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Thread: Philosophy and science fiction

  1. #1

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    Philosophy and science fiction

    I'm bored and thought I might see if anyone else shared any of my interests.

    I'm a Ph.D research student currently working on my dissertation which looks at the development of the contemporary antihero in speculative fiction, though I guess it is perhaps better to simply refer to science fiction, seeing as that's where my focus aims.

    Anyway, long story short, any one interested in science fiction studies, philosophy (postmodern) that can be applied to such studies or transhuman theory?

    If anyone would like to have a gas about this stuff, I'm normally up for it.

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    Um... interested, yeah, educated enough on terminology and up enough on new SciFi novels, no. Perhaps my absolute favorite in this respect is Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" series. Bearing in mind that this series was written in the 1950s you kind of have to whistle and issue an "oh boy" when you compare "Seldon Theories" to modern mathematical concepts like Chaos Theory, Complexity Theory, Game Theory and so forth, all of which can be used to predict human behavior. Not that it has much to do with the modern trend to focus on an anit-hero rather than your typical white-hat hero that's been the historical focus. My personal opinion on the matter is that it all boils down to an ever-growing, ever-expanding trend within American society (whose pop-culture affects [or infects] the rest of the world as well) toward the mentality that striving for perfection is pointless, as long as you've tried, you're good, no matter how you REALLY do. And, if you've not done well enough to be "passable", well, our entire society (micro- and macro-) will find ways in which to make you fell good about yourself, about how GREAT you actually are, despite being, by all appearances, something of an average person, or even the epitome of the word "loser". It's so pervasive that it's infected American business ethics, children's sports, education, everything. Why not infect literature as well?

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    Indeed. It seems to me that today, much of the world, though the case is perhaps more evident in America, due to its level of... media saturation, as Baudrillard might have put it, grooves, in spite of what said theorist might state, to one very specific drum-beat; capitalist ideology. You're right, though, at just how perceivable this is in terms of American business trends.

    So, why no modern science fiction; that is, did you simply stop following the genre for any specific reason, the most common, today, seeming to be due to a lack of time.

    In truth, I'm more in-touch with modern science fiction authors and seldom, specifically when reading for pleasure, stray further back than the Golden Age stuff (early 80s). Essentially, I find modern science fiction, with its balls-and-all approach, to better reflect the human condition, in contrast the much more... optimistic narratives of earlier decades. However, this is not to say there are not exceptions, as some very good dystopian bits and bobs pop up every so often.

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    Exactly that, lack of time... but also lack of interest in relation to value of time. Since my interest in bonsai, aquariua, CPs, etc. exceeds that of reading SciFi, time is weighted. With a family as well, home, etc., it's easy to see how things can fall by the wayside. I was never a super SciFi fan anyway barring a few authors, like Asimov, Herbert, Bradbury, and Verne. I'm more of a fantasy fan, you know, Tolkien, et. al., but there's not been much *good* in recent years.

    I'm not so sure I'd say Americans are trending toward pure Capitalist, more like trending AWAY. Social programs, health care, etc. are all trending away from capitalism.

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    Good modern fantasy seems like a fantasy in itself. The best thing I have read in years are as follows:

    Richard Morgan - The Steel Remains (the sequel to which, The Cold Commands, will be out later this year)

    Joe Abercrombie - The Blade Itself - Before they are Hanged - Last Argument of Kings

    That's about it. Then again, I do like grit in my fantasy.

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    Yeah, don't I know it. I haven't read those. For me, the last *decent* series is "The Wheel of Time", which, admittedly, is not great in any sense of the word. I stuck with it, despite not liking the author's writing AT ALL, simply for the pure story, until book 8 or 9.

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