As an antidote to the previous doom-flavoured post, here’s recent Clarion alumni Damien G Walter suggesting that it’s time science fiction started taking a more hopeful and positive look at the future:
But there are no end of reasons to have hope for tomorrow. Biotechnology and genetic research offer fantastic advances in medicine, yet their portrayal in science fiction is typified by the gloom of Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. The internet is already democratising many new areas of society, but our political future is still most commonly depicted as one flavour of Big Brother dystopia or another. Environmental or economic collapse might plunge us all headlong into the apocalypic future of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, or we might respond to them with intelligence and ingenuity and take the opportunity to find better ways of living. To look at the infinite possibilities of the future and see only darkness is a failure of imagination.
Here, Walter echoes similar calls from Jason Stoddard and Jetse de Vries, and doubtless some others I’ve not noticed (or, just as likely, forgotten about); it definitely appears to be a theme with some of the young turks of science fiction writing. Are we witnessing the first stirrings of a new movement?
And what about the readers? OK, so the writers are bored of dystopic futures, but how many of us would like a little more optimism in our escapism?