Relation between Sci-Fi and social critique : LUSENET : Literary Science Fiction : One Thread

I'm reading Stranger in a Strage Land. I have'nt read much sci-fi, but I would be interested in reading more if I understood the historical and political conditions out of which sci--fi was born. I am particularly curoious as to whether there is a trend of gov't mistrust in sci-fi, and if this is related to the political conditions of the sixties. If htere are essays and or books I should read, I'd be happy to no which.

-- Ann Maurine Matney (, January 03, 2000


Subject: Sci-fi and social critique. I am wondering whether there should be a comparison between sci-fi and social critique as such. The former deals with surrealist issues such as the world ruled by chimpanzees like in the Planete des Singes by Pierre Boule( The Apes Planet), or the life on another planet, or such threats as those posed by the Tylons in Babylon 5. Most of the time, those pieces do not address realist issues so much so that a person interested finding a practical solution to a practical problem cannot refer to them as a means of resolution. As for the latter - fiction other than sci-fi and dealing with social issues- however, though they are embedded in the realm of fiction, they derive from historical( political, economic, and social) contexts that are real, they are the daily experience of humans. The critique that a piece of literature or art formulates on social issues have the potentiality to exert some changes as willed by the authors of the pieces in question. The point here is that in terms of form there is some similarity between the two forms of fiction; that is to say, sci-fi and fictions other than the latter, the commonality is that the pieces are fiction. The former is fiction in its purest form and the latter is fiction as it builds on reality, experience and history. Contentwise, they are all exclusive. The former put the mind to sleep, it helps escape from reality and the problems it brings. In that sense though, it has a political values. And yet, it has no real bearing on life, reality and reality as other pieces of fiction would. That's why it is somewhat hard to build a comparative or relational basis for sci-fi and social critique. Sci-fi cannot be viewed as a means of social critique. It a means of evasion, escape from life and reality. To the best of my knowledge, that is not a critique.

-- Siendou Amadou KONATE (, October 17, 2002.

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