I’m such a dunce when it comes to Science Fiction. But lately I’ve found that reading the NY Times science pages–or books on String Theory or The Singularity–gives me so many more ideas for stories and comics. Why is this?
Then I came across a great Vonnegut essay about science fiction. He says the best way to get labelled a science fiction writer “is to notice technology”:
The feeling persists that no one can simultaneously be a respectable writer and understand how a refrigerator works, just as no gentleman wears a brown suit in the city. Colleges may be to blame. English majors are encouraged, I know, to hate chemistry and physics, and to be proud because they are not dull and creepy and humorless and war-oriented like the engineers across the quad.
He came into science fiction by accident, observing the small-town GE plant he worked in, full of machines. “I supposed that I was writing a novel about life,” he writes, “about things I could not avoid seeing and hearing in Schenectady, a very real town, awkwardly set in the gruesome now.”
[…] Today I read about a tribe in Columbia that walked out of the jungle after thousands of years, and declared it wanted to be part of civilization. They asked “whether the planes that fly overhead are moving on some sort of invisible road.” A thousand miles away, a boy is slowly turning into bone. Other people with his disease twist into living statues. He has a mother who protects him, but not all creatures are so lucky. To my imagination, this stuff is like gold. Magic. What is it about reading science that has this effect on me? That makes life seem so spectacular and mysterious? All other news pales in comparison: the remix page for MLITBOG is finally up, there’s a nice long post about the novel Kurt Vonnegut didn’t write, and George Saunders recalls leaving Ayn Rand for Sam Beckett. […]