It's the end of history - write with it!
Posted by aogWednesday, 23 February 2005 at 23:24 TrackBack Ping URL

Random Jottings writes about his disappointment in modern science fiction being behind the times (kind of an odd thought, eh?). In particular he’s gotten tired of the “over-crowded, environmentally destroyed Earth” scenario. As he points out, the trend toward a lower population, environmentally recovered Earth is now decades old. It would seem that science fiction writers should be ahead of the curve, not behind it.

I’ve noticed that myself, as well, although I must read a sufficiently different selection of works that it’s not been a major impediment for me (although it did detract from the Reality Dysfunction where an overheated Earth is a key plot point yet requires an interstellar civilization that can’t hang a simple heat shield between the Earth and the Sun).

The plot trope that’s been bugging me for the last decade or so is the doughty little liberal polity threatened by the massive and overwhelmingly powerful fascist empire. It’s never explained how, against historical trends, a repressive government becomes so large and wealthy as to be an overwhelming threat against the little liberal polity. That’s just not believable. In the future, repressive regimes will end up poor, not wealthy. A couple of examples are the Catherine Asaro Skolian Empire, or the David Weber and John Ringo’s March to the Stars. The last is kind of odd because Weber does a much better job in his Honor Harrington series.

But I agree with Random Jottings that it’s very disappointing for a field alledgedly as forward looking as science fiction to be so caught up in long discredited notions of how the world works.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
oj Sunday, 27 February 2005 at 11:09

Very insightful—SF writers need to read Victor Davis Hanson.

Liam Sunday, 27 February 2005 at 15:34

Ah, but they won’t read VDH. Industry “leaders” like Patrick Hayden of Tor are so whack left, as in let’s go to the inauguration so we can turn our backs on Bush, they would never read VDH.

aog Sunday, 27 February 2005 at 16:26

I suspect that few of the authors actually think about it (which is kind of depressing in itself for SciFi authors). It may be a bogus view of reality, but it’s a very handy one in terms of plot development.

End of Discussion