…what if my hubby had left one of his throwing stars within my reach? Last I checked, I could get them to actually stick in the target at *least* half the time.

Booksquare’s “Quote of the Week” is taken from an article titled “Why don’t we love science fiction?“. I read some science fiction- more fantasy, of course, but I was still interested, so I checked out the article. Halfway through, I was stopped dead by the following quote.

“In a fantasy story,” Aldiss says, “there’s a big evil abroad, but, in the end, everything goes back to normal and everybody goes home to drink ale in the shires. In a science-fiction story, there may be a terrible evil abroad, and it may get sorted out, but the world is f***ed up for ever. This is realism. It’s certainly not beach reading, unless you can find a really nasty, shingly beach.”

The article calls Aldiss the “godfather of British SF”. I hope by the time I get that old (he’s 82) I will have learned to actually read the genres I talk about. Or the books I talk about. Am I making too big a leap to say that shires->hobbits->The Fellowship of the Rings? Correct me if I’m wrong, but in the end of that book, *nothing* goes back to normal.

I’ll be the first to admit that there are a lot of fantasy novels that have happy endings. I love HEAs! However, it seems like there are an equal share that don’t. Where the characters are forever changed, for better or for worse, and couldn’t go back to where they started and drink ale if they wanted to. Which they wouldn’t. Because of the aforementioned changes.

Fantasy aside, it’s pretty daring to make such a blanket statement about SF. I’ve read quite a few SF books that have happy endings. Maybe I’m sampling the wrong end of the spectrum? In SF, I would say that I read primarily female authors. Do you think the sex of the author can have an impact on the happiness of a novel’s ending? Or do you suppose that Aldiss wouldn’t classify the books I’ve read as science fiction?


Seriously! The British SF in particular tends to have a rather dour outlook on things, but Tolkien was British, and his books did exactly what Aldiss said! The movies gave more of a "back to normal" impression, which does not reflect well on Aldiss. Has he forgotten the original after watching the movie?

Besides, even HEAs don't always leave an unchanged world. I wouldn't be surprised to discover that more HEAs come from female authors, but that's strictly because I prefer them and I'm female. ;)

December 18, 2007 at 5:23 PM  

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