On Optimistic Science Fiction

This is a great point about our culture, but also the nature of narrative. You need conflict. It’s too much of an intellectual exercise for the conflict to be idea-driven. There has to be character. This is a product of the way we’ve learned to tell stories in the 21st century. As an admirer of Kim Stanley Robinson, for instance, I am constantly disappointed by the lack of character and conflict. When you look at it the narrative is truly about the places themselves that he chooses to explore. This is not bad, and I am not criticizing him, but his work is certainly outside of the “narrative norm” we see within American literature. And then there’s post-modernism, which is not also dystopian in nature. Can you think of anyone, aside from Vonnegut, who’s working within a cynical framework for the future, rather than a negative one? (Note: you have to believe, as I do, that there’s a difference between cynicism and negativity with regards to our reality and our future.) 

Why optimistic science fiction is dead.

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