CBC comments on Canadian science fiction

CBC’s Arts & Entertainment site takes a look at recent Canadian science fiction by Robert Charles Wilson, Robert J. Sawyer and Karl Schroeder, and aside from calling it “sci-fi” throughout, almost manages to avoid being condescending–almost, but not quite.

This is the only paragraph I found rather annoying. After describing the situation of Wilson’s new book Spin, the article’s author, Petery Darbyshire, writes:

“In any ordinary sci-fi book, this would be the cue to jump to thriller mode, as scientists race to solve the mystery by inventing all sorts of high-tech gadgets and the military prepares for the inevitable war with the aliens behind the sneak attack.”

In other words, the books he’s describing are something special and out of the ordinary. Well, in one sense, yes–they’re all very good, and not all books are good. But in another sense, no; the kind of science fiction he seems to be railing against actually sounds more like a typical genre movie than the written form. What he seems to find extraordinary about these three Canadian writers’ SF is not, in fact, extraordinary, or at least not as extraordinary as he seems to find it. My sense is that he hasn’t read very widely in the field.

In any event, that one paragraph carries just a hint of Margaret Atwoods’ infamous “it-can’t-be-science-fiction-because-it-doesn’t-have-talking squids in outer space” put-down of the genre about it.

No doubt I’m being oversensitive, but that was my reaction.

Overall, though, the article is interesting.

Permanent link to this article: https://edwardwillett.com/2005/06/cbc-comments-on-canadian-science-fiction/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Easy AdSense Pro by Unreal