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Well, as is often the case, nothing went wrong. Zeitgeist wavers, changes, is overcome by some thread or other that was in evidence all the time. Thoughts of science and the endless optimistic view of wonder filled technology, began to wane when sober and realistic “cold equations” concerning the price paid for our energy, our wavering theories, and the seeming march of progress showed a darker vision. A bleaker perception was always a part of SF. No one of you would call “The War of the Worlds” a joy-filled tale. Humanity is saved “…after all man’s devices had failed, by the humblest things that God, in his wisdom had put on this earth.” An adaption scared the hell out of a bunch of folks awaiting an invasion by Hitler, one evening deep in an economic depression on the Halloween evening of 1938. The growth of super science and super weapons in reality and imagination in the ensuing years, does not give resistance to bacteria much of a chance at our salvation. In our times that have come, SF and newspaper headlines point to those proposed Martian killers as the very real agents of our doom.

imageThe science fiction of the sixties turned literary and experimental with the decade. Turned political and social. Fiction of the so-called “soft sciences” were created along with stories emphasizng “hard” science fiction. Somehow, like C.P. Snow’s “The Two Cultures” the differences seemed irreconcilable. Culture clashed. “Let’s put science fiction back in the gutter where it belongs.” say rabid enthusiasts. “Science Fiction is an effort to understand our ineffable selves and universe in a manner as meaningful as the language of poetry.” say rabid enthusasts of another milieu.
Is SF a literature of adventure and wonder? Is SF a literature poetry and philosophy? Is SF a literature of optimism and technological progess? Is SF a literature of pessimism and apocalyptic insight? Is SF a literature of change?
The answer is in front of you. It doesn’t matter what your preference proscribes or prescribes. Whether or not you turn on steampunk or scream pulp. The answer is, “Yes.” SF is all of those tropes, movements, ideals, cosmologies. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of, or are important, in our philosophy.