ALL THESE THINGS IT CAN DO

Published by Gregory Benford on August 21st, 2012

As science fiction came out of the pure robot and monster phase and started to do other things, it became a very efficient vehicle for both social satire and for investigation of the human character in a different way from the straightforward novel: humanity’s character considered as a single thing, rather than the character of individual beings reacting to each other. Of course many science fiction writers aren’t equipped to tackle these rather grand themes, but I think it might well happen. So in one way science fiction is more ambitious than the novel we’re used to, because these great abstractions can be discussed: immortality, how we feel about the future, what the future means to us, and how much even we’re at the mercy of what’s happened in the past. All these things it can do.

–Kingsley Amis, winter 1975

photo is of Martin and Kingsley Amis



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