Monday, November 24, 2008

More from LeGuin

There were some attention-grabbing quotes from Ursula LeGuin that were highlighted here in my last post. Our friends at provided these comments.

There is more commentary from LeGuin featured in today's i09 Books section as well. This time George R.R. Martin is also featured -- the comments are quotations taken from an NPR discussion.

The focal point of this article is tearing down the divide between genres. Both LeGuin and Martin make some insightful points. It's a worthy read for any speculative fiction enthusiast.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Some fresh looks at speculative fiction

Our friends at have published a noteworthy piece assembling thoughts on near future and distant fiction in Six Writers Speculate on Science Fiction's Future.

A thought-provoking piece, it got me thinking about my recent book, Darwin's Orphans, and my newest opus which chronologically occurs shortly after it. Regardless of the concerns and warnings I just read in the article, I'm sticking to my storyline.

The most compelling argument I read to continue down the near future path came from Ursula LeGuin: "Now that science and technology move ever faster, much science fiction is really fantasy in a space suit: wishful thinking about galactic empires and cybersex - often a bit reactionary. Things are livelier over on the social and political side, where human nature, which doesn't revise itself every few years, can be relied on to provide good solid novel stuff."

LeGuin has been in my personal pantheon since I read her Dangerous Visions contribution back in the 70's. Anyone who gets respect from a crotchety, old genius like Harlan Ellison has their proverbial act together. So, when I realized that my brand of social and political storytelling in near future fiction holds water by LeGuin, I decided to stay on track.

For the readers and writers of whatever form of SF (speculative or science fiction) you relate to, check out the io9 article. It'll get the wheels turning.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Reflecting on Crichton

Michael Crichton just passed away and he deserves mention here. He wrote some attention-grabbing speculative fiction like Jurassic Park, yes, but in this blog it was his controversial views that resulted in commentary.

To wit:

These are not glowing praises of Crichton by any stretch. His foray into global warming criticism got the kind of attention that I'm sure pleased the Bush administration and the oil industry. But there was a nasty side effect. Serious futurists would have been doing their own research...just like I did. Crichton's findings were typically found limited in scope with gaping holes regarding the breadth of his analytical factors. So, from a research perspective, I went from thinking Crichton was a genius to a kid doing bad science experiments.

Crichton may have missed the alarming trends of hydrates sublimating on the ocean floor and other indicators making our spike an anomaly. Humans are clearly influencing the rate at which the temperature is rising. That's always been the argument. No one denies natural trends in temperature increases but this one is clearly not natural. And Crichton contributed to the body of misinformation in his last years. It's a shame.

Closing on a lighter note, the man entertained. No doubt about it. And he had an inventive mind that was also capable of grasping scientific concepts and plugging them into wild tales. I appreciated his work and happily contributed to his fortune. He will be missed not for his scientific analysis but for his keen story telling.