Friday, January 30, 2009

"Science fiction is a literature of ideas"

While this statement is heard often, interpretation seems to vary so much in the sf community.

I personally prefer a story that focuses on a single idea, & looks at some aspect of it in great detail.

A story that is an encyclopedia of "ideas" nearly always puts me off.

  1. The so called "ideas" tend to be half-baked both because of their sheer quantity, & almost as often, because author himself is not clear on what these "ideas" mean.
  2. As a reader, the only way I can read these stories is by shutting my mind off, & treating the sentences as so much drivel. Occasionally I'll give up within first two dozen sentences, sometimes several dozen pages (yes - I sometimes feel lazy putting a bad story down - sheer inertia!).
Am I among the minority in being put off by "ideas" stories as opposed to "a single idea", or even better, "a single aspect of a single idea"?

Of course, there are occasional exceptions. "Doc" Smith's Lenseman immediately comes to mind. I guess I can enumerate some more if I spend some time thinking about it. But there aren't many.


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