Saving Science Fiction

Warren Ellis has contributed to the debate about the slow, sad decline of science fiction as a publishing powerhouse with an interesting notion: that we should stop building ‘castles in the air’, as he says – ie writing about wild and wacky futures – but concentrate on the world around us with an SF writer’s eye for detail and extrapolation…because we are living in a science fictional age. Read more here.

That is, essentially, the premise of the TV series I’ve been developing for the BBC. I think it’s bang on the nose as a way to pull science fiction back into mainstream consciousness. But quite what all those people who love stories about Big Machines will make of it is a different matter.

0 thoughts on “Saving Science Fiction”

  1. Is the combine harvester loving demographic an important one for writers and publishers then?

    In the end successful storytelling is at least partly about people and their relationships. That’s why (to continue my thought of the week) Firefly succeeds and Torchwood fails as great sci-fi, not much to do with the setting but everything to do with the characters.

  2. I think Firefly also succeds because it blends old and new together very well. I mean 500 years from now and they are still shooting guns with bullets and riding horses dressed as cowboys..Fab :)

    So is James Bond the type of SF for the populace?
    If it is I’m not going to complain as it’s all great fun.

    Oh and Breakfast, down here in the West Country much kudos is held by the family who owns a John Deere on the school play ground ;-)

  3. I hadn’t noticed a decline, I thought as a genre it was stronger than ever.
    I like the galaxy spanning stuff that Banks and Co do, that is still very much SF and not the age we live in, or likely to in our lifetime. But there has to be more than just tech. I need character development, plot and all the other content that makes the story worth reading.
    As a genre SF encompasses so much, from the far future space opera epics to subtle near future commentary on the world around us and to come. We can read the contributions from 50 years ago and compare with what we know now and see if we’ve learnt anything; we can read current writers and see how quickly the tech guys can make the predicitions possible.
    As long as “pulling science fiction back into mainstream consciousness” doesn’t result in dumbing down a la Dr Who then go for it.

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