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Mount Orégano
Sue Burke
My post at Asimov’s blog 
24th-May-2018 10:02 am
My essay “We Lost Control a Long Time Ago” is available for your reading pleasure at From Earth to the Stars, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine’s blog for authors and editors.

In my post, I discuss Barry N. Malzberg’s sometimes uncomfortable idea about what sets science fiction apart from “literary” fiction: external events matter more than individual self-realization. Literary fiction tends to focus on one kind of change, increased self-understanding and self-control, as a means to gain control of your life. Science fiction says that you might achieve self-realization, but technological change is and always has been out of control, and that change and our inability to control it matters more to our lives.

This is what makes science fiction a dangerous and plot-oriented kind of literature.

— Sue Burke
25th-May-2018 03:09 am (UTC)
Excellent essay; thanks! I'm not sure I agree with Malzburg's dichotomy, though. I would say that what sets science fiction apart from both 'literary' fiction and fantasy is that its themes are built around the concepts of science - not necessarily just technological change, which is only a by-product of science, not its foundation.

It may be that practically every kind of change is and always has been out of our control, like Calvin & Hobbes hurtling downhill in a wagon, and the best we can do is hang on and try to enjoy the ride.

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