=== A Famous Columnist "Comes Out" as a Sci Fi Fan! ===
Renowned Columnist Walter Russel Read has “confessed a guilty pleasure” -- a lifetime love of science fiction literature. In a column fo the American Interest, he comes-out and proclaims that Science Fiction is a Genre That Everyone Should Read.
”Taken as a whole, the field of science fiction today is where most of the most interesting thought about human society can be found. At a time when many academics have become almost willfully obscure, political science is increasingly dominated by arcane and uninspiring theories and in which a fog of political correctness makes some forms of (badly needed) debate and exploration off limits, science fiction has stepped forward to fill the gap.”
I confess to especially approving of this line: ”In the work of writers like David Brin and Neal Stephenson there is more interesting reflection on America’s place in the world than you will find, I fear, in a whole year’s worth of reading in foreign policy magazines.”
Mead also recommends Vernor Vinge, C.J. Cherryh, Benford, Willis, Niven and so on. (See my own list of favorites at Greatest Science Fiction & Fantasy Tales). And he concludes:
”The biggest single task facing the United States today is the unleashing of our social imagination. We are locked into twentieth century institutions and twentieth century habits of mind. Science fiction is the literary genre (OK, true, sometimes a subliterary genre) where the social imagination is being cultivated and developed. Young people should read this genre to help open their minds to the extraordinary possibilities that lie before us; we geezers should read it for the same reason. The job of our times is to build a radically new world; speculative fiction helps point the way.”
Now to find out if he likes autographed books... (I tried sending my Asimov book to Paul Krugman, but could not get through the shell of his assistants/handlers.)
Alas, not all famous, professed sci fi fans are on the side of the modernist enlightenment. Fresh off his latest Hugo win, Frederik Pohl blogs this:
" . . .there was a time when I really thought that if politicians would get in the habit of reading science fiction for fun instead of sticking to, say, the shoot-’em-up Westerns preferred by Dwight Eisenhower, we’d have better government. But then along came Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and shot that speculation down in flames."
(Oh, am I nostalgic for Eisenhower! Heck, even Tricky Dick would compromise with reality, now and then. Whatever his faults, he at least believed in negotiating, even with his enemies.)
=== And finally... ===
Author Mark A. Raynor runs a contest to create vintage ads based around fictional works of the future. Take a look at his United Postal Service ad for stamps based upon my post-apocalyptic novel, The Postman. The other ad pictured is a vintage baby food ad for “The Road” – Now with more baby….ugh
And a bit of fear mongering: This list of 15 ways science will kill us all includes the Large Hadron Collider, a time machine, self-replicating printers, the singularity, grey goo (nanorobots), cyborg robots, genetically-engineered life, dark matter…