Sunday, December 02, 2007

Bryan Appleyard on Science Fiction

Bryan Appleyard is one of the most interesting science journalists and he has a good piece in "The Culture" section of today's Sunday Times about how illogical it is that people in Britian look down on the Science Fiction genre.

I do think he has a point, although it isn't actually everyone in Britain who has a down on SF - it tends to be the so-called "intelligentsia" and other self-appointed arbiters of good taste.

My wife recalls reading an interview with Terry Pratchett, who writes comedy fantasy books, in which the interviewer refused to believe that Pratchett was Britain's best selling author. (Which at the time he was - this was a few years before J.K. Rowling's sales really took off.) "You can't be - if you were I would know it." said the journalist, or words to that effect. SF just is not on some people's radar.

And it should be. I don't claim to know which of the various threats which have actually been foreseen for the next hundred years will actually materialise, but it is very probable indeed that many of the most difficult challenges which hit mankind in the 21st century will be among those which have been written about by science fiction writers, and those people who have read the books concerned will have a head start on thinking about solutions.

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