Fantasy Books Essay

Fantasy Books Essay-18
I shall begin with that sub-species which I think radically bad, in order to get it out of our way.

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I presume that the authors of such stories are, so to speak, Displaced Persons—commercial authors who did not really want to write science fiction at all, but who availed themselves of its popularity by giving a veneer of science fiction to their normal kind of work. A leap into the future, a rapid assumption of all the changes which are feigned to have occurred, is a legitimate 'machine' if it enables the author to develop a story of real value which could not have been told (or not so economically) in any other way.

Thus John Collier in (1933) wants to write a story of heroic action among people themselves semi-barbarous but supported by the surviving tradition of a literate culture recently overthrown.

That is likely to make the problem of explaining the bulge seem simpler than it really is. The existence of the bulge cannot make the kind (or kinds) intrinsically better or worse; though of course bad specimens will occur most often within it.

I will now try to divide this species of narrative into its sub-species.

And if you do not know what sort of people they are, you will be ill-equipped to find out what conditions have made them so.

In this way, one may say of a kind not only (as Wordsworth says of the poet) that 'you must love it ere to you it will seem worthy of your love', but that you must at least have loved it once if you are even to warn others against it.Even if it is a vice to read science fiction, those who cannot understand the very temptation to that vice will not be likely to tell us anything of value about it.Just as I, for instance, who have no taste for cards, could not find anything very useful to say by way of warning against deep play.Criticism of kinds, as distinct from criticism of works, cannot of course be avoided: I shall be driven to criticize one sub-species of science fiction myself.But it is, I think, the most subjective and least reliable type of criticism.He is therefore, on my view, fully justified in positing such a state of affairs in England after the destruction of our present civilization.That enables him (and us) to assume a familiar climate, flora, and fauna.Moreover, most of these articles were chiefly concerned to account for the bulge in the output and consumption of science fiction on sociological and psychological grounds. But here as elsewhere those who hate the thing they are trying to explain are not perhaps those most likely to explain it.If you have never enjoyed a thing and do not know what it feels like to enjoy it, you will hardly know what sort of people go to it, in what moods, seeking what sort of gratification.And of course to devise a definition for the purpose of excluding either in another, and then blame them for being excluded, is foolery.I am, then, condemning not all books which suppose a future widely different from the present, but those which do so without a good reason, which leap a.


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