What are the ingredients for great science fiction?

September 22, 2010

What makes for truly great SF?  Consider 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, Ender’s Game, The Forever War, even the Foundation trilogy. Then it struck me that isn’t simply this dystopian, social commentary mold.  Great science fiction deals first and foremost with the human condition – who and what we are, how and why we live together – and what that implies for the world and our future.  In science fiction we’re looking at conditions at the edge of what we know, we’re asking what we might feel and do, what we may become, if we pushed things beyond the here and now. The worlds of science fiction have to be plausible or else there is nothing new to learn. Ask what we would become and the answer not only sheds light on who we are now, but on what we feel about the worlds we might create for ourselves.

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