Thursday, November 25, 2004

Mundane SF discussed elsewhere by authors and critics

Posted by Trent Walters at 7:39 PM
Niall Harrison, of all the critics listed, seems to have the best insight into the Mundane:
"[I]t sounds partially tongue-in-cheek (in the manifesto they say that the undersigned are 'temporarily united'), partially like regular hard SF ('focusing on what science tells us is likely rather than what is almost impossible such as warp drives'), and partially like, well, the sort of stuff that Geoff Ryman writes, really. And although I'm not really ready to give up space opera just yet, the idea of 'earth is all we have' as the most likely forseeable future is hard to argue with."

He perceptively reviewed Geoff Ryman's novel, Air, here, saying:
"Air embraces the world that we know above a world that might be for almost its entire length. In this, it is perhaps a pin-up book for Mundane SF."

Jonathan Strahan writes:
"Seems pretty sensible to me, and it looks like it describes work by some of the more interesting writers in the field today. Still, do we need another movement?""

Martin Lewis gets a little vehement (but this is his most clever albeit misguided bit):
"[Y]ou've always got to treat those who wish to leap into a hair shirt with a bit of caution. Looking at the checklist of dos and don'ts however, mundane SF just seems like hard SF with an injection of hippy nonsense*. It looks like another attempt to gloss a form of artisitic conservatism with a false patina of rigour."

Gardner Dozois brings in a lot of SF history in his critique, Jack Skillingstead, Matt Jarpe, Lou Antonelli, and I responded (response No. 85). Skillingstead showed some remarkable discernment:
"Probably the Mundaners are taking the 1st dictionary definition as their starting point: "Of, relating to, or typical of this world; secular," rather than a notion of dullness. Not a bad idea in terms of a story telling net (if you try to play without a net the game gets sloppy; other nets: viewpoint/wordcount/beginnings-middles-etc.)"

My response in the Asimov's board should clarify a number of the misunderstandings.

1 Comments:

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