Paul Cook doesn't want "girly" stuff in his science fiction

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In case my comment on Paul Cook's ridiculous post at Amazing Stories does not pass moderation, let me reproduce it here.


Mr. Cook, you tip your hand early on, with your risibly shallow reading of Wolfe, that the insights to follow will be, at best, ill-informed.  Romance and intrigue have no place in science fiction?  I suppose Heinlein never included a bit of romance or military dress in his work, nor Asimov any palace intrigue.

Science fiction as you paint it, its precious bodily fluids uncontaminated by any less virile genre, would be a dreary, boring place indeed.  To truly be a literature of humanity and human potential, SF must address human concerns, and the human experience encompasses far more than just racing through space and blasting BEMs.  Tor editor Moshe Feder once passed a useful analogy along to me, that of science fiction as the "universal recipient" of literature, able to take in and incorporate elements from any other genre of fiction.  If science fiction is to represent more than one tiny, narrow slice of human experience, it must be able to represent any aspect of the human experience.  It must, at the highest level, be able to do anything that can be done in any other genre, whether romance, mystery, or mainstream literary.

But that's all pretty much beside the point.  You try to cloak your opinion in fancy justifications, but your argument basically boils down to this: "I don't like girly stuff in my science fiction."  That's fine, if close-minded, as far as personal preferences go, but when you attempt to justify closing science fiction off (incorrectly) to elements that "only women would find attractive," you expose yourself as a sexist of the rankest stripe.  Science fiction is infinitely bigger and more inclusive that you would allow it to be, and that's a damn good thing.

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This page contains a single entry by William Shunn published on September 4, 2013 4:33 PM.

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