Is Science Fiction Writing Absolutely not serious literature?


I love to write. I love to write science fiction. I also love to read.

There, I said it. Terrible truth out in the open on the first line! Obviously, this author knows nothing about uncertainty. What more could be expected from a science fiction writer?

To be a little more serious for a second, I actually love writing. What I dislike are small minded people who think writing should only be conducted in a certain way, in a particular type, style or voice. For example, “expert book reviewer” who tell me the book is bad because the style of the author, or the science fiction (SF) is childish.

Apart from the obvious considerations of spelling, grammar and punctuation, the author has enormous freedom in how their thoughts reach the reader. Sometimes even these minimal regulations are deliberately broken in order to tell the story.

Of course, the writer wants his work to be read, but it’s also about making an emotional connection with readers. The form writing takes can be formal, like Dickens, or truly unique and free-flowing as in the case of Ulysses Joyce. What really evil connection or, if you prefer, emotional communication. If there is no emotional connection, you might just as well have been reading the telephone directory. If science fiction writing can actually form this connection to the readers how it can be judged as “poor literature”?

How much poorer world literature would be without Joyce, Dylan Thomas, Wordsworth or Shakespeare. Similarly, how much poorer also if it was not Asimov, Heinlein, Niven or bank. This loss would certainly be most severely felt in the world of ideas.

Science is the world of ideas. It is the result of looking at the world and ask,

Sometimes these ideas have changed the world, “What if?” Communication Star Trek is, once thought impossible, are now common and mobile. On the darker side, the movie Aliens showed us robotic guns, power-assisted exoskeletons and various scanning and image processing technology devices. All these things are now quite current and accepted in the world today.

With such power to change the world, science should actually be considered a poor relation to “serious literature”?

Sometimes science fiction not so much about gadgets, but more social. This gives SF author the ability to explore the world that is different, yet uncannily like our own. Here too there are many notable works: HGWells and The Time Machine as well as War of the Worlds can both be seen as social commentary. Less known short story of his, Tono-Bungay, satirises advertising during the day and probably predicted an atom bomb. Wells is of course just one author, but others might have here such as George Orwell (1984) or Aldous Huxley (Brave New World).

So what science fiction in the future?

Oh gap between science fiction and science fact is narrow. People talk seriously about a technological singularity in the near future, in which artificial intelligence will become fact. With the current rate of improvement in computer data storage and processing power, who really knows?

Unfortunately, science has not yet shown us a solution for the problems of the world today, but maybe a book or movie that hints towards a solution is just around the corner.


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