Ptarmigan

a grouse with completely feathered feet

3/16/2005

On one of the Asimov's message board threads, Gardner Dozois mentions as an aside...

(some of the people who run slipstream-oriented sites seem particularly anxious to have SF die, so they can replace it with their own genre)

Can anyone name any semi-credible "slipstream" sites that want science fiction to die die die? (Remember those 80s coffee commercials, when they slipped in Folgers at restaurants? "We've secretly replaced...")

And what the hell is a slipstream site anyway? "Slipstream" was coined, pretty literally, as a joke back in the day, with a completely different meaning then it seems to have today. It has about as much relevance to a specific type of writing as "mainstream"; which is to say, close to none.

Anyway, this sounds like a very dastardly plot to kill SF. INVESTIGATION BEGUN.

4 Comments:

At 3/17/2005 08:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This "Dozois" character is a menace. Have him silenced along with the rest of his miserable little genre at once, Agent V!

-The Unpope of High Slipstreamery

 
At 3/18/2005 08:47:00 AM, Blogger gwenda said...

I love this post, Mr. Detector.

 
At 3/18/2005 10:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Instead, SF has become a self-perpetuating commercial
power-structure, which happens to be in possession of
a traditional national territory: a portion of
bookstore rackspace."

This is probably the most accurate definition of SF that I have seen in a while. Though I usually stick with:

SF == scifi which == like Star Trek and Star Wars

That used to make me mad, but I took my pills and I'm all better now.

Here's a link to someone online claming that SF is dying:
[http://www.strangehorizons.com/2005/20050307/cheney-c.shtml]

I'm sensing that the real problem here is that there are a bunch of nominalists who refuse to use a consistent vocabulary set and like good nominalists, they believe that just because you can make up words like genre, they really mean something. And that people's words have an effect on their world. Drop all the abstractions from these sentences and the problem boils down to:

SF is dead

Which is silly because abstractions can't die.

The best part of the "SF is dying article":

"Maybe "style" isn't the word I want. Maybe "pose" is more accurate. "

Style, pose??? Seeing as I try to be as concrete as possible having renounced my idealism of my youth, I just don't understand what we are supposed to mean by these words. I don't get it. Probably just my own personal density.

Anyway, if an article depends upon terms I can not figure out then I'm stuck here. I do think of style, in that I think of a writing style where one either uses words that are really simple, or they use big words, they use middle english, they write in big sentences or little ones or both and so on. I can't see SF as a style because people wrote SF books (meaning they had a little rocket on their cover) that had many styles. In fact the only style that editors seem to hate is ambiguity. Go back to the tired example of the bus is an alligator metaphor/literalization. Ug. That's old news, pholks.

' "A science fiction writer?" people would say skeptically when anyone suggested that that was a label Bunch deserved. "No, he just writes about the implications of technology on what it means to be human, creating postmodern fables of alienated identity. That's not science fiction."

No, it's not. Not anymore.'

Ah, so this could have been the whole article, actually, good summary there in the end. Basically, he's upset because people are pointing at different things that what he is when they say Science Fiction. Sorry about that, but unless we live in our own worlds, we need to use words in ways that people all ready understand them or else they won't understand us. Like my use of "pholks" was so non-standard to the way we usually mean by "pholks" it's not even funny.

Not one bit.

Anyway, I think I have thoroughly confused myself, but I'll quote my favorite line from the good editor, Doz:

"So, there are more books being published than ever before, more people buying them than ever before, and - thanks to online booksellers and, yes, the much-despised chain bookstores - more people have easier access to those books than ever before. Doesn't sound like either the much-feared and much-warned-against Death of Literacy or the Death of Science Fiction to me."

As always keepin' it concrete.

Fred

 
At 8/07/2005 02:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Might be worth changing the name of the sub-genre, however. Adopting joke names isn't actually a good idea -- after, "Big Bang" was originally a put-down by Fred Hoyle. And you see where it's gotten the cosmologists...

 

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