SF in New Statesman

Today sees an article about the current state of science fiction in the British political magazine, New Statesman. Written by John Gray, who is billed as the magazine’s lead book reviewer but is perhaps better known as an expert on political philosophy, the article attempts to contrast the science fiction of the 20th Century with that of today in terms of changes in its political outlook. Gray’s argument is not so much that SF has switched allegiance (it has always been home to both left-wing and right-wing thinkers), but that today’s writers no longer look forward to a better world, they simply comment on the problems of the existing one.

As arguments about SF go it is fairly simplistic, cherry-picking some key writers to make the point. But Gray’s interest is in political philosophy and if you only look at that aspect of SF then it is probably fair to say that the change he notes does indeed exist.

What I find much more encouraging is that here is a well-known British academic writing about science fiction in a mainstream magazine, and treating it very seriously. That’s yet more evidence that we are winning the culture war.

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3 Responses to SF in New Statesman

  1. Sam Jordison says:

    That’s really interesting – will look at that shortly.

    Good news too… You – we – are winning, for sure.

  2. JV Mallory says:

    Also see a response on one of the New Statesman blogs by Laurie Penny: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/laurie-penny/2010/06/science-fiction-gray-women

    • Cheryl says:

      She’s fabulous. It is great to have people like Laurie around who can get stuff like that done.

      Kudos to Farah and China for including the fabulous Maul in their list too.

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