I don’t want to make this an overly complicated or deep post. Mostly this is just set-up for this week’s discussion on “Hybrid Genres.” Below is an interesting and thought-provoking “map” of genre fiction and all of its attendant subgenres. You may be aware of more subgroups or disagree with the categorization but it does make you consider exactly what is it you are writing/reading.
Tag: science fiction
Opening last month (July), this exhibit on Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction, 1780-1910 at the American History Museum
(12th and Constitution Ave., NW Washington, DC) explores the intersecting influences of science, innovation, industry, and the Victorian creative imagination through books from the Smithsonian Libraries and selected historical objects.
The industrial revolution and its attendant advances in science and art paved the way for a period of dramatic change in America and Europe. The public was enthralled by the rapid invention and scientific discoveries that characterized the age. Science became spectacle, and such literary luminaries as Jules Verne, Mary Shelley, and Edgar Allan Poe responded, crafting fiction that explored the farthest reaches of the new scientific landscape and the startling possibilities this new knowledge uncovered.
For those of you who cannot partake of this in person here in Washington, DC, they have a fascinating online exhibit broken into 7 separate areas:
- Terra Incognita – Adventure and Exploration: To the Far Reaches of the World
- The Age of Aeronaut – The Dawn of Flight
- Infinite Worlds – Exploring the Universe and Seeking Extraterrestrial Life
- The Body Electric – Inspiring Frankenstein
- Rise of the Machines – Technology Comes to Life
- Sea Change – Underwater Worlds: Fathoming the Deep
- Underworld – Fossils and Geology: What Lies Beneath?
Also, their blog has a great collection of posts relevant to “Fantastic Worlds,” history, science, technology, fiction, and adventure.
Via BillMoyers.com: “In accepting the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at this year’s National Book Awards, eminent sci-fi writer Ursula Le Guin made a knock-out speech about the power of capitalism, literature and imagination that, as she put it afterwards, “went sort-of viral on YouTube.””
From Le Guin –
…think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries — the realists of a larger reality. …
Books, you know, they’re not just commodities. The profit motive often is in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art — the art of words.
I have had a long career and a good one. In good company. Now here, at the end of it, I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want — and should demand — our fair share of the proceeds. But the name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom.
You can watch the video or read the full transcript here: http://parkerhiggins.net/2014/11/will-need-writers-can-remember-freedom-ursula-k-le-guin-national-book-awards/
Editors Scott H. Andrews (Beneath Ceaseless Skies), Neil Clarke (Clarkesworld), Jonathan Landen (Daily Science Fiction), Bill Campbell (Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism), Norm Sherman (Drabblecast, EscapePod) and writer Erica Satifka (Clarkesworld, Ideomancer) discuss the state of short genre fiction at the #BSFS on Saturday, March 22nd, 8PM. Moderated by Sarah Pinsker.
Great information and a fun night. The next roundtable discussion will be on Diversity in Science Fiction and Fantasy in August. For more info on BSFS, visit www.bsfs.org and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BaltimoreSciFi and follow us on Twitter @BaltimoreSciFi. I am supremely grateful to Paul Sulsky for video. This is a great resource!
This week’s video is relatively mellow. Simple and short. On March 28, 2010, at Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn, NY, the 10th National Black Writer’s Conference held a panel discussion on “Speculative Fiction: Fantasy, Horror & the Supernatural in the Fiction of Black Writers”. The panelist included: L.A. Banks, Michael Boatman, Jewell Parker Rhodes, and Cheo Tyehimba. Stafford Battle (Black Author Showcase) posed the question: “Who are your favorite sci- fi characters?” Lots of love for Usula LeGuin, Stephen Donaldson, Tanarive Due, and of couse, Octavia Butler.
When I was growing up, I watched shows like Star Trek and Sea Hunt and dreamed of adventures with women in them. One of the reasons I got into science fiction was because I saw Uhura — a woman — on the bridge of the Enterprise, and I wanted to be like that. The books of the day didn’t give me much: the women were often victims, if they were in the book at all.
Then, women didn’t speak up about how society treated them. Not much anyway, and those at the cost of being unpopular. They were encouraged not to have opinions and that what they thought didn’t count. My mother one was one those women, and she rarely stood up for herself.
Except that one day, having a voice counted, and not having it established also counted. The Mormons were luring members away from the Lutheran Church. Instead of trying to figure out what members weren’t getting, the pastor at our church launched into a nasty diatribe against the Mormons during his sermon.
One small problem.
My mother’s father was Mormon. So afterward, my mother politely told the pastor that his sermon had offended her. He blew her off, no doubt figuring she would do what she would always do — concede to his opinion and fade away.
My parents never went back. They also cut off long time friendships with other members of the church. It became such a contentious issue that when my mother had surgery, she specifically requested that she didn’t want to see anyone from the church.
To this day, I wonder if the outcome would have been different if she had expressed her opinions on a regular basis. Staying silent made everyone assume there was agreement.
Today, the girls and the women are speaking up, particularly in the science fiction field, and some men have joined in. For a long time, women didn’t speak up because they would have been blackballed from the industry. People assumed there wasn’t a problem.
Now, with the internet bringing in competition, women are speaking up. And they’re running into the same problems my mother had. People don’t believe there’s a problem. People ask Josh Whedon why he has strong female characters, and his response is “Because you keep asking me.”
Women speaking up elicited hatred and death threats. Some people don’t believe it’s a problem. Yet, we need to keep speaking up and making ourselves heard — both men and women. It’s time.