind that sci-fi meant outer space period. But I have learned a lot about releasing my antiquated notions of War of the Worlds and Star Trek and Star Wars ideas about my favorite genre. Honestly I don't particularly like sci-fi that occurs in outer space, employing all manner of warp speed and the beeming up or down of the Space Cowboys. It just hits me with the sterility factor. Everything is so very sterile and manufactured but still has humans as its subjects and participants. This simply doesn't work for me.
I tend to think that much of your supernatural novels might find a home in Sci-Fi and with that in mind a great many Black authors could find their work read by a more diverse readership.
When I read Morrison's Beloved I thought wow, what a great read and the supernatural element really works well with the story. It was a bit in the tradition of The Goophered Grapevine (it is a short story written by Charles Chestnutt--please tell me you have read this!--review to come in the next post!).
The story centers around an ex-slave who tells a prospective buyer of the plantation he once worked about the entities that support and protect the place. I wont get too deep because I want you read it and I am going to discuss it in the next post I think. But that tale is a good example of what I believe sci-fi to include. An otherworldliness sort of quality. Like Beloved it went beyond the reliance of "science" per se to tell the tale but the element was there and was a part of the story. And here is where the idea of "good" science fiction comes into play. The tale should be able to live and breathe without the element of science fiction. It should have meaning and life without the aid of high-tech gadgets and genetic engineering. I say this because unless you are righting only about machines, the story contains a human force be it survival, love, birth, death ect. You dont need gadgets to talk about love but if you can weave a tale using them in conjunction with that very human emotion well then voila, you have me hooked from start to finish! I got a little off track but hey, the subject is so exciting that I couldn't help it!

Well that is all for now friends!
P.S. Read The Goophered Grapevine! It is brilliant! And if you havent read Beloved then SHAME on you! The book is far better than the movie because honestly you need your OWN imagination and mind to catch on to the puzzle of the book. It just didnt translate well to me in the movie!

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