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The Future of Science Fiction?

March 27, 2013

captain_future_golden_age_pulp

Gareth L Powell writes about “the new future of sci-fi” at the Irish Times:

In science fiction and fantasy, movements come and go. Now, though, there appears to be a new movement arising – a movement without a name.

Science fiction and fantasy have always been genres prone to movements and manifestos. They are slippery genres to classify, and each successive generation has had its own stab at pinning them down and redefining them. Cyberpunk, New Wave, Steampunk, New Weird . . . all these have had a lasting effect on the genre; but these days, issuing a manifesto smacks of adolescent hubris, and literary movements are often more confining than liberating for those identified with them. Now, however, a new generation of writers seems to be coming to the fore – a generation without a manifesto or a unifying purpose.

The key characteristics of this non-movement are that it consists of a loose grouping of new, thirty and fortysomething authors all coming to prominence at the same time, and all writing non-traditional, genre-blending fiction, united by a willingness to transgress traditional genre boundaries, and an individualism that balks at being conscripted into anybody else’s idea of what genre writing should or should not be .

Rather than content themselves with writing space opera or sword-and-sandal quest sagas, these new writers take the ingredients of the past and recombine them with the tropes of pulp adventure, alternate history and mythology, in order to tell new stories – stories unfettered by narrow genre definitions; stories with global sensibilities, which aspire to the standards of mainstream literature in terms of character, structure and style.

Check it out here. The pulp-fiction cover art is, by the way, from Mort Weisinger’s Captain Future. Can a Disney film be far away? I only wish I knew who to credit for the art.

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