Speculations on Science Fiction
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Speculations on Science Fiction
Speculations on Science Fiction
Author David Brin offers insight into Science Fiction
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Has 21st Century Science Fiction gone cowardly? Or worse… nostalgic?

Has 21st Century Science Fiction gone cowardly? Or worse… nostalgic? | Speculations on Science Fiction | Scoop.it

Overall, 21st Century SF is heavily warped and crushed under a burden of nostalgia for the past...and anomie toward the future. In "Cowardice, Laziness and Irony: How Science Fiction Lost the Future," Jonathan McCalmont says -- and I agree -- that this dismally destructive and demoralizing trend controls most of the top magazines and most of the Best of the Year anthologies... oh and the awards. McCalmont illuminates how this is not only manifest in the omphaloskeptic (navel-contemplating) short story community of SF but in sub-genres that proclaim themselves to be bold, like Steam Punk and the surge of Skew Cultural science fictional novels (many of which I find admirable) by non-male, non-western or interestingly-origined authors.

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Allan Dale Maurer's curator insight, April 1, 2013 2:25 PM

Do you agree with this? It seems overstated to me, meaning, people try to paint an entire genre with a broad brush when what they need is a fine point pen.

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“Star Wars” despots vs. “Star Trek” populists

“Star Wars” despots vs. “Star Trek” populists | Speculations on Science Fiction | Scoop.it

In Star Wars, elites have an inherent right to arbitrary rule. This is just the beginning of a long list of “moral” lessons relentlessly pushed by “Star Wars.” Lessons that starkly differentiate this saga from others that seem superficially similar, like “Star Trek.” (We’ll take a much closer look at some stark divergences between these two sci-fi universes below.)

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Using Science Fiction To Help Turn Kids on to Reading... And the Future!

Using Science Fiction To Help Turn Kids on to Reading... And the Future! | Speculations on Science Fiction | Scoop.it

Consider the ages from twelve to fifteen, when a person's sense of wonder can bloom or wither, starved by ennui or seared by fashionable cynicism. Sometimes even the right book or film can ignite a fire that lasts a lifetime — you never know. For many of us, it was futuristic or speculative literature that helped cast our minds far beyond family, city, or oppressive peers... not to mention the limitations that others seemed bent on imposing, shackling our dreams.

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What’s Your Favorite Heinlein Novel?

What’s Your Favorite Heinlein Novel? | Speculations on Science Fiction | Scoop.it

Robert Heinlein was a question-asker. I consider Robert Heinlein’s most fascinating novel to be his prescriptive utopia Beyond This Horizon. While Heinlein did opine, extensively, about society in many books, from Starship Troopers to Glory Road, it is in Beyond This Horizon (BTH) that you’ll find him clearly stating This Is The Way Things Ought To Be. And it turns out to be a fascinating, surprisingly nuanced view of our potential future.

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The Postman: A Re-appraisal and Reader's Guide

The Postman: A Re-appraisal and Reader's Guide | Speculations on Science Fiction | Scoop.it

The Postman is fundamentally about civilization -- the things that we'd miss, were it to fall. Many people ask my impressions of the film by Kevin Costner, and I posted an article on my website. I understand Hollywood and know that prose fiction is only glancingly related to what you see on the big screen. It's a director's medium, calling for visual storytelling skills and an eye for dramatic moments that are shown, not told. But here I've recorded a ten minute YouTube author reappraisal of the book and the movie:

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Another look at EARTH: 22 years later. Plus a Reader's Guide!

Another look at EARTH: 22 years later. Plus a Reader's Guide! | Speculations on Science Fiction | Scoop.it

Earth was written at the end of the 1980s. Some 'predictions' that got attention were my portrayal of a vivid, dynamic World Wide Web, wearable computing, Tru-Vu sousveillance goggles, as well as large-scale changes such as sea level rise and global warming. In fact, predictions registries have been set up at Technovelgy.com and Issuepedia to track hits and misses from Earth, such as bee zappers, reading plaques, filtered reality, and subvocal computer interfaces.

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Satellites: From The Brick Moon to Telstar

Satellites: From The Brick Moon to Telstar | Speculations on Science Fiction | Scoop.it

It’s well known that in 1865, Jules Verne published his novel, De la Terre à la Lune (From the Earth to the Moon), which includes the concept of human spaceflight. And yet, Verne never discussed the far more practical notion of of an artificial satellite orbiting Earth. For that it took an American, Edward Everett Hale (author of the Man Without a Country). The Brick Moon was published serially in Atlantic Monthly starting in 1869. And it is absolutely amazing. Almost every other paragraph you are either chortling over some bit of what we’d now call scientific naiveté… or else staring at the page in disbelief that some folks back then had such clear notions as geo-stationary navigation satellites.

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Science Fiction and Our Duty to the Past

Science Fiction and Our Duty to the Past | Speculations on Science Fiction | Scoop.it
Does science fiction owe a "duty" to the past? I've long pondered: might the field better have been named Speculative History? "Science fiction is our tool for exploring how the future might become better... or worse.  And by exploring the worst, we help make the better more likely!  "We stand upon the shoulders of our ancestors, doing the very task that they assigned to us, the task of rising higher than them. They made possible the wonder that is us! And we repay them by providing good footing for our children to plant their own feet on our shoulders. And I will gladly bear that burden, both in life an in whatever comes after death.  Forever. 
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GeekWire asks David Brin about the World of Tomorrow…

GeekWire asks David Brin about the World of Tomorrow… | Speculations on Science Fiction | Scoop.it

Too many authors and film-makers buy into the playground notion that cynicism is somehow chic and knowing. So many 50 or 80 year-old cliches are rampant -- e.g. "hey look, I invented suspicion of authority!" -- while nostalgia pushes aside what used to be our genre's golden notion. That we in this civilization might find ways to improve, to solve problems, to become better than we were. A difficult project, fraught with many pitfalls. But too many portray it now as hopeless.

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A Long, Lonely Road: Some Informal Advice to New Authors

A Long, Lonely Road: Some Informal Advice to New Authors | Speculations on Science Fiction | Scoop.it

Writing is a worthy calling -- one that can, at times, achieve great heights taht ennoblet he human race. Actually, I believe writing was the first truly verifiable and effective form of magic. Think of how it must have impressed people in ancient times! Author David Brin offers suggestions to set new authors on the path toward writing...

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Allan Dale Maurer's curator insight, April 1, 2013 2:26 PM

Brin knows his stuff, both about writing and about science. 

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Science Fiction for Young Adults: A Recommended List

Science Fiction for Young Adults: A Recommended List | Speculations on Science Fiction | Scoop.it

What books can we give our teens that don't mire them in a swamp of vampires, domineering wizards or nostalgia for feudalism? These are a few favorites for young adults, weighted more toward SF and a little common sense mixed with lots of sense-o-wonder. Many are classics...along with some marvelous recent additions.

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On the Seriousness of Science Fiction and More | UCTV

On the Seriousness of Science Fiction and More | UCTV | Speculations on Science Fiction | Scoop.it

A collection of three videos from UCTV…on the Seriousness of Science Fiction as literature, The Positive Sum Game and the Prevalance of Cyncism.

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Ray Bradbury, American optimist

Ray Bradbury, American optimist | Speculations on Science Fiction | Scoop.it

Ray was the last living member of a “BACH” quartet — writers who transformed science fiction from a pulp magazine ghetto into a genre for hardcover bestsellers. Isaac Asimov, Arthur Clarke and Robert Heinlein helped shatter barriers for the rest of us, establishing the legitimacy of literature that explores possible or plausible tomorrows. But it was Bradbury who made clear to everyone that science fiction can be art. An art form combining boldness and broad horizons with sheer, unadulterated beauty. Bradbury saw optimistic progress and dark fantasy as partners, not opposites. On camera, during the moon landings, he could not stay in his seat! And he demanded that others get out of theirs. Long before Peter Finch did it in “Network,” Ray demanded that viewers stand up, step outside and shout!  Only, instead of cynical resentment, he insisted that we “get” what had just happened, how we had – all of us – just become a bit more like gods.

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Jack Williamson: Master of Consistency and Change

Jack Williamson: Master of Consistency and Change | Speculations on Science Fiction | Scoop.it

Jack Williamson's life is one long tale of hoodwinking fate, of turning adversity into advantage, and above all, changing the world through the sheer magic of his perceptions. By seeing the universe in a new way -- and conveying his vision through science fiction -- Williamson helped break the old spell that held human beings enthralled for so long. The tradition of static sameness. The old fear of innovation.

He helped make the world we live in. A world in love with change.

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Sci Fi Blasts from the Past…and Future

Sci Fi Blasts from the Past…and Future | Speculations on Science Fiction | Scoop.it

On the release of Orson Scott Card's movie of Ender's Game, Smart Mobs and the future of journalism, growing organ parts...and speculations on Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. 

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The Art of Fiction: An Interview

The Art of Fiction: An Interview | Speculations on Science Fiction | Scoop.it

A lot of art –– including storytelling –– is about making up stuff! In other words, lying. Beautiful lies, stirring lies. Magnificent lies. But lies nonetheless. Where, I wondered, was anyone trying to figure out what was true?

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