Geoff Ryman on Mundane SF

Since they started a few years back, the Mundanes have been quietly providing the science fiction field with one of its few non-SFWA-related controversies. By challenging writers to imagine realistic futures stripped of many of the field’s standby tropes–most of them deemed scientifically unlikely by their manifesto–the Mundanes seem to have pissed off a lot more people than they’ve inspired.

I’ve always felt they’ve been on to something. Now they’ve posted a Guest of Honor speech by one of the movement’s chief progenitors, Geoff Ryman, which I think provides plenty of important food for thought about SF literature and how science fiction writers treats the future. In my opinion it provides a pretty cogent argument for more Mundane SF. I’m guessing others will see it as an affront. What say Futurismic readers?

3 thoughts on “Geoff Ryman on Mundane SF”

  1. I think Mundane fiction is fascinating and much of the work I love the most is in this region, both when I’m reading and when I’m writing. We need it, to imagine the challenging future ahead of us.

  2. Not to put too fine a point on it- but the science is wrong. He is claiming that SF is unscientific [and using Star Trek as an example: all the five people who honestly believed in ST realities quiver in their boots], but his own reasoning is rather questionable.

    For example [my favorite]:

    “Brain downloads: transferring something that has four switches (up and down in both directions) to a system works through binaries?”

    Wait, what? Does he mean genetic switches? Dimensions? First of all, he is wrong. Second of all, all of these can be simulated.

    I could dissect the entire speech for non-sequitors or outright ridiculousness, but I have no desire to be redundant.

    The man is welcome to write whatever he wants to, but his ideology leaves me unimpressed.

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