Glum in the Bookstore

Over at the Hellfire Club, Russell Blackford has been writing 15,000 words on American science fiction for a big zarkin’ literary encyclopedia. Part of his job seems to be the invention of history: he gets to write about “contemporary” science fiction, the writing on which judgments have not yet been made. And while talking about books is always fun, saying things which have never been said before about them is even better.

(Yo, transhumanists: is there any market which will pay me to discourse on how the practice of “tubing” fetuses in the Honorverse, and particularly in the novel At All Costs (2005), is the science-fictional antithesis of Brave New World (1932)? )

Anyway, having this freshly in mind put me into a bit of a melancholy mood last night, while I was wandering through the local Barnes-and-Borders-A-Million. (I’m visiting family in a town where there’s not much else to do.) From the looks of their science-fiction section, the surest way to get published is to write a Star Wars or Star Trek novel. To paraphrase Mr. Spock, that’s a situation which calls for a colorful metaphor. I mean, do we really want the New Jedi Order to be the public face of contemporary SF?