Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Drive-By Posting

SF Signal is right: Mundane SF is essentially about shutting up, sitting down, and learning to like eating your vegetables, since vegetables are what adults eat, and it's only going to be vegetables for the rest of eternity.

Traditionally, SF has been about entertaining new ideas and exploring possibilities; Mundane SF is about denigrating ideas and closing off possibilities. Luckily, that will mean that it won't last for very long.


Anonymous said...

And a drive-by comment, since I don't have time right now to go read the original and I think if I wait until I do, I will forget that I want to do this:

I don't see it that way at all. I think mundane sf is like writing sonnets or something. What can you do with these limits?

I like some of both -- mundane and not -- (I know, you can make more categories than that, but I have no time and I ought to be out the door!) and I write some of both too: when I write mundane, I'm nto thinking "the future is crabbed and limited, no glory or wonder there." I'm thinking "there's a bit of wonder and intrigue in this story"

Anonymous said...

I was just posting about the MSF guys.

According to the lastest entry by goatchurch on the MSF blog:

"Gibson, below, mentions that he dropped the space travel and aliens in order to make his seminal book, Neuromancer."

As I recall Neuromancer, it has giant O'Neill-style space colonies, Rastafarian space navies and alien signals from Alpha Centauri.

Anonymous said...

Lucy, this:

Or you can hypothesize that the problem is due to the pernicious weeds that have grown up within the genre, such as faster than light travel, aliens, brain downloads, etc. which strangle all other development.

doesn't make this sound like they (or at least goatchurch) really think that there should room for other approaches.

Charlie Stross said...

Do I need to point out that HALTING STATE is fairly clearly Mundane? Clearly, yes: which is to say, it *is* possible to do Mundane SF and have fun.

(Although I'll concede Lucy's point about it being like writing sonnets: it's a discipline you can adopt for various reasons, should you so desire.)

Anonymous said...

It's possible for you to write MSF and have fun. I don't think "have fun" is the driving motivation for people like goatchurch.

Andrew Wheeler said...

Lucy: SF Signal was talking about this post from the Mundane SF blog, by someone named "goatchurch," which just quotes some physics speculation from Michiko Kaku and expresses extreme indignation that anyone could possibly believe such unMundane rubbish.

I'm surprised, following the SF Signal comment thread, to find that "goatchurch" is evidently Geoff Ryman; Ryman always struck me as an interesting and thoughtful writer, and "goatchurch"'s comments have all of the intellectual vigor of the diversity commissar of a minor Ontario university.

There's a strong strain of "...and anyone who thinks otherwise is an Enemy of the Revolution and should be purged" to the Mundanistas, which is what I object to. If they write good stories, more power to them. But if they're spending their time scoffing at actual physics for political reasons, they're worse than useless.

Anonymous said...

The blog entry that goatchurch links to about the shadowy menace of astrophysics is fairly eyebrow-raising as well.

Andrew Wheeler said...

James: Did you mean this one, from the Freesteel blog?

That's credited to someone named "Julian," who goatchurch claims to be the same person as (so maybe neither of them is Geoff Ryman? or both are?)

One quote:
"... the fact that astrophysicists are full of crap, what with their going on about reading the handwriting of god. Nothing that they’re doing goes anywhere close to the real mystery of life, which is: How do our brains think?"

Ah, yes, that famous bleat of crackpots everywhere: "Never mind {your field of study}! The only important question in science is this thing I care about!"

I bet they laughed at him at the University, too.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that's the one.


"goatchurch"'s comments have all of the intellectual vigor of the diversity commissar of a minor Ontario university.

Hrm. Do I protest or steal it as sigfile fodder?

Anonymous said...

If goatchurch does turn out to be Ryman, I will be saddened and dismayed.

Becky Sharp said...

I doubt that they are the same people. I may not be impressed at all with the interview with him in Locus, or even his writing style, but he doesn't look the same guy, and I don't think he's stupid enough to write under names like that and not get caught.

That being said, the fact that Ryman doesn't mind associatting with those type of people is still pretty saddening without him being one of them.

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