SFcrowsnest

Editorial – July 2013: by GF Willmetts: ‘It’s only Science Fiction…’

Hello everyone

How often have you heard people say about some advanced technology, ‘It’s only Science Fiction…’, as if that will be something unlikely to happen in the near future?

Thinking about the statement, I can’t help feel that people who say such things are just being dismissive in terms of saying that it will never happen. As pointed out many times in these editorials, there’s a lot of things about our current reality which would have been dismissed as ‘only Science Fiction’ even a couple decades ago as if it was impossible and look at how wrong they were. We’re already accepting the likes of cyborgs and home computers as the most natural things in the world without any of the fears associated with their Science Fiction past. Whether that is because we don’t think we’ve extended them far enough into SF range is debatable. Certainly, no cyborg yet has reached the strength and speed of ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ or ‘The Bionic Woman’, although there has been massive advances in terms of developing their respective bionic eye and ear, but neither of them were seen as a threat. Artificial Intelligence hasn’t even reached kindergarten stage yet let alone a desire to rule mankind. Whether that will change when we get that advanced is debatable but I suspect suitable safeguards will be in place as reassure the skeptics. Even so, the spread of computer technology into everything in our lives has also illustrated how quickly we’ve accepted something that was once considered only scientific let alone Science Fiction territory.

Whatever, it’s not only Science Fiction any more but fact that it works. Science Fiction, even today, looks at what is being done and extends to the limit of where an advance will go, although many SF authors haven’t been speculative of where next in case its history next year. Although some SF authors are getting away from thinking we’ll never reach the stars within a single life-time, scientists are now speculating that something akin to a ‘Star Trek’ warp drive might one day be possible, so anything is up for grabs.

Although I’ve touched on this subject in the past, let’s look at this from a different perspective this month. Why do people make such a dismissive statement as saying, ‘It’s only Science Fiction…’? Is it a demonstration of their own lack of expectation or ignorance? Are they that pessimistic about things never happening that way and dazzled by the idea? Do they give Science Fiction too much credence that something will never get off the printed page, film or TV screen? There’s so much evidence against that now. If anything reality is going beyond what ever Science Fiction dreamt, at least within our current time frame as being possible or how quickly it changed the world. Look at how inaccurate SF was over computers being the best example. If anything, the only crime we’re guilty of is not speculating enough with the possibilities which is another reason perhaps SF should really stand for Speculative Fiction, which would make ‘It’s only Science Fiction…’ a redundant sentence.

Granted, it would be too much to expect everyone to be familiar with Science Fiction, at least not at the level most of you who are reading here. Even so, there’s enough on television and cinema for people to absorb, combined with the news, to realise what is possible now or in a couple years. Maybe? There is always the possibility with some people that they are just dismissive of anything associated with Science Fiction or parroting the phrase as a cultural expression. Are people’s expectations that poor? Is there any way we can change that? Optimistically, they might believe it’s not that far from becoming reality but then you would have to wonder are they are only smart enough to just key in that phrase?

Then again, I could be wrong about the line itself and that it’s been misinterpreted. After all, those three dots mean there’s another part to that sentence. The only one I could think of was ’It’s only Science Fiction but I like it.’ Just a general acceptance of Science Fiction as being a way of life these days even for the non-fans. Maybe originally they didn’t hear the end of the sentence or thought it ended with something else? But what? Maybe they just don’t like as well as get it. They might well be misparaphrasing. Maybe when they say ’It’s only Science Fiction…’, we should ask them to clarify and then explain why they’re probably wrong.

I suppose we should be grateful that they don’t say ‘It’s only Sci-Fi…’. Now that would really be a crap reply to answer.

Thank you, take care, good night and yes, we love Science Fiction but we aren’t dating it to when it’s possible to happen.

Geoff Willmetts

editor: SFCrowsnest.org.uk

December 2012, even though I hadn’t left an active link to my email address, it got solidly attacked and then blocked from everyone, including myself. By necessity, having a form of open contact to me comes as part of the editor’s job. I’m still seeking reviewers and new material so follow the paths through the website and go where no spam-bot dares. I’ve yet to see them write anything. Humans and aliens can apply, providing they live in the UK. Monsters need to prove they can read and write. We could do with some reviewers who like fantasy right now. Don’t be scared of the instructions, you’d be surprised how easy it is to learn. So, if you want to contact me, build these words into an email address: gfwillmetts at hotmail dot com  I won’t bite.

Don’t forget to check out the SFC Forum for where companies have their stands at this year’s conventions and for book signings.

A Zen thought: All books, whenever they are written, are new until they are read.

Another Zen thought: I tend to be from the school that it’s the path that measures success not the end.

There might be a snake at the end which takes you back to the beginning.

Fancy being a reviewer and live in the UK?

NB: Anyone interested in reviewing books for me, especially fantasy and military SF, as we have a surfeit of books, and lives in the UK should contact me through the website. I’m not putting it in as a link to avoid spam. Just copy and paste into your emails to contact me. I’m always recruiting and details are through a link on the top of the SFC main page and in the SFC Forum for this and articles and stories as well. Just because it’s sunny, doesn’t mean you’re going to read any less. We could do with some more fantasy readers right now.

If you’ve on a budget, a book for a review is a good bargain and I can teach the nervous how to do it by seeing what you do when you present a sample. It’s a good deal. We get books in a variety of formats these days so all things are possible to those with the knack for putting words into sentences.

 

PPS Don’t forget to join the SFCrowsnest Forum. Join up and express your thoughts in leaving typed words that make sentences. I’ve noticed many of you are joining up but the Forum isn’t supposed to be a passive site. Remember the editorial above. I’m not advocating a vow of silence. Well, unless you’re a monk but I doubt if that precludes typing. Are you going to be a lurker or a typer??!! Remember the editorial above, passivity is for sheep not a sentient species. The number of hits shown on the Forum aren’t daily, but for every ten minutes! Write something and others will respond if you have something to say. Equally, you could just be a guest and look around, especially as we release a lot of news that way, but the more the merrier when you have something to say.

I’m dying to see you people fill in the survey polls. They won’t bite y’know and are active when you sign in.

Speaking of the Forum, if you want up-to-date info of book signings, news and such, have a peak. You don’t have to sign up to have a look as to when these things are happening and I’ve yet to hear of a flash crowd turning up for such things but there’s always the first time. We’re not libel for that if you do such a thing, just to keep my boss happy.

 

Don’t forget, I’m always on the lookout for new reviewers as well as articles, interviews and stories and after some recent changes, let’s see if the full details about that appears below. If they don’t then look in the new Forum or on the link line at the top of the main page. For potential book reviewers in the UK, it’s a good way to keep up your reading habit and show you can write. There are detail links scattered over the website and on the forum. If you don’t think you’re up to scratch, you’ll discover why I’m the dutch uncle.

 

Another real Zen thought but this time for potential writers:If you can express an opinion independently of others and aren’t likely to bend to the masses then you might show potential as a writer.