Dear Sci-Fi…

Elizabeth Bear at Clarkesworld:

I’m as guilty as anyone of taking myself too seriously.

[…F]or you, it’s become an addiction. You seem to think that nothing fun can have value; that only grimdark portentousness and dystopia mean anything. You wallow in human suffering and despair, and frankly—it makes me tired.[…]

The thing is, that kind of cynical pose is really just a juvenile reaction to the world not being what we hoped. We can’t have everything—so we reject anything. But it’s adolescent, darling, and most of us outgrow it. We realize that as much as the world can be a ball of dung, and horrible things can happen for no reason, there are positive outcomes too, sometimes. I’m not going to say things balance out, because of course they don’t—life is not fair—but it’s not just awful, either.

I like this – I think it makes a lot of points that illuminate why I’ve been driven towards children’s literature. Definitely Harry Potter, A Wrinkle in Time, and even the heavy-handed His Dark Materials trilogy had more lightness than most of the adult speculative fiction 1 I’ve read in recent years; they take themselves just a little less seriously, which allows me to approach them with a little more ease, and – inevitably – seriousness. It’s one of the problems I’ve had with A Song of Ice and Fire – even the levity in those books drips with self-seriousness. The characters are interesting, the plot is pretty compelling, but golly, J.R.R. – I’m sorry, G.R.R. – if you would just relax a bit, I bet I’d have ten times more interest in your seemingly-endless saga.

Boy, every time I try to talk about genre fiction, I end up ranting about how underwhelmed I am by Game of Thrones. Sorry about that – it’s fine. It’s perfectly fine.

(via @neilhimself)


  1. Today I learned…

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