The Canadian TV show “Big Ideas” on TV Ontario had homegrown SF author Robert J. Sawyer on to talk about the effect Hollywood, and specifically the blockbuster concept of Star Wars, has had on the genre of science fiction – specifically how the social commentary edge to it has been dulled on the silver screen, which has extended to writing as well.
Sawyer gives a history of science fiction and how certain works have stood up over time, while others have not. It’s quite interesting, at least for those of us who like to get meta about our reading genres. In many past societies, direct criticism of rulers or social norms were ill-received, often ending in prison sentences or worse, while analogies and euphemisms thrived under plausible deniability. But today, it’s not such a big deal. Does this spell the end for disguised social critique? Or do we still need to have our ideas challenged in surreptitious ways? What say Futurismic readers?
Give the podcast a listen, and as a bonus, listen to Steven Pinker swear on the same page.
[Edit: Fixed the link, thanks to commenter Nancy Jane Moore]