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Book Review – The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov

I pulled this dusty relic off my shelves a few days ago because I needed something I knew I would like, and it had been several years since I last read it.

The three novels in this collection were written before I was born. I bought my first copies as paperbacks about fifteen years later. I no longer have them. All my childhood paperbacks were abandoned along with my common sense and virginity when I left home to try to make it on my own. The copy on my bookshelves is a replacement — for the books, that is. Common sense returned slowly on its own and the other thing is lost forever and not something I really wanted to hold onto anyway.

The edition I currently have was printed about thirty years after the original copyright date. It has now been about sixty years since the stories were first published, and they are still in print and available in several editions. That’s staying power for a science fiction story. It has survived when others in this genre have not. The reason for this is simple. It’s a damn good story.

You’re probably familiar with it. It is the story of the Foundation. Some may say it’s about Hari Seldon, but it’s not. Seldon is the psycho-historian who foresees the collapse of the Galactic Empire, but the main character in these books is not a person. The main character is the organization that Seldon establishes to minimize the amount of time humanity will exist in a relative state of barbarism due to the decline and fall of the Empire. It is the Foundation that we care about when we read these books, and it is the Foundation that we hope will prevail.

There are spaceships and whiz-bang gadgets, but this is primarily a tale of human psychology and history, a story about human behavior, about humans being human in ways humans have always been human before. This means that, at the macro level, their behavior is theoretically predictable.

In the parlance of science fiction subgenres, this story would probably be considered ‘soft’ science fiction because the ‘hard’ sciences are not the focus of the ‘science’ part of the story except in how the ‘hard’ science of mathematics is applied to the ‘soft’ sciences of psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, and history. This is the basis of psycho-history and it is a true science in that it provides highly accurate predictions when its theorems and formulas are applied to large populations. Asimov capably conveys how immensely complex such a science would be, how susceptible it must be to anomalous factors, but he makes it believable.

This is also a ‘classic’ science fiction story in that it is positive, hopeful, and optimistic about humanity’s ability to overcome setbacks and to progress in the long run. In this respect, there is genuineness about it that is consistent with actual history. Wars happen, empires fall, dark ages come, but humanity has always gotten past these things and gone on. That’s what people do. They suffer bouts of collective temporary insanity, but they get over it. This story takes that long view and allows us to appreciate it.

The story has aged well. It remains interesting and compelling. There are places where its age shows, of course, but they do not detract from the story. There are references to microfilms and other tech that was probably futuristic when Asimov wrote this. And, like in the 1950s, everyone smokes, and there are ashtrays everywhere, although those in the books instantly vaporize any bits of trash tossed in them. In some ways, things like these add some ineffable quality to the setting that makes it more colorful. Or maybe I just think so because I remember microfilm and tapes and ashtrays.

I’m going to put this book back on my shelf now. I’ll probably dust it off in another ten years or so if it and I are still around, read it again and think, ‘that’s a damn good story.’

Book Review – Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi

My Rating: 5 Stars

This is essentially the same story as told in ‘The Last Colony’ but from a different point of view. So why would I give it five stars? Simply because it is done so well. It caught my interest, made me smile, jerked my emotions, and reintroduced me to people and places that I became well acquainted with in Scalzi’s other ‘An Old Man’s War’ books.

Technically, this should probably be considered a Young Adult novel because of the teenage protagonist. There is nothing wrong with this. Other authors (myself included) have written YA spinoffs set in the same world and with overlapping characters from their adult novels. This, however, is not a spinoff. This is the same story related in ‘The Last Colony’ but from the perspective of John’s and Jane’s adopted daughter, Zoe. She was a great minor character in previous books and an exceptional protagonist in this one, which is told in first person, giving us insights into how she deals with being an orphan, the adopted daughter of the colony leaders of the planet Roanoke, and something like a goddess to the alien species known as the Obin.

The aspect of the book that feels a bit unnatural is some of the dialogue between Zoe and her friends. They are almost too witty, and Zoe and her friend Gretchen have more self-confidence than seems likely for two teenage girls. Of course, they are not normal teenagers. After all, who wants to read about hormonally powered, angst driven, girls whose major concern is how to attract a boyfriend? … Oh, right. Those. Do yourself a favor and read this instead. Zoe has angst, she has hormones, she even has a boyfriend, but she also has intelligence, common sense, and wisdom beyond her years.

Scalzi has become one of my favorite authors, and I would love to see more stories set in this universe he has created. How does Roanoke fare? How does the Colonial Union deal with the Conclave? Do they join them? Do they oppose them? Is the C.U. overthrown? And what about Earth? It’s an interesting world and there are many more story possibilities here. If he does continue with this thread, though, it will leave him with less time for his other writing, which would be a shame. Perhaps he could be cloned…

Book Review – The Last Colony by John Scalzi

My Rating: 5 Stars

I almost did not pick up the first book in this series, Old Man’s War, because I am not a big fan of military science fiction. The blurb on the book cover intrigued me, though, and I found both this book and the sequel, Ghost Brigade, enjoyable with much better characters with more admirable traits than you normally find in this particular subgenre of science fiction. The Last Colony, in my opinion, provides a satisfying conclusion to the tale of John Perry, the former genetically altered soldier.

He is in semi-retirement with his wife (a former Special Forces soldier and clone of his dead first wife on Earth) and his adopted daughter (who is revered by an alien species), when he is called on to lead a new colony being established on a distant planet. It soon becomes clear that they have been lied to. The planet they arrive at is not the one they were told they would be colonizing. In fact, they are told they must remain hidden, which means the crew of the ship that brought them there cannot leave, the ship will be destroyed, and they are not to use of anything that can transmit an electronic signal.

To say much more about this would involve spoilers, but it soon becomes clear to Perry that their government is misleading them. What he does not know at first is that the survival of humanity depends on him figuring out what he has not been told, taking a stand against established authority, and countering some of their incredibly poor decisions regarding an alien led federation of species known as the Conclave.

A few things about this book distinguish it from others in this subgenre and make it deserving of a five-star rating. The first is the characters. There is a clear distinction between the main characters in this book. None are cookie-cutter ‘good guys’ or ‘bad guys.’ Each has understandable motivations. Some are admirable, and you care about what they do and what happens to them. Those that aren’t, are at least believable.

The second thing is the story. John and his wife (as the main characters) recognize that what they have been told doesn’t quite make sense. There are gaps, possibly distortions, and they attempt to figure out what those are (i.e. they are not stupid and credulous). Through their actions, they question, they discover, and they act, not with mindless violence, but with thought and well consider planning. This is not a simplistic ‘action’ story.

The third thing about this book that I especially liked is the mood. This is a work of positive science fiction in that it is hopeful. Humanity, despite some shortcomings, can progress and advance. Our biggest challenge is not some alien presence that wants to eat or enslave us but ourselves and how we view our place in the universe. Prejudice and jingoism are greater threats than the other species sharing the stars and John Perry realizes this.

The only negative aspect to the book that I saw was that it introduces a sentient species native to the planet John and the colonists have been sent to but little is said about them or the humans’ interaction with them other than a brief and unpleasant encounter.

If you are looking for comic book heroes and action adventure, this is book is not for you, but if you appreciate a thoughtful story with admirable characters, I recommend this with one caveat – read Old Man’s War and Ghost Brigade first.

Book Review – Firebird by Jack McDevitt

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

This is the sixth Alex Benedict Novel. I’ve read them all so obviously I find them entertaining. This one is no exception. Chase Kolpath again plays Watson to Alex Benedict’s Holmes. He’s not a detective though. He’s an antiquities dealer. His critics have less kind descriptions for him. He actually seems to be a seeker of facts with a distinct reluctance to leave unanswered questions. I like him.

When it comes to science fiction, I don’t think I’m hard to please. Present a hopeful and believable future world with likeable characters doing admirable things and chances are I’ll like the story. Unfortunately much of the recent trend, at least in traditionally published science fiction, has been to move to the dark side with apocalyptic tales often featuring vampires, zombies, demons, or angels. Such books seem to try to shock the reader with graphic accounts of violence or sex rather than entertain them or prompt them to think. Fortunately Jack McDevitt does not follow this trend. His stories are more reminiscent of the golden age of science fiction (e.g. Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein).

I won’t try to summarize the plot in this short review, partly because other reviewers have already done so, and partly to avoid spoilers. I’ll just tell you what I especially liked and disliked about the story.

I tend to like works of speculative fiction that explore “big” issues. This book does. The most obvious are: What is sentience? Can artificial intelligences be sentient? Do they have rights? Or to put it in more mystical religious terms, can machines have souls?

I like the characters. They are presented in such a way that they have a “real” feel to them with both strengths and shortcomings. A case in point is the central character. Alex’s critics often accuse him of being a profiteering grave robber and it is not an entirely inaccurate description. But he is also a man of high intelligence and integrity. When he feels something is right, he puts his effort, his money and his reputation on the line to support it.

I also like speculative fiction that steps back and looks at mankind from a “big picture” perspective. You get that with these books. The setting is about 9,000 years in our future and we see that humanity is exploring the galaxy and is thriving. Many of the things we find so meaningful or important today such as nations, politicians, wars, and fashions simply don’t matter anymore. Many have been totally forgotten. From this broad perspective, we can see that these are footnotes to human history, not the drivers of it.

I also like the positive image of mankind in general that it presents. There is one scene in which an AI points out humanity’s flaws, its penchant toward intolerance and violence. Chase silently acknowledges these facts but reminds us that, despite these things, humanity has progressed both technologically and culturally. In another scene when resources are needed to mount a risky rescue mission, Chase has little trouble finding volunteers willing to spend their time and even risk their lives to accomplish it. (Sorry for the lack of details but I want to avoid spoilers.)

So what didn’t I like? Not much really but there is one thing that seems anomalous about the setting. The human culture 9,000 years in the future almost feels old fashioned. There have been obvious technological advances. There are starships capable of superluminal flight. People have much longer life spans. But there is also a mildly sexist attitude exhibited in some of the character interactions. There are also things that are very much like television shows and celebrities that are more reminiscent of the 1950’s than even the social media and on demand content available today. The religious institutions of today are also shown to survive with seemingly little change. One would think that the distant future would be a little more different given how much such things have changed in the previous 9,000 years.

That’s pretty much it. I enjoyed the book. It kept me reading until very late at night. I recommend it with the qualification that you read the other five first.

Positive Science Fiction – A Better World

   In the first post in this series, I defined a work of positive fiction as one that conveys a hopeful, optimistic, or other positive mood. In the second post, I argued that the positive image of humanity that supports this mood in science fiction is a realistic one. In this, the final post of the series (or the last one I’ve planned anyway), I will discuss why I think positive science fiction is especially appealing and why I think there should be more of it.

I struggled with how to present this case because there are several points that need to be made. Let me start out with this one, which may be a bit controversial. Speculative fiction is fundamentally a more intellectual genre than others. That may be something of a value call though so let me rephrase it. Speculative fiction, especially science fiction, causes us to step outside our current world and look back at it. In this way it is the most philosophical and scientific of fiction genres because it can question pretty much anything. Every belief, every assumption, every aspect of culture is open to scrutiny. Like other genres, speculative fiction begins with our real world but it isn’t set there. It wouldn’t be speculative if it was. Something must be different and I don’t mean just ray guns or flying cars. The addition of some high tech hardware or alien life does not make a work of fiction speculative by itself. I try to avoid the pejorative use of the term ‘sci-fi’ (sometimes pronounced skiffy) because I don’t necessarily agree that the distinction between sci-fi and SF is as clear as some seem to believe. But a novel with flying cars isn’t true science fiction if all other aspects of the setting are essentially the same as those where the reader lives. It may be ‘sci-fi’ but not SF or speculative fiction.

Science fiction posits a truly different world that would feel strange to us if we were dropped into it. It can have flying cars or ray guns or even ghosts, gremlins, or two-headed crocodile gods but these must have some plausible explanation, at least plausible enough for an intelligent reader to suspend disbelief for the sake of the story. I hope this doesn’t sound elitist but some means of differentiation is needed.

Speculative fiction often begins by asking, “What if?” What if history unfolded differently? What if something happens tomorrow that challenges our current assumptions? What would we do? How would our world be changed? Many works of soft science fiction especially look at current human cultures and contrast them to what could be. They remind us that human society as it exists today is just one of an almost infinite number of conceivable possibilities, some of which may appear better and some worse.

This questioning of everything is the defining characteristic of speculative fiction and it is what sets it apart from other fiction genres. It is also what makes some people truly dislike it. This brings me to my next point.

People who read speculative fiction are especially bright. The intellectual challenge of being exposed to a different world where very little can be assumed excites them. They want to figure out what makes this fictional world different from their own and how it works. They are open minded and willing to entertain questions about their own beliefs and assumptions. They understand that they occupy a single point in space-time and that it is not a privileged position. Not everyone is comfortable with this. Some may not be capable of it. But speculative fiction readers thrive on such mind stretching questions.

In all speculative fiction something is different than it is in our world and science fiction stories show us how people are affected by those differences. In order to do this believingly, or entertainingly in the case of fiction that is humorous, satirical, or intentionally unbelievable (e.g. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), the author needs an understanding of humanity and how it might react to such differences, which brings us back to that underlying question about the fundamental nature of mankind. The one thing fictional stories must retain is a realistic image of humanity otherwise readers will not be able to identify or empathize with the characters.

The types of people who are drawn to speculative fiction are capable of asking big questions and they are capable of seeing the big picture. I believe that are also likely to understand that a species such as our own cannot go from flint knives to spaceships without having something going for it. Humanity has demonstrated that it can accomplish great things and readers of speculative fiction especially are likely to appreciate this either consciously or subconsciously. If a fictional story is based upon the mistaken premise that humanity as a whole is stupid, warlike, aggressive, cruel, and selfish then the story will seem contrived to them. They may have a hard time understanding exactly why but it will feel wrong.

For intelligent and insightful readers such as these, positive science fiction can provide a tonic to cure the misconceptions about humanity and its future that the news and mainstream fiction can convey. It can remind us that humanity has progressed and is likely to continue to progress, it can help us put current events into a more historical perspective so they can be seen more accurately, and it can reaffirm a sense of hope and optimism for our future.

Consider what is sometimes referred to as the Golden Age of science fiction in the middle of the last century. The stories that mark this period were often a celebration of human achievement and they inspired not only a sense of wonder about the universe but a hopeful image of continued human exploration and discovery. Stories such as these are the true roots of science fiction. They were a different type of story for a different type of reader and I think part of their appeal was because they were based on a truer understanding of what humanity was and what it is capable of.

It may be something of a cliché but fiction really does shape our future. This is especially true for science fiction. I attended the 100 Year Starship Symposium sponsored by DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which was held the first weekend of October 2011 here in Orlando. This was a gathering of scientists, engineers, and even science fiction writers and philosophers to discuss the future of human space exploration. A point that was made in several talks was how much science fiction had inspired people. One speaker said that an impromptu survey he took of his engineering students revealed that over 80% of them listed Scotty from Star Trek as their primary motivation for going into that discipline. The works of Asimov, Heinlein, and others from the golden age of science fiction were also credited as being major inspirations for scientists and engineers.

Think about that and consider what current mainstream science fiction might be inspiring young people to become if anything. As writers it is our job to entertain, not shape the future but intentionally or not this is something that fiction can do. And I think we should ask ourselves if we are helping to create a bright future or a dismal one.

I would like to see science fiction return to its golden age roots. Other fiction genres can take the dark side but true science fiction should not. I suppose a subgenre distinction could be make between “mainstream” science fiction, which follows the tone and mood of other genres to appeal to wider audiences and “true” or “positive” science fiction, which carries a more hopeful (and truer) tone and mood but I can find no indication that this distinction is being widely made. Perhaps it should be.

Related Posts:

Positive Science Fiction Part 1 – Emerging From The Dark
Positive Science Fiction Part 2 – Understanding Humanity

The 100 Year Starship Symposium (100YSS) – Resurgence of a Dream
On Digital Books And The Evolution Of Genre Fiction
Why Are Good Books So Hard To Find?
Beyond Genre – Tone And Mood
Beyond Genre – Novels And Emotional Needs

Positive Science Fiction – Understanding Humanity

  In my last post, I concluded with the suggestion that a realistic understanding of humanity would cast us in a positive light and that this may be one of the reasons that fiction that conveys a hopeful mood is appealing to many people. Consciously or subconsciously they may understand that this vision of humanity is closer to the truth than that implied in darker fiction in which negative human traits appear to be the norm.

In our age of instant communication and information overload, it is easy to see why people can get a negative impression of humanity. The news headlines are full of accounts of horrendous acts perpetrated by people upon other people but the important thing we must remember is that these news stories do not represent normal human behavior. That is why they are news. We hear a lot about crime, but here in the United States crime has actually been falling for at least 20 years. You would never know this based on what you see in the news. Conflicts that are resolved nonviolently outnumber those that result in war or bloodshed but they get far less attention. The events that fill the media are the exceptions and when much of our understanding about the world comes from this source, we can understandably conclude they are the norm when they are not.

Taken out of their historical context, headline stories about individual psychopaths, violent extremist groups, corrupt officials, greedy businessmen, economic disparity, hunger, disease, war, and natural disasters can shock and disturb people. And they should. That shock proves our humanity and supports the idea that people, in general, are decent. If they weren’t, such stories would be entertaining rather than disturbing.

Now the philosophers out there (pretentious buggers that they are) will object that I am taking a culturally biased position. I freely admit that. In our culture, well, mine anyway, things like peace, mutual respect, individual freedom, fairness, honesty, and the like are considered “positive” and laudable goals. Violence, intolerance, and subjugation are thought of as “negative.” But this post is about speculative fiction and how it is seen as either positive or negative by people who share my culture, which is that of people prone to reading speculative fiction.

As another bow to the pesky philosophers, let me just clarify that I am using the term “culture” in this instance to mean core fundamental beliefs and perceptions that are held by a group of people. Different groups of people have different cultures (or perhaps we should call them subcultures). In the modern world, culture is less geographically homogenous than it was in the past and any one person’s culture may be closer to someone who lives 10,000 miles (16,000km) away than it is with their physical next door neighbor. But when all humanity is grouped and all the separate cultural elements are combined, we can talk generally at least about a human culture.

But back to the point, if one’s subculture regardless of where they physically live leads them to truly believe that the world would be a better place if people who do not share their religion, nationality, gender, politics or taste in music should be suppressed or even killed, I feel compelled to say that I think human nature and the flow of history are against them but I won’t try to argue the point. Chances are we won’t like the same books anyway.

The indisputable fact is that mankind has progressed over time and continues to progress both technologically and culturally. Whether your view takes in the last 40,000 years or only the last 400 years the result is the same. It is not steady progress or universal by any means and there have been temporary declines but the trend has been toward peace, prosperity, mutual respect, and discovery. I think this is because people are fundamentally builders rather than destroyers and they are capable of rational thought and decision making if they are free to do so. The reason why this has happened is secondary though. It has happened.

Statistics suggest that this may be the most peaceable time in our species’ existence. People alive today have a much lower chance of being the victims of violence than at any time in history, or probably even prehistory. Individuals regardless of their social class, beliefs, gender, or ethnicity are almost universally regarded as having the same basic rights. Think of things not only common but considered normal not all that long ago such as slavery, genocide, the burning of heretics, gruesome executions, blood sports, debtors’ prisons, foot-binding, torture, mutilation, animal cruelty, wars of conquest, colonialism, and subjugation. Now think about how such things are considered today.

The rejection of acts such as these, which I think most of us would see as barbaric, did not happen all at once. From a historical perspective it has been fairly rapid though and each of these cultural advancements has been built on those that came before it. We didn’t go from genocide to racial and ethnic equality or from the Inquisition to religious freedom in one step but we did get there. Humanity seen on the large scale has progressed and continues to progress.

We have also made significant advances in our understanding of the universe and have used this knowledge to our benefit. I don’t think it is necessary to elaborate much on this point as it seems obvious. No one can seriously dispute that our achievements in science and technology have helped us to live longer, healthier, and more comfortable lives. Don’t undervalue things like indoor plumbing, electric lights, and microwave ovens. These may not sound significant but try living without them for a week.

People today are also more likely to survive childbirth and infancy, and recover from disease. Statistically, we are less likely to suffer from hunger, exposure, and even from natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes and hurricanes than our ancestors. These things still happen but we have learned to deal with them better.

What may not be as obvious is that there has been a significant cultural shift in the last few centuries that I think is likely to accelerate our rate of progress. We have learned how to learn, or maybe it is better to say that we have learned that we can learn. We no longer view the universe as a mystical and unknowable vastness that imposes its will on us. It is something we can study, understand and affect to better ourselves. This insight has led to us placing an increased value on widespread literacy, education, research, exploration and discovery. These types of things are valued now not just by an educated elite but by most people because their benefits are recognizable in our everyday lives. This paradigm shift is not yet complete but I think it is irreversible. We have learned that we don’t have to suffer whatever fate the universe has decreed for us. We can change it. We can make things better.

This doesn’t mean that progress is inevitable, just that it has happened and is still happening. This suggests to me that we as a species have an innate need to improve ourselves and that we are capable of doing so.

Can humanity digress? Can it return to increased violence and intolerance? Of course. This is not impossible. But the fact is that such things have decreased over the history of human civilization. If we are to extrapolate from this based on the logical assumption that the future will be like the past, we would have to conclude that we will continue to make slow and steady progress and will eventually be able to find ways to overcome most obstacles that are presented to us.

Much of current science fiction, if not fiction in general, seems to take the opposite stand, that continued progress is either unlikely or will lead to irresolvable problems. Despite the fact that history shows otherwise, these dark tales are often touted by critics as being more realistic. Clearly, they are not. Based on what mankind has accomplished and continues to accomplish, fiction that carries a positive mood and image of humanity is more realistic.

In my next post in this series, I will discuss why I think positive fiction is especially appealing to science fiction readers and why I think there should be more of it.

Related Posts:

Positive Science Fiction Part 1 – Emerging From The Dark
Positive Science Fiction Part 3 – A Better World
Why Are Good Books So Hard To Find?
Beyond Genre – Tone And Mood
Beyond Genre – Novels And Emotional Needs

Positive Science Fiction – Emerging from the Dark

   I was cruising the internet a few days ago for book recommendations and I stumbled across a discussion on Amazon between people looking for science fiction novels that have a positive outlook on the future. These can be a bit difficult to find, which was why I was looking myself.

There is no widely recognized “positive” subgenre for science fiction or fantasy. I checked, which means I ran the phrase through an internet search engine, which might not pass muster for a thesis but I figured it was sufficient research for a blog post. I found some mentions of “positive science fiction” but the term is not well defined although several people seem to think we need more of it. I would be one of them.

I had a pretty good idea of what I meant by the term. I know what I like to read and so after a bit of I thought I concluded that the essential distinction between a work of positive fiction and one of negative or dark fiction is the mood it conveys.

It certainly seems as if most of the new releases by both traditional and indie authors tend toward the dark side (no pun intended). They often take place in apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic settings in which war, environmental collapse, starvation, disease, overpopulation, or alien invasion play a key role. Sometimes they are dystopian in which economic exploitation, intolerance, oppressive ideologies, and other curses of our past are resurrected to plague humanity.

The one thing most of these have in common, I think, is a negative perception of mankind. They imply that our species is not intelligent or enlightened enough to successfully address problems before they lead to some kind of catastrophe and we are forced to deal with disastrous consequences as best we can afterwards. They start with an unspoken and, I think, mistaken premise that most people (including nonhuman aliens) are, by nature, stupid, warlike, aggressive, cruel, and selfish, and that it is only the rare individual who can rise above these tendencies. The protagonists in such stories are often such exceptional people and the plots show how they struggle and possibly even triumph over whatever it was they are confronted with. But even when the protagonist wins, even when the theme of the book is obviously to serve as a warning, the mood (the prevailing emotion the reader is left with after reading such a story) is negative because the protagonist is the rare exception. When the reader turns the last page and arrives back in the real world, they are left with a residual impression of humanity that is depressing, hopeless or discouraging.

The mood conveyed by a piece of positive fiction is almost exactly the opposite. A word I found often when researching “positive science fiction” was “hopeful” and that is certainly one of the moods a work of positive fiction can provide. Others might include, fanciful, happy, idealistic, intellectual, joyful, optimistic, or even thoughtful. Positive fiction seems to start with a different assumption about humanity, that people in general are fairly decent. It is the antagonist in these stories who is often the exception. The protagonists in such stories may have some exceptional abilities or resources at their disposal but in most ways they are representative of mankind in general. They are “good” people.

This positive premise is, I think, more accurate, which may be part of the reason it is appealing, at least to me. Why it does not dominate the speculative fiction market is a different question and one I can only speculate about.

I can hear the cynics already. People are decent? Come on! Don’t you read the news? Don’t you know what the real world is like?

Yes, of course. That is precisely my point but it will have to wait in order to keep this post at a reasonable length. Why I think this positive view of humanity is more accurate will be the subject of my next and significantly longer post.

Related Posts:
Positive Science Fiction Part 2 – Understanding Humanity
Positive Science Fiction Part 3 – A Better World
Beyond Genre – Tone And Mood

Beyond Genre – Novels And Emotional Needs
Why Are Good Books So Hard To Find?

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