Science Fiction Repair Shop

My ongoing discussions on the ways science fiction (and fantasy) can be improved -- how "mainstream" literature and fiction can improve it; how SF&F can return the favor as well; and occasional forays into how individual works of SF&F could be improved.

Also in this category will be some writer's resources:

Recent posts in category Science Fiction Repair Shop


Science Fiction Repair Shop: Now Is All You Got

A reason why I haven't written any time travel stories: I don't think time exists. At least, not in the sense of something we can travel through.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020-10-25 12:00:00 No comments


A funny exchange from the other day. I mentioned to someone that I wasn't sure if I would ever write a time-travel story. I cited two reasons: 1) the played-out quality of the concept (you have to come up with something really interesting to do more than just restate "I'm My Own Grampaw!") -- and 2), more problematic for me personally, my philosophy about time. See, I don't think time actually exists -- at least not in the sense of it being some medium that can be traversed.

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Tags: Science Fiction Repair Shop science fiction time travel


Science Fiction Repair Shop: Suddenly, It's All Science Fiction

If I didn't feel before like I was living in a science fiction novel, this year sure clinched that feeling. But not for the reasons you might think.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020-09-23 22:00:00 No comments


This isn't likely to come as a massive surprise to anyone, but if I didn't feel before like I was living in a science fiction novel, this year sure clinched that feeling. Not merely because of the pandemic, but because of all the things the pandemic force-multiplied -- the corrosive effects of capital on public spaces; the way we've blithely swapped technology for human potential and come up immeasureably poorer as a result; the way we have all these toys and so few things that actually work. 2020 didn't so much throw us into a dystopian SF novel as it revealed we'd been living in one for quite some time, and only now could we no longer ignore it.

What really got me, though, was the exposure of the distance between the life we were supposed to be leading, and the life we are leading. And with that, I took a good hard look at that feeling: where was it written that things in 2020 were supposed to have been better than this? Who promised us that?

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Tags: Science Fiction Repair Shop futurism science fiction these troubled times


Science Fiction Repair Shop: A Dream That Lasts Longer Than The Night

"How come it is easier for us to imagine the end of the world than a modest change in our economic order?" Let me take a crack at this, including how it relates to SF.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020-08-24 12:00:00 No comments


Here's a line you may have heard floating around recently (I think it's from the movie The Pervert's Guide To Ideology): "How come it is easier for us to imagine the end of all life on earth – an asteroid hitting the planet – than a modest change in our economic order?" Let me take a crack at this, including how it relates to SF.

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Tags: Science Fiction Repair Shop philosophy science fiction sociology utopia


Science Fiction Repair Shop: Maybe We Can Dream Our Way Out Of It

When we can't think our way out of it, that is.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020-08-20 20:00:00 No comments


Not long ago I bumped into a little book called Structural Fabulation, by Robert Scholes (the Internet Library also has it), subtitled "An Essay On Fiction Of The Future". Scholes wrote it in 1975, when as Fred Pohl and Fred Pohl IV put it in a discussion of SF on film, it was a time when SF was not "out", but still not quite all the way "in". The book is an argument not merely for SF as literature, but for SF as a special kind of literature, one particularly suited to helping us live in our world now that it has been irreversibly transformed by both the scientific and postmodern worldviews. It's something that seems like such a truism now, we don't really talk about what it means anymore, but it seems like high time to dust off the idea and give it another close go-round.

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Tags: Science Fiction Repair Shop Ursula K. LeGuin creativity science fiction


Movies: Blade Runner 2049

A blueprint for how to do the impossible -- namely, follow up a classic: give it to another artist of vision and stand back.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020-08-19 12:00:00 No comments


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There was, to my mind, no earthly reason to make a sequel to Blade Runner, any more than there was a reason to make a sequel to 2001: a space odyssey. But they did in fact make 2010: The Year We Make Contact with Arthur C. Clarke, if not with Stanley Kubrick, and it was good although short of great.

And they did in fact make Blade Runner 2049, with screenwriter Hampton Fancher, if not original author Philip K. Dick, and with original director Ridley Scott as producer and Denis Villeneuve in the director's chair. What they delivered stands so comfortably next to the original, and yet with so much of its own to offer, that it suggests a blueprint for how to do such an impossible thing: just give it to another artist of vision, assuming you can find one, and stand back.

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Tags: Ana de Armas Blade Runner Dave Bautista David Dastmalchian Denis Villeneuve Harrison Ford Jared Leto Philip K. Dick Ridley Scott Robin Wright Ryan Gosling Science Fiction Repair Shop Sylvia Hoeks cyberpunk dystopia movies reviews science fiction


Science Fiction Repair Shop: Stories Of The New Weird Normal

How to seek out stories that intelligently confront the moral complexity of the 21st century.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020-07-30 21:00:00 No comments


Good essay, great closing lines:

Censorship and Genre Fiction—Let’s Broaden our Broader Reality - Uncanny Magazine

Narrative is not the power to choose outcomes, but it is often the power to tip the scales when someone is hovering between action and despair. You can find hundreds of images of protest signs with lines from Orwell, but a few years ago when Japan hosted a world peace summit, the organizers hung a very different sign in the main hall: “We Must Make a Future That Would Not Make Astro Boy Cry.” So many tools that galvanize resistance come from fantasy and science fiction. We who, with Tezuka and with Le Guin, explore imagined worlds, alternatives, and other ways of being must not narrow that larger reality, not when it has so much power to shape action, hope, or surrender. So let’s keep broadening our broader reality, so we can also broaden the possibilities of this one.

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Tags: Science Fiction Repair Shop morality science fiction storytelling


Science Fiction Repair Shop: The New Absurd Is The New Normal

And how we might be able to write about it.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020-06-13 21:00:00 No comments


From the afterword to The Late Mattia Pascal, which you really should read:

Life's absurdities don't have to seem believable, because they are real. As opposed to art's absurdities which, to seem real, have to be believable. Then, when they are believable, they are no longer absurd. An event in life may be absurd; a work of art, if it is a work of art, cannot be. It therefore follows that to criticize, in the name of life, a work of art for being absurd and unbelievable is sheer stupidity. In the name of art, yes. But not in the name of life.

-- Luigi Pirandello

Given how absurd things have become, maybe the term "literature of the absurd" is now best seen as a mistaken one. So much about our moment in time makes little sense until you look closely, and realize how the seeds of all that is happening were simply waiting for the right soil to land in.

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Tags: existentialism fantasy science fiction sociology these troubled times


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I'm an independent SF and fantasy author, technology journalist, and freelance contemplator for how SF can be more than just a way to blow stuff up.

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