The title of this post is appropriated, as other have before me. I was introduced to it by Sunil Badami who was inspired by Murikami, who was paying homage to Raymond Carver. Thus is the begetting of ideas. It's a conceit to exploit so I can write about the genre and how it now seems to be blending in with my own life. When I'm talking about sci-fi doesn't always seem to match what other people are talking about when they use the term 'sci-fi'. One quickly gets used to the bias most people have against the genre of science fiction. It is the blessing and the curse of any genre; that those who don't partake see it from the outside as if it were just one thing. For those on the inside, the genre is full of different worlds, each succeeding, to differing degrees, in presenting their vision of the future. I prefer the term science fiction to speculative fiction. I understand the reasons for trying to broaden the genre, but it also seemed to come in as the quality of what was getting published declined. So I associate the term with the darker period of my life when I had given up on the genre (thanks be to Lem for bringing me back).
Hard-line science fiction fans would say that we have strayed from the key term 'science', but that seems to imply that only scientists and technicians would have the requisite knowledge to judge the verisimilitude of the work. To me, that's not the essence of science. Science isn't about what we know. It is about what we don't know. As such, science fiction, the kind I enjoy, is about exploring the limits of our knowledge. If science is about finding patterns in chaos, science fiction is at its best when it creates these patterns to generate a moment of elucidation. Just as science continually tests and challenges the validity of these patterns and our understanding grows and changes, so science fiction should continue to evolve, retelling and reimagining the future and impossible realities.
Science is humankind investigating the unknown. Science fiction is man staring into the void and seeing spaceships.
Of course, I haven't read everything in the genre but I have tapped out the main authors and now have to hunt for new works that give me that same fix. The more I search, the more I have to define for myself what it is I am looking for. Why do some books not excite my imagination? Why does so much of the genre bore me? What is good sci-fi?
At the same time I will be building lists in my re:scifi area [link] which group notable works into themes and patterns, as I find it easier to track the development of ideas just as science is developed.