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16 October 2012
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?