Alt Title: Where Has All the Wonder Gone?

Long before my father read me The Hobbit as a bedtime story, long before I ever read The Lord of the Rings, I was a fan of science fiction. The local public broadcast station used to show a four-hour marathon of Star Trek: The Original Series every day around noon, and considering it was one of only two channels I was allowed to watch as a wee little one, as far back as I can remember, from the time I could reliably operate a remote, I would tune in every noon to watch Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise explore the universe and encounter aliens.

To this day, the one scene where a shirtless Sulu goes fiendishly fencing through the corridors of the Enterprise remains forever engraved upon my mind as pure awesome.

From there, it was but a happy skip to the movies, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and the entire book franchise. Any time there was any news of a new Star Trek something, I was on it like a Ferengi on a pyramid scheme.

I’m still waiting for a decent Star Trek series starring a captain who just happens to be a woman, by the way.

In any case, by then, my repertoire of watchable channels had expanded to include1 Sci-Fi2, TNN3, and USA4, and it was on one fateful day in 1994 that I watched my first episode of Babylon 5. It is such a shame that series never caught on with a wider audience because it is better than Star Trek. “Lightyears ahead of anything else on television!” indeed.

Stargate: SG1 followed shortly after and quickly added itself to the list of “Shows I shall follow to the very bitter end”. And I did.

Now, you can’t claim to be a sci-fi fan without mentioning Star Wars somewhere, and for a good while, I was a happy little Star Wars fan in spite of being a Trekkie at the same time5. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I have read every single novel set in the Star Wars universe that was written before 2005, and that the only reason I stopped was because college tends to eat up all of one’s free reading time.

Which brings me to the written side of the sci-fi genre. There was a time when I practically lived in libraries. I had books stashed everywhere, even under my pillow, and every night, I and my finely-honed secret undetectable flashlighting skills6 would stay up into the wee hours of the morning reading. And read I did: Isaac Asimov, Orson Scott Card, Jules Verne, Aldous Huxley, Frank Herbert, Ursula K. Le Guin, Douglas Adams, K. A. Applegate7, Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard8, Octavia E. Butler, Glen Cook, Arthur C. Clarke, Kurt Vonnegut, Anne McCaffrey… the list goes on and on, and while not all of them were great or even good, most of them were enjoyable enough to keep me reading their works. And of them all, I would have to say that Asimov and Verne have remained the favorites, as far as science fiction goes.

Sadly, I don’t have the time to read as much or as widely as I would like, and as a result, I’ve only read one book that can be considered science fiction in the past three years.

It. Sucked.


This brings me, after much long-winded rambling in which I establish my credentials as a fan of sci-fi, to the subject stated in the title.

I’ve noticed a trend for a couple of years now, especially among aspiring science fiction writers. Rather than set out to tell a story, every piece of science fiction they write must be Meaningful, a scathing Commentary About the Foibles of Current Society, else so chock full of technobabble that any plot or characterization that existed has been buried beneath the long-winded and entirely out-of-place explanations of every little *DETAIL* of the technology being employed. Which would be fine if you had a bunch of scientists, engineers, or technicians that have fangasming over every aspect of technology they encounter as established aspects of their character, but when you’ve got ordinary, non-technically-inclined characters and the narration doing the technology infodumping, we have a problem for rarely, if ever, is all the techdump scientifically accurate or plausible.

Perhaps I like my hard science fiction to be as hard as fiction can get without being real, but still, if one is going to go to such lengths as to techdump in practically every paragraph, the least one could do is ensure that they at least have a decent grasp of the principles of physics and biology, at the least. Or not try so hard to turn a story into something that it is not, namely, a work of hard sci-fi when it would work better and be all the stronger for being that much softer.

You see, in all the rush to incorporate all the technobabble, Meaning, and/or Commentary, most science fiction works neglect or outright sabotage the other elements essential for a truly engaging story, such as plot, characterization, premise, and/or tone/atmosphere. Most of the science fiction works I’ve encountered recently have been of the premise variety with very little substance outside it.

“This would be AWESOME!” goes the writer as he proudly displays his frankenstein of a premise, slavishly draped in the trappings of what science fiction “should be”.

“It would be, if the AWESOME were actually explored instead of buried under so many layers of technobabble,” says I.

The AWESOME has been lost in translation, you see, the wonder drowned out by bad technique and sabotaged by a lack of substance.

Then there’s the message science fiction in which the creator has a Message and it is Important and Must Be Heard. Their work has Meaning, or it Comments upon something most Profound about our society and/or the human condition.

“Look at me!” says these writers. “I’m so creative and clever in using a story as a vehicle for my Message!”

“Write a pamphlet,” says I. “It would make for better reading.”

Science fiction, to me, has always been a genre of wonder. As such, I tend to judge works by how much wonder (noun) they instil in me, or how much they make me wonder (verb). And it’s been so long, too, too long, since I’ve felt wonder or spent hours wondering about a story after reading it. And so I’m left asking myself, “Where has all the wonder gone?”

Where has it gone?

From what I can see, in the push to make sci-fi a credible genre, especially in the literary realm, in the push to make it more serious and scientific, the wondrous and speculative aspects have been left by the wayside.

When was the last time you encountered a work of sci-fi that made you laugh or made you cry? A work with characters that were alive and whose moral conundrums wrenched your heart because they were genuine and not just some convenient plot device or vehicle for a Message? When was the last time you encountered a work with a truly revolutionary premise? A work that made you marvel at the workings of the universe? A work that made you think and challenged your long- and strongly-held preconceptions?

When was the last time a work of science fiction made you truly wonder?

Despite all the possibilities that science fiction could explore, despite all the amazing discoveries made in recent years within the sciences, very little is being done with science fiction. I’m sick and tired of seeing dystopias; those ceased being effective or interesting more than a decade ago. I’m sick and tired of seeing social commentaries; they’re more often than not a thinly-veiled rant by the creator about silly things, or issues that have been beaten to death already. And I’m sick and tired of seeing pointless technobabble about yet another space-faring civilization that’s space-faring just because.

It’s maddeningly saddening how narrow science fiction as a genre has become nowadays, and it’s the main reason why Asimov and Verne remain (and likely will forever so) my all-time favorite science fiction authors. It’s also why I enjoyed (and still do) shows like Star Trek: The Original Series, Babylon 5, Stargate: SG1, Warehouse 13, Eureka, and Doctor Who. The wonder within and/or the wondering inspired by these shows is what makes them worth watching, and that all the shows have characters and a decent, actual story to them makes them all the more enjoyable and memorable.

I can only hope that writers of and readers within the genre realize this before all the wonder is lost.

This article wound up far more personal that I’d intended. XD


1 With parental supervision.

2 Now SyFy.

3 Now Spike.

4 Still USA.

5 “It is possible for a person to belong to both fandoms!” says the living proof. Never mind that said living proof would have likely been (violently) disowned by both fandoms had said living proof ever come out of the closet.

6 They’re more impressive if you consider that my room was pitch black and I had no nightlight. And that my parents liked to occasionally rip my covers off me in the middle of the night to make sure I wasn’t reading.

7 Animorphs was one of the few complete fiction series in my school library.

8 I’ve got a soft spot for pulp fiction. I refuse to apologize.

9 Review pending.


  1. WulfRitter on 17 August 2011, 11:48 said:

    “Write a pamphlet,” says I. “It would make for better reading.”

    ^This. It is frustrating what science fiction has become and I agree that is why there will always be a place for writers like Verne. He knew how to write a story with plausible scientific elements (I mean, there’s a reason the first nuclear sub was called the Nautilus) and he made science interesting. Yeah, even to somebody as dense as me, he made science interesting and used it to let me see something wonderful.

    This was a great article, by the way. It’s good to see that there are others out there who are tired of the endless (and oftentimes ridiculous) “techdumps” and over-obvious messages.

  2. Fell Blade on 17 August 2011, 12:42 said:

    I felt this way after finishing the Hunger Games series. Collins always intended the series to show the horror of war. Along the way she made some really good, interesting characters and situations. But by the time you get to the end of the third book, the characters have all become slaves to that “Message”. The climax is forced, and the conclusion is hollow. I believe that Collins wrote a story around her message, rather than letting a message shine through her story.

  3. NeuroticPlatypus on 17 August 2011, 13:03 said:

    I was on it like a Ferengi on a pyramid scheme.


    This is a great article, although I do have a soft spot for dystopias. I really enjoyed reading this, Kyllorac.

  4. Snow White Queen on 17 August 2011, 13:48 said:

    I was never as much into sci-fi (although I consider sci-fi/fantasy to be two sides of the same coin) but it’s an interesting genre. It’s sad to see what’s happened to it. Hopefully the next generation of writers can pull it back up. (Fantasy could use a bit of picking up too.)

    Great article, Kyllorac.

  5. swenson on 17 August 2011, 13:48 said:

    I really don’t read that much sci-fi, but the last one that I can say, without any equivocation whatsoever, that fit your requirement of “making you wonder” was Orson Scott Card’s Ender books, and even then the later ones were not as good as the earlier ones.

    And regarding dystopias… I think that’s why I love Mass Effect so much. It’s the future, right, and we’ve got one world-spanning government and nigh-magical medical advances and ridiculous technology and aliens and all that and… it’s not a utopia. But it’s not a dystopia either. It’s just normal. People in Mass Effect are good and bad, and some are in-between. Humans, asari, turians, even batarians all are ambiguous, just like the real world is. That’s a refreshing change from every other sci-fi fictional world, where it seems things have to be black-and-white, either a dystopia or a utopia. Instead, ME is just… normal. And I like that.

  6. autumnfey on 17 August 2011, 15:30 said:

    “I felt this way after finishing the Hunger Games series. Collins always intended the series to show the horror of war. Along the way she made some really good, interesting characters and situations. But by the time you get to the end of the third book, the characters have all become slaves to that “Message”. The climax is forced, and the conclusion is hollow. I believe that Collins wrote a story around her message, rather than letting a message shine through her story.”

    This exactly. As I’m a reader who doesn’t like being preached to, it really rubbed me the wrong way. I enjoy stories that make me think about issues, of course, but when it’s painfully obvious that the author is shoving their viewpoint down your throat the story loses both its enjoyment factor and its integrity.

  7. Sum Mortis on 17 August 2011, 17:27 said:

    Did you see the TNT show Falling Skies this summer?

    It certainly wasn’t great, but it was at least entertaining, and there were some interesting ideas involved. The main problem with it is the low budget, which means that a lot of scenes that should be seen get told to the viewer by someone. Since it has already been renewed for season 2, maybe they will get more budget and better writers for it.

    I hope I dont get stoned for this, but I have always hated Star Trek: The Original Series. The acting seemed so awful, and I never really got interested in any of the episodes.

    I was actually thinking or writing a review/recap for Falling Skies, since all of the reviews I was reading online were either really nitpicky and snarky, or head over heels in love.

  8. VikingBoyBilly on 17 August 2011, 19:19 said:

    I hope I dont get stoned for this, but I have always hated Star Trek: The Original Series. The acting seemed so awful, and I never really got interested in any of the episodes.

    I love the original series more than all of them because of the bad acting, the hokey props, the goofy sound-effects, and the school-play designed stages. I feel that all the other star treks after it never felt the same because they had a higher budget and tried to make everything more realistic.

  9. SlyShy on 17 August 2011, 21:05 said:

    I noticed you didn’t mention Battlestar Galactica. Have you seen it, and if so, what did you think? Also, just based on your reading list I’ve declared you a NERD. >:P

  10. Sum Mortis on 17 August 2011, 21:06 said:


    So you like bad acting? I can understand that it might be funny in a stupid comedy or something, but the Original Star Trek is worshipped by many people, and I really just dont understand why.

    I do understand where you are coming from with the idea that not everything has to be realistic, but still.

  11. Taku on 18 August 2011, 02:59 said:

    I really liked this article. You can say exactly the same thing about fantasy novels, too. The wonder and otherworldliness has largely been replaced by self-referential tropes and in-jokes.

    From one sci-fier to another:

    When was the last time you encountered a work of sci-fi that made you laugh or made you cry? A work with characters that were alive and whose moral conundrums wrenched your heart because they were genuine and not just some convenient plot device or vehicle for a Message? When was the last time you encountered a work with a truly revolutionary premise? A work that made you marvel at the workings of the universe? A work that made you think and challenged your long- and strongly-held preconceptions?

    When was the last time a work of science fiction made you truly wonder?

    Victor Kelleher. Look him up, especially his Earthsong/Parkland/Firedancer trilogy. You will ‘fangasm’ as you call it. Old-school sci-fi with a message AND engaging characters and world, AND that makes you wonder and question and explore new possibilities.

  12. Kyllorac on 18 August 2011, 10:32 said:


    I own Ender’s Game. First time I read it, I couldn’t put it down and had to go out and by a copy. After a few years distance, it’s still good, but the ending disappoints on some level I’ve never been able to pinpoint.


    You declare me a nerd already? But we haven’t even touched upon my gaming and technical credentials! :o

    I liked the old BSG, but the new one… urgh. Let’s just say that SGU elicits the same reaction for similar reasons.


    I’m curious how old you are.

    In any case, you have to keep in mind the context. Back when TOS first aired, it was the only show to have a multiracial and mixed sex cast wherein all the members were treated as equals in ability, if not in costume. The costumes too were revolutionary for their time, with how they often accentuated and displayed parts of the body that had been long considered taboo or uninteresting. Not to mention all the technology and methodology that we take for granted today that was first depicted in that series. Such as non-invasive medical examinations.

    Considering how small the budget for the series was, it’s really amazing how much of an impact TOS has had on our culture. Though I admit, a lot of my fondness for TOS comes from nostalgia. TNG is the best series overall, in my opinion.


    Read. Didn’t fangasm. May have had to do with how young I was at the time. May have to look into a rereading.

    @Everyone who made or would like to make recommendations

    If it is a novel written before 2005, odds are I’ve already read it. Feel free to continue to recommend away, though. I mean, I would hate to miss something awesome I may have missed back when I had time to read.

    If it is a show currently or recently (past five years) on the air, I have seen at least two episodes. Try something older, like ten or more. ;P

  13. lookingforme on 18 August 2011, 14:19 said:

    Very interesting article! I agree with your points: I love many of the books you do, but like you, I haven’t read sci-fi in ages because, like most people, I like to read about people, not about gadgets. I tried to think about the last piece of sci-fi that really made me feel something, and all I could come up with was Doctor Who, which is a rather dubious response, as it’s a TV show and not a book.

  14. Sum Mortis on 18 August 2011, 16:48 said:


    I am only 16, so I dont have the same view point that you do on the show’s revolutionary qualities.

    I really dont have that many other suggestions Sci-Fi wise, at least on TV shows. There are almost none on now, and very few in the last decade that have gone anywhere.

    For books, I enjoy some of L.E Modesitt’s Saga of Recluse cycle. They do get very derivative, and are not true Sci-Fi, but they are worth a look.

    After reading the Foundation Series, I havent really been able to find any Sci-Fi books that got me hooked, and so have turned back to reading books on Classical and Medieval history.

  15. TheArmada on 19 August 2011, 18:50 said:

    Last time I read a good scifi book was in ’09. EVE: The Empyrean age, check it out. Its like Game of Thrones, but in space. And its a good thing you stopped reading star wars after ’05, you wouldn’t believe how bad the EU has gotten. I agree with what you’re saying, but there have always been scifi books like that. Sooner or later something new and fresh is going to come along, don’t worry.

  16. Clivanarius on 19 August 2011, 22:33 said:

    Excellent article, that sums up everything I think about sci-fi.

    And in answer to your question, I have yet to read or watch any sci-fi that instilled a sense of wonder, had interesting and believable characters since I finished Robert Buettner’s Orphan.

  17. adf on 21 August 2011, 10:56 said:

    I’m a huge sci-fi fan. I love Mass Effect because the characters are believable. There’s the extremists and then there are the people in between, just like society today. I just discovered Stargate SG-1 (like two weeks ago), and as someone who’s grown up on tv today (I’m fifteen) I have to say it’s better than almost everything on today. I completely agree with what you have to say. That show makes me wonder about the universe, the future, and my own morals. I love to watch it, and I can’t wait to watch it every Sunday when it comes on. The best two hours of my week. I think that the reasons you listed are why sci-fi isn’t taken as seriously as other genres.

  18. Jack Mynock on 24 August 2011, 19:20 said:

    Let me introduce myself by saying that I detest good ole days sentimentality.

    The argument here is an old one. Hard science fiction has always existed, so naturally there has always been those critical of it. The same goes for soft science fiction. The divide is as old as the genre, so I don’t see how it is something that just suddenly started destroying science fiction in the last few years.

    Likewise, science fiction has a long tradition of examining the so-called foibles of society. You couldn’t throw a rock in the fifties without hitting a scifi novel about nuclear holocaust (or that just randomly ends with one), and if you did you probably hit a story about rugged individualists repelling the invasion of aliens characterized by a socialist hive-mind.

    I can’t help but wonder: if you haven’t read but a single, supposedly bad, science fiction novel in three years, how are you qualified to diagnose the health of the genre?

  19. Kyllorac on 25 August 2011, 01:39 said:

    I may not have had time to read longer works, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had time to read shorter works.

    I don’t know where in the article you got the impression that the divide between hard and soft is what is “destroying” science fiction; that was not intentional, and I happen to enjoy works on both ends of the spectrum in their own rights. The issue I was aiming to expose was how, despite science fiction’s inherently speculative nature and roots, very little speculation is actually being done.

    You mention the 50s. How many of those novels that examined society’s foibles actually explored those foibles fully, in directions that had not yet been explored? How many of them thoroughly played out the ramifications of proposed changes in realistic (rather than wholly idealized) manners? And how many of them did it well so that, decades later, those novels can still be appreciated not only for their cultural context, but also for their content?

    Very few. And while you could argue that the majority of anything will never meet those exacting standards, it has been far too long since I last encountered any piece of science fiction that has. Perhaps I’ve been looking in the wrong venues. Perhaps it’s just been bad luck of the draw. Fact remains that the science fiction I have read these past few years has been derivative, rarely deviating at all from the conventions of their subgenres, and constantly retreading themes, premises, and messages in the same, safe, familiar ways as hundreds of other authors before them, else relying upon cheap gimmicks.

    I don’t want same, safe, and familiar, and I definitely don’t want gimmicky.

    Pointing out foibles is fine and all, but it gets old quickly when numerous authors point out the same foibles in the same ways without adding anything new to the discussion. Pointing out foibles isn’t speculative; that’s simply pointing out what currently is. It’s speculating what can be done to remedy those foibles, or speculating what the consequences are of not remedying those foibles, that distinguishes speculative fiction from satire.

    Essentially, satire has a long tradition of exposing and examining the foibles of society as they are. Science fiction (in particular) has a long tradition of speculating on possible solutions for, and the consequences of, those foibles.

    As I mentioned at the end of the article, it ended up being far more personal than I originally intended; however, all I’m really asking for is for science fiction to return to its speculative roots, for readers and writers alike to take a good look at the genre to find the wonder (in both senses of the word) that has become subdued, almost suffocated, as of late, judging from what I’ve been reading. I’m asking for readers and writers to shed their preconceptions of what science fiction “is” and “should be” to see once more what science fiction “could be”.

    I really don’t think that’s too much to ask.

  20. Jack Mynock on 25 August 2011, 09:51 said:

    Honestly, I think what you just wrote expressed your thoughts on the genre more effectively (or at least more clearly) than the article did. To me the article read like a rant about what science fiction ‘should be.’ My point about the 50’s wasn’t that it was all great fiction. Quite the opposite, I was pointing out that it too was derivative. I feel that in casting the problems you percieve in the genre in the shadow of what’s come before, you create a contrast which, to my eyes, doesn’t exist.

  21. Inkblot on 27 August 2011, 15:58 said:

    Wow, this article hits quite a few nail heads with one hammer. Good job.


    I live by the immortal words of C.S. Lewis to Tolkien: “If they won’t write the kinds of books we want to read, we shall have to write them ourselves”.

  22. Alyssa on 5 September 2011, 08:34 said:

    I just hope that I won’t be guilty of technodump and such. I

  23. Alyssa on 5 September 2011, 08:34 said:

    I just hope that I won’t be guilty of technodump and such. I

  24. Fenix on 7 September 2011, 07:27 said:

    If you’re looking recent good sci-fi, you might want check out the following site.

    It’s a poll held among sci-fi and fantasy readers asking them what they though were the best books from the past decade+1 (2000-2010), there is a lot of fantasy in the list too, so you’ll have to look around a bit, but there have to be some good titles in there.

    personally I’m planning on reading “Old Man’s War” by John Scalzi soon, I heard he was a good writer.

  25. Deborah on 10 September 2011, 14:15 said:

    Have you ever read C.S. Lewis Space Trilogy? Its awesome. The first one, ‘Out of the Silent Planet’, is a travel-to-Mars story, and its really cool. The next one ‘Perelandra’ is basically Genesis on the planet Venus, and has some totally awesome description. The last one, ‘That Hideous Strength’, though it takes a while to get going, is a futuristic story with evil scientists, demons, angels, and Merlin (yes, THAT Merlin), and is pretty much Crazy Awesome in the last few chapters.

  26. Fell Blade on 10 September 2011, 16:17 said:

    I’ve read the first two, haven’t gotten to the third. But the first two were really good.

  27. falconempress on 11 September 2011, 03:04 said:

    While I am not that big a fan of science fiction, I see a lot of the issues you have mentioned in your article surfacing in fantasy these days. And I absolutely sympathize, empathize and agree. It seems like everything needs to be dark and murky and gritty nowadays, with endings that leave one sick to the stomach. The question you pose is more than relevant – where has all the wonder gone?

  28. Alyssa on 17 September 2011, 09:16 said:

    If sci-fi is technodump nowadays, fantasy is probably more of a magicdump.

  29. Amanda on 25 September 2011, 21:10 said:

    Sadly I’m too young to have seen Star Trek or Babylon 5, but I have caught an episode here and there of Star Trek Enterprise and I watched Stagate SG-1 from the end to the begining, following it to Stargate Atlantis to Stargate Universe, and I absolutely adore Doctor Who! You’re right though about these issues, which I hadn’t noticed before. One good SciFi book is “Enchantress from the Stars” by Sylvia Louise Engdahl.That book brought a lot of “wonder” to me.

  30. Matty Lee on 24 November 2011, 00:56 said:

    I’ve generally just gotten to the point where I “block out” most messages. I do this not because I don’t like messages, but because most of the messages people come up with serve no meaningful purpose.

    Let’s take some examples that we all know and love.

    1) War is Hell: No s**t. Owen has been telling us this for almost a hundred years now. If Wilfred didn’t get that through your head, seeing American GIs ventilated by German machine guns at the beginning of Saving Private Ryan should have. Telling the audience that “War is Hell” is about as interesting as telling us that the “Sky is Blue”. Obviously war is horrible, and that experience does deserve to be transmuted to future generations, which is exactly why it’s a bad message. Facts of life don’t need to become “messages” because they aren’t worth centering a story around.

    2) Racism is Bad: This one is just lazy. We have a frrickin’ monument to MLK, we don’t need to be told that racism qua racism is bad. That doesn’t mean that SPECIFIC institutions, relationships, behaviors can’t be pointed out as racist, but to say that racism itself is bad is once again like saying that the sky is blue. Racism is a real phenomenon and as such has a right to exist in literature, but I don’t think it’s a good centerpiece because it communicates nothing new or useful to the audience.

    3) Fascism is Bad: Most writers aren’t exactly political history scholars, so they don’t even have the intellectual background to actually address fascism in a useful way, whether from a Marxist perspective or whatever school you wish to mad-lib in the blank. Mostly we are just treated to charismatic leaders, racism, and lots of violence. We know this is bad, it’s burned into our brains in school. Shut up about it and tell us something interesting. Maybe WE are the fascists, just provide evidence.

    4) Western Civilization sucks, but it’s Values are Awesome and the only meaningful way to measure goodness: We are treated to this contradiction often, that groups that symbolize Western Civilization are evil, but the very values of that group (“reason”, anti-slavery, women’s lib) are a 99% reliable measure of a character’s worthiness. Cognitive dissonance in this area is massive.

  31. Shadrach on 3 January 2012, 12:37 said:

    You should give Anathem by Neal Stephenson a try. The story drags at a few points, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the book for months after finishing it.

  32. Shoobydoo on 6 January 2012, 06:10 said:

    Good article. To be perfectly honest, I don’t tend to enjoy hard scifi as much as I enjoy older works that don’t even TRY to explain the tech. All that nonsense is just distracting and not why I picked up the story in the first place. Star Trek TOS is one of my favorite shows of all time; stuff just happens and the computers did things and nobody bothered to explain it and it worked because they never tried. I would love to write more science fiction, but I’m discouraged from it because of the popularity of hard scifi, since anything I wrote would be more about the story than the technology and I always feel like that wouldn’t look legitimate enough.

    I also like Star Wars and Star Trek at the same time. I manage this by being a horrible introvert and never being involved in fandoms. On the other hand, I also tell those who ask that my favorite X-Man is Jean-Luc Picard, so maybe I just set out to annoy people instead.

  33. Alyssa on 19 May 2013, 05:22 said:

    “Look at me!” says these writers. “I’m so creative and clever in using a story as a vehicle for my Message!”

    “Write a pamphlet,” says I. “It would make for better reading.”

    I agree with you. I would only accept commentaries IF it’s more of a satire. Also instead of using a story AND a character as a vehicle (more likely as a tool), they should just write an essay. It’s better to write a pamphlet or an essay rather than to use the story and the character as tools. Characters are usually the “voice” of the author don’t you think?

    Sometimes you can obviously tell that the writer is writing the story as a way to vent against their frustration with society.

  34. Jen Smith on 6 March 2014, 06:53 said:

    I would like to direct you to this site:

    Basically here’s the short of it:
    Sci-Fi Ghetto. The Sci-Fi Ghetto reflects a long-lasting stigma which has been applied towards the science fiction genre, which frequently leads creators and marketers to shun “Sci-Fi”, “Science Fiction” or “Fantasy” labels as much as possible, even on shows that have clear science fiction or fantastical elements. It also reflects the tendency for critics, academics and other creators to near-automatically dismiss or disdain works which cannot escape this label being applied, regardless of relative quality or merit. Conversely, if these critics, creators and academics do feel that the work possesses merit by their standards, expect them to strenuously insist that the work is not science fiction or fantasy (How could it be? It’s good), regardless of how many tortuous hoops they might have to jump through in order to do so.

    Although in my opinion, fantasy doesn’t have that same stigma anymore, largely due to Lord of the Rings and, grudgingly, Harry Potter and Twilight. (Although the latter is marketed as paranormal.)

  35. Kyllorac on 7 March 2014, 20:19 said:

    Hi, Jen. Thanks for commenting, though I’m not sure what it is you’re trying to say, or why you think that particular TV Tropes article is relevant. Care to clarify?

  36. Francois Tremblay on 7 March 2019, 08:19 said:

    I’m surprised. You like hard sci-fi, like the sense of wonder, and don’t like aesops, and yet you don’t like Iain Banks? Any particular reason? It seems to me he would fit right into your criteria.