January 4th, 2009

spaceship

Predicting the future without science fiction?

Today's Washington Post has an interesting article on fiction that attempts to predict the future. The premise of Annalee Newitz, an author and editor of the io9.com science fiction blog, is that the grimmer the present is, the rosier science fiction books and movies get in presenting the future. I can see that. And right now, media such as film and television includes a lot of science fictional settings and plots. The print market is smaller, but still there. If she's right, maybe those of us who write far future optimistic science fiction will have a better shot at selling it in 2009?

But what intrigues me is that the column mentions science fiction classics such as the movie Forbidden Planet and books by authors such as Heinlein and Burroughs, but Newitz never uses the words "science fiction." She calls some the these works "escapist fantasy," a classification with which, where Burroughs is concerned, it's hard to argue, but she never uses the phrase "science fiction" in the text of the article.

So, what's up with that? Was it deliberate or sheer coincidence? I'd really like to know.





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