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[personal profile] jade_sabre
So, just to remind everybody, this got started because Beth and Quark were both like I JUST DON’T LIKE SCI-FI AND I DON’T KNOW WHY, and so I decided to start theorizing as to why, because part of me loves sci-fi, but I’m also with them—I haven’t encountered much (outside of the Star Wars books, and many of those are not as readable when you’re 24 as they were when you were 10) that I actually enjoy.

So, uh, what conclusions have I reached again?
1. There’s a difference between science fiction and space opera.

2. Science fiction focuses on ideas, technology, human nature in general, concepts, and systems and their consequences. Space opera focuses on character-and-plot-driven stories IN SPACE without being caught up in feasible technical details. Space opera can be divided into sub-genres. Most of what’s labeled science fiction these days is really sci-fi/space opera. There’s some overlap between the two, but there’s also a fundamental difference in focus between them.

3. Science fiction, with its focus on ideas and systems, makes for great short fiction but can be difficult to sustain in its pure form over the course of a longer work, at least in a way that readers like Beth and Quark would find engaging.

4. Space opera, while focused on characters and plots and things that readers like Beth and Quark usually find engaging, suffers from its own historical issues—a tendency towards massive series; the preponderance of spin-off/franchised series; the domination of a few authors in several different franchises; a lack of focus on writing, or a focus on STORY IN SPACE over writing that leads to mediocre writing/does not encourage great writing; being a male-dominated genre that not only suffers from engineer-writing but also from an over-focus on male-preferred subgenres.

So, hopefully maybe, this kind of explains what I see as reasons for why Beth and Quark struggle with science fiction.

Things I Have Not Covered: An exact history of science fiction/where Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs, among others, fit into this (or rather, okay, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is probably science fiction [it’s been years since I’ve read it], but where do John Carter or Flash Gordon fit in?). Any of the major writers of classic science fiction because again I’ve only read a few short stories by Asimov and Bradbury (which I am aware means that my definition of science fiction might be massively skewed). Also, as mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’m way far behind on reading, like, anything, so my knowledge of authors is a bit dated. Any sort of understanding about where the transition between science fiction and space opera really begins (what was happening before Star Wars came out—and obviously SW borrows from Flash Gordon and his friends so obviously this is still muddled; the evolution of the genres between the 70s and the 80s, since most of my reading comes from the 90s with the exception of a few Star Trek novels). From what I’ve seen I think many B-movies from the 1950s probably fit into science fiction, but that’s also probably a whole ‘nother post. And I didn't even touch YA sci-fi--I think everything I've encountered there has been dystopic post-apocalyptic blah blah nobody cares.

All right, this is now officially open for discussion. Where have I gone right? Where have I gone wrong? What am I missing? Suggestions for continued reading on my part? Authors who might fit into a category of MWT-esque writing within sci-fi and thus appeal to Beth and Quark? If I were to begin a self-guided reading tour of classic science fiction, where should I start? Who’re the big authors of the 1970s? 1980s? GUIDE ME.

Feel free to link to this too--I simply ask that, having admitted my ignorance up front, people not attack me for it. I WOULD LOVE TO LEARN.

In other news, life is going well, getting married in twelve days, need to find a way home between now and then, family drama has lessened if not gone away completely, did an Engaged Encounter weekend last weekend that was SO AWESOME and am now like 99% ready to be married (remaining 1% is BAAAAAAAAAAAW FAMILY, like Goose pulling a “noooooo older sister don’t get married and leaaaaaaave meeeeeeeeeee”). And I have officially probably spent way too long on this, so, time to hit post!

back to gender!

back to the other problems!

back to the definitions!

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