Saturday, September 6, 2008

Why IS fandon gray (Part II)

I blame Sesame Street.

Bert, Ernie, and company conditioned generations of kids to demand their information in tiny bites. And that learning must entertain. We can't require any of that pesky thinking and effort.

And the results? Pop-ups on TV remind us what we're watching. And newspaper audiences, like SF fandom, have become gray. For too many, news must fit on a screen -- and that screen is becoming an iPhone.

Mastering science takes time and effort. Ditto opening a new frontier. And -- here's a shocker -- both keep fading in popularity.

Why read the literature of the final frontier if you can't imagine ever getting there?


irvingprime said...

A couple years ago I went to a huge convention in Toronto that had elements of science fiction, horror, role playing games, anime and anything else you could think of.

A couple of things stood out to me but one big one was that, where science fiction was concerned, all the action revolved around Big Hollywood. Star Trek. Star Wars. Battlestar Galactica. Etc.

Other fields had a host of comics, books, games, indie movies and whatever else you can imagine. Anime and Manga had the young people. Horror had the most fun. Science fiction had long lines of people who paid a small fortune to get some C-lister's autograph.

I don't know why the difference. Does Hollywood stifle creativity? Probably.

Or is it simply that science education in the U.S. is so bad, that people don't know how to do science fiction - but they're willing to fake it for oodles of money?

You tell me. I don't know.

Edward M. Lerner said...

Hi, poecide,

I agree with you about Hollywood's typical "contribution" to SF. Too often SF movies and TV substitute explosions for logic. The balance between science and fiction needs work.

You might have a slightly different experience at a con specializing in published SF. You'd still see media tie-in -- but much less.

Good SF movies (e.g., Gattica, Enemy Mine) and TV (e.g., Stargate SG-1) do exist. Alas, they are too few and far between.

Meanwhile, I look forward to Hollywood interest in one of my stories or books :-)

- Ed

irvingprime said...

Good luck. They will make a movie out of one of your stories or books, long before they make one out of one of my poems. Science Fiction poetry is a smalllllll field!

Edward M. Lerner said...

An SF poetry movie? You'll have a sub-genre all your own.

Or -- considering the obligatory violence level for visual SF -- perhaps a whole new type of a poetry slam.

Monado said...

There's a big move to fantasy and magic for adults, but I think that the angels/vampires subsubgenre and anime have captured the younger folks.

The typical Hollywood "SF" movie is really a horror movie relabelled but not rethought. Good science fiction done straight - like Enemy Mine - would be entirely different, refreshing, and amazing.