Science Fiction: Rumours of its Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

About a month ago, eminent critic and former Arthur C. Clarke Award administrator, Paul Kincaid, wrote this review of various ‘Year’s Best SF’ collections in the Los Angeles Times. It’s fair to say he provoked a certain amount of conversation in response.

Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe, for example, discussed the review at length in their excellent (and highly recommended) The Coode Street Podcast, and then had Paul as a guest the next week. And just recently, two of the UK’s outstanding hard SF writers – Paul McAuley and Alastair Reynolds – have also offered their takes on the matter. Here’s Alastair Reynolds’ response to the question; and here’s Paul McAuley’s. Both posts are worth reading – as, indeed, are the authors’ novels.

It seems to me that this is a conversation SF has been having at least since the New Wave (probably longer) and, at the risk of appearing both naive and complacent, I’d say that our very ability to ask such questions of ourselves is perhaps indicative of a genre that is not so much exhausted as simply taking a breather before the next leg of the journey.

Science fiction. In rude health and admirably self-aware? Or a genre in crisis? What do you think?

Like what you read? Want to read more? Visit the SF Gateway Blog. This post was originally posted on the SF Gateway Blog and has kindly been reposted here.


I’m Gollancz’s Digital Publisher. People ask me what that means and, upon comparing answers, find that I’ve told everyone something different. That’s because it’s the future and it’s changing all the time; at least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. When I’m not digitising thousands of classics for our fabulous SF Gateway project, I like to bore people rigid about SF & Fantasy, comics, cricket, football and Belgian beer. This can only be prevented by bringing me drinks.