Thursday, 4 June 2015
Science Fictional Subject-Matters
Sf writers can write about:
technological advances on Earth;
Thus, HG Wells wrote:
"The Land Ironclads" (tanks);
"In The Abyss" (an undersea vehicle);
The War in The Air (world war with aircraft);
The World Set Free (nuclear weapons);
The Invisible Man (invisibility);
The Food Of The Gods (giants);
Men Like Gods (the discovery of parallel Earths);
The First Men In The Moon (interplanetary travel);
A Modern Utopia (interstellar travel);
The Time Machine (time travel).
In The Sky People, the subject-matter of interplanetary travel has passed from sf to contemporary adventure fiction. Two responses:
Frederik Pohl will concentrate on "Extrasolar stuff..." (p. 314);
L Sprague de Camp will stick to "'...historicals and time-travel from now on and leave the solar system alone...'" (p. 315).
De Camp is surely known for "...historicals and time-travel..."? His Lest Darkness Fall, a vast improvement on Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court, was one source of Anderson's Time Patrol.
In The Sky People, new arrivals on Venus bring equipment like a computer camera that is not yet marketed on Earth, thus reinforcing the hero Marc's impression that he is living inside an sf story - which he is. Metafiction.