Monday, May 28, 2012

New and Noteworthy (SF and Big Ideas, Future Fire, SFTV Ratings)

In today's edition:

* At SFSignal, a "Mind Meld" putting the question "Are SF writers 'slacking off' or is science fiction still the genre of 'big ideas'?" to a number of genre writers. Among those who respond are Alastair Reynolds, Peter Watts, Allen Steele, and Charles Stross, with the result, unsurprisingly, an interesting range of views. (Those hungry for still more about the matter can also check out Big Dumb Object, where James Bloomer offers his thoughts on the question.)

As for my own two cents: I'm in agreement with Stross's argument that the genre has been "spinning its wheels" for the past three decades, with cyberpunk and the Singularity the only Big New Ideas to appear in that period. (Indeed, I've made the case in a number of places myself, among them my book After the New Wave.) It also seems quite possible that this, as he suggests, a matter of our flinching from what the Future has actually looked like – but it may also be that, as Stross and Alexis Glynn Latner suggest, the era of Big Ideas "may have run its course." It also seems to me that Latner, and also Steele, are right in pointing out that editors and publishers are steering authors who might be doing such work in other directions, like fantasy.

* Over at The World SF Blog, an interview with Djibril Al Ayad, editor of The Future Fire.

* And finally, at Blastr, an overview of the performance of the top fifteen genre shows on TV in the ratings during the 2011-2012 season. Alas, The Big Bang Theory (including which is a bit of a stretch) was #1. ABC's fantasy series Once Upon a Time is #2, and the recently canceled Terra Nova took the #3 position - a reminder of just how well a big-budget science fiction show has to do to stay alive in network prime time.

Those wondering which genre shows will be back for another season can check out this recent post from

New and Noteworthy (Battleship, Skyfall, Superheroes)
New and Noteworthy (Avengers, "The End of SF"-Again, Fringe Renewed)
New and Noteworthy (Awards News, Hollywood)
New and Noteworthy (Indie Publishing, Galactica, Eureka)
The Cancellation of Terra Nova
2011 Round-Up, Part III: Things I Never Want to Hear About Again
SFTV and Friday Nights
Trillion Year Spree, Twenty-Five Years On
New and Noteworthy (SFTV Ratings, Movie Grosses, Bond 23)
New in Print . . . (After the New Wave: Science Fiction Since 1980)
Why I Can't Stand The Big Bang Theory
New Future Fire Out-And I'm In It

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