It seems everybody is getting into the sad puppies act with Sarah Hoyt throwing in her, ever insightful, opinion on the topic.
Meanwhile I bring you news of great puppy sadness.
But first let me tell you about this little girl in Portugal. Okay, not that little. If she were in a language that permitted it, being five seven and around 120 lbs at thirteen in a country where four feet and a little was considered great for a girl, would have got her called Two Ton Tessie.
At any rate, that young woman fit in about as well as an elephant at a regency ball. But she had books.
Specifically what she read was science fiction.
This was difficult because in Portugal, at the time, there was ONE imprint and it put out ONE book once a month. Not only was this relatively slow for her reading speed, it was very fast for her money speed.
However, she still bought the books, even when it meant going without lunch, or starting a neighborhood newspaper in a mad bid to make some money.
And some of the books she always bought, other than Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury, Simak and later Mccaffrey, were collections of Hugo and Nebula winners.
I remember clearly a finals week, when I was so tired and out of it, I bought the Hugo winners volume in the store across from the school, and then read it while walking to the train, because it made me feel human again to have these thoughts that were not the type of thing they taught in school.
Would it still work that way? I think not. Science fiction has been taken over by academics. This is not the same as being intellectual or even “literature” whatever the heck that is. I mean I think AIMING for the later two is insanity, because that’s not how literature really works — the only person who can judge if your work is literary is your millionth reader in the year 220. And he’s not born yet — but one does not, whatever the other side (rolls eyes) thinks write with one’s mind turned off.
On the contrary, the hope is to write science fiction that is fun to read but leaves behind lingering thoughts — say a lot of Heinlein’s books.
Somehow, the current luminaries in my field think the only way to make SF/F worthwhile again is to make it as boring and dreary as my school lessons back in the day. And the only way to ensure SF doesn’t die is to write characters of every shade of victimhood into their books. And write them being victimy victims. Because that will attract… victims…
I’m not sure what the thought is, really. That young Portuguese woman I was back then didn’t care if her favorite books were written by or featured only blonds pasty enough to feature at the head of a Viking raid. In fact, she didn’t mind all the names were in English. It just gave her this odd idea that in the future she too would have an English name. Weirdly, this was correct, though not intended thus.