« dign 2 china brb | Main | Weekend »

Arguments about science fiction

| 1 Comment

Among my father's books, I just found a copy of a printed fanzine. It contains, among other things:

  • A complaint that the sf world has too many awards.
  • An article about trying to raise the profile of sf in literary circles, specifically in hopes of getting Best American Short Stories to publish some.
  • Various arguments about whether science fiction is or should or can be literary and/or intellectual. "While appreciating that many readers read only for escape, we want to know: Dare we be serious?" (--Brian Aldiss)
  • Complaints about the state of sf, particularly the low quality of most of what's published. "On the whole, modern American science fiction has melted down into a kind of corrosive sludge." (--Andrew Weiner)
  • A complaint from a famous fantasy author that a famous science fiction author had insulted fantasy in a previous issue.
  • A complaint from a fairly well-known author about the fact that authors and editors campaign for the Nebulas.
  • A complaint from a reader about "the amazing growth of functional illiteracy in our country [and] the utter failure of the educational system." (--Joseph A. Ezzo)

  • Discussion of the idea that book editors don't get enough recognition in the Best Pro Editor Hugo.

The fanzine? A 1982 issue of Charles Platt's The Patchin Review.

Verily, it is said: all the arguments we have about sf these days are rehashes of arguments people were having twenty-five years ago. And I suspect several of those arguments were already rehashes, in 1982, of arguments that people had had at least ten years earlier.

Sadly, Patchin Review doesn't seem to have yet made it into the electronic archives at eFanzines.com or fanac.org. But you can buy a copy of this issue from biblion.co.uk if you want to see what they were talking about back then. It also contains some stuff I didn't mention above, like excerpts from an interview with Philip K. Dick, and assorted convention gossip.

1 Comment

Damn our predecessors for not settling all these arguments!!