Science Fiction Repair Shop: Dream A Little Dream (Or A Great Big One) Dept.

From the comments to Science Fiction Repair Shop: Not A Soul In Sight Dept. (Genji Press)

... many magical worlds do use magic as a form of technology, and much as it suffuses our lives and our lingo, it should suffuse theirs. To leave things to just be "as is" really misses the point of writing and exploring.

This goes right back into much of SF&F being rooted in escapism rather than transcendence. Most SF&F is not written as a way to look at a counterfactual future or past as a way of imagining new aspects of the present (and future, and maybe also re-assessing the past). It's written, like most fiction, as a way to merely appeal to someone's sense of novelty. A new system of magic or a clever justification for faster-than-light travel is not why I read a book, but if the set point for people's expectations is low enough to begin with, it can become that way.

I'm really not trying to build an argument against "mere" escapism here. I don't automatically hold a grudge against people who do no more than entertain and provide a little color and life on the page (or screen) for an hour or two.

What upsets me is when someone with a lot of power, or a lot of creative imagination, uses it unwisely, stupidly, frivolously. It upsets me when the Star Trek is taken out of Star Trek to turn it into a mere action vehicle, all because Paramount was getting cold feet about how well they could sell the franchise overseas. It bothers me when the power to do things differently is clearly in evidence, and the people in question choose not to.

Granted, doing more than just being amusing is hard, even for someone who wants to do more than that in the first place. Again, I should not frame this as a choice between being an entertainer or being a thinker; that's a false dichotomy. I'd frame it better as a choice between someone who wants to show you something really new, and someone who figures the pay is better in telling people what they already know.

Tags: imagination science fiction Science Fiction Repair Shop

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