Taking a Vacation from Science Fiction – Classics of Science Fiction


Taking a Vacation from Science Fiction – Classics of Science Fiction

I’ve realized that I’ve been overindulging in science fiction, so I’ve decided to take a vacation from the genre. Science fiction has been a life-long addiction that I don’t think I can ever give up, but I do need to go into rehab for a while. I don’t know for how long.

I’ve read about fifteen hundred science fiction short stories in the last five years, and I feel like a kid who has snuck off with a whole bag of Oreos. To continue the comparison, science fiction is mostly dessert, and I need to fill up on some real food for a while.

I’m not sure how much I will be posting here in the coming months. I’ll probably still think about science fiction as a topic, and who knows, I might fall off the wagon from time to time.

I’ve been hoping to find a new kind of science fiction. Science fiction is geared to the young, and I’m getting old enough where I can’t pretend that I’m young anymore. I need to find science fiction aimed at people in their social security years. I’ve even thought about trying to write a science fiction novel that’s age appropriate for myself.

Looking back, I rediscovered science fiction in 2002 when I joined Audible.com. It became all too apparent I was reliving my youth by listening to all my favorite science fiction stories I read growing up. Then about five years ago I got into short science fiction and collecting old science fiction magazines and fanzines. Hell, I was then trying to relive my past.

In my youth, science fiction was about the future. Now in my old age, science fiction is about the past. But I’ve burnt out on nostalgia. Living in the 2020s, the future has become hyper-real. There’s too much going on. Reading old science fiction is like being an ostrich sticking its head in a hole in the ground. For years now I’ve been trying to find new science fiction that was relevant to now, but it’s just not there. Modern science fiction merely recycles old science fiction or recapitulates old science fiction. The genre really needs another New Wave.

I’ve thought about creating a taxonomy of science fiction themes and writing a history about how each theme has been rediscovered many times over the last two centuries. But I need some vacation time even before I consider that project.

I own over a thousand nonfiction and literary novels I haven’t read. That’s where I’m heading for my vacation. I’ll report on them at Auxiliary Memory blog.

Too much is happening in the real world right now. Strangely, life is more science fictional than science fiction. Between AI, a shakeup in cosmology, climate change, robots, space exploration, wars, fascism, sexual revolutions, and many possible apocalyptic scenarios, who needs to read science fiction anymore?

Things are about to get heavy in the next few decades. I’m guessing science fiction and fantasy are so damn popular right now because they are a great hideout from reality.

James Wallace Harris, 6/19/24

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