Daily Archives: August 29, 2009

Campbell said all fiction is science fiction

I just read something of interest. John W. Campbell, the influential editor of Astounding and shaper of many of SF’s Golden Age authors, once wrote in one of his editorials:

That group of writings which is usually referred to as “mainstream literature” is actually a special subgroup of the field of science fiction — for science fiction deals with all places in the Universe, and all times in Eternity, so the literature of the here-and-now is, truly, a subset of science fiction.

(Quoted in Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century, Edward James, 1994.)

That’s a different way of looking at things. You have to admit there’s a certain kind of truth to it.

So to all the anti-SF literary snobs out there: you’re reading science fiction too! Deal with it. 😉

Flash reviews — August ’09

When I started this blog I set myself the task of reviewing every single book I read. And so far that’s what I’ve done. But it’s finally time to face the fact that that’s not always going to happen. For one thing, I have some demands on my time that I didn’t have way back then. For another, there are times when, for whatever reason, I just don’t feel like writing about a particular book. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad book; it simply means I can’t think of anything much to say about it. So when I get one (or more) like that, I’m going to simply pass them along with a rating and a brief comment. Here’s what I’ve got right now:

Title: Excession
Author: Iain M. Banks
Year: 1996
Rating: 3/5 stars
Another of Banks’ Culture novels, involving a mysterious object from another universe, a war with a nasty species called the Affront, and much intrigue between the various humans and Ship Minds. Interesting in parts, boring in parts, average overall.

Title: The Seven Sexes
Author: William Tenn
Year: 1968
Rating: 2/5 stars
Not as satisfying as the other Tenn collections I’ve read. Too many whimsical stories here and not enough serious ones. The best is “Sanctuary,” in which time travelers from the future come back to the present and establish diplomatic relations by setting up Temporal Embassies.