Science Fiction is dead – again.
Actually I have some sympathy with parts of his argument – which does chime with what I said about this year’s BSFA Award short story nominees.
I also agree that when the SF tips over into Fantasy or wish fulfillment, the “six impossible things before breakfast” scenario, we might as well give up.
He may also have a point about a lot of modern short story – or novel length come to that – SF being retreads of well-worn themes. (But the writer in me says that if I nevertheless have something to say, a newish angle on a trope if you will, doesn’t that story deserve to be told? We can’t all be dazzlingly inventive all the time. And while of course SF ought to harbour, even showcase, the experimental the virtue of a story starting at the beginning and going right through to the end is often a relief as a reader.)
Where we really differ, though, is in Kincaid’s seeming request for optimism. I don’t know about Paul but I can’t see much to be optimistic about right now; nor for the foreseeable future.
I obviously can’t say often enough SF is never about the future. It’s about now. And the here and now is profoundly depressing.
I suppose a little hope would not go amiss but where is it to come from? The Arctic ice is melting at a rate of knots, extreme weather events are multiplying and we haven’t been back to the Moon for 40 years.
We might not deserve it perhaps but we may be getting the only SF that is presently possible.