Sunday, March 20, 2005

Mundane ideas continue to percolate

Posted by Trent Walters at 4:07 PM
Niall Harrison (and Martin Lewis at LJ's Shortform Forum) and Jeff Spock of Tangent Online suggest that the Interzone cover story, James Stoddard's "Winning Mars" may be Mundane.

"Mundane" as an adjective, spurred on by SF's ambitious linguistic inventions, may not have covered this new usage yet, but I did find an author who may have first used the term outside our cabal. On April 27, 2004, Matthew McIrvin writes (perhaps independently of the group's influence though our site went up in 2003--the author has confirmed that his use of the term matched ours):

The Hacker and the Ants is probably about the hardest and most mundane SF that Rucker ever wrote; the rest of his novels are written in a similarly breezy style, but are also more conceptually wild and loose, incorporating scientific ideas but generally completely unconcerned with how scientifically plausible they are being.

Kathryn Cramer and Gwyneth Jones express Mundane sentiments:

The real reason why sf writers "dare not tackle the near future, and have fled to exotic fantasy or military space opera" is so blindingly obvious I must be mad to go on trying, yes, the only explanation, this is really a padded cell.

Jones, however, later lopped off after "obvious" and continued:
Nah, I'm kidding myself. Thought experiments about the future have no place in science fiction, it was an aberration, normal service has been resumed. There are no Aldous Huxleys in the Gernsback Continuum.

Tongue in cheek, she have thought this to be the only obstacle in forwarding the genre in this direction. Here's another (more on this later).


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