Cliché

Cover Art from Danny Flynn for "Starship Troopers"

Cover Art from Danny Flynn for “Starship Troopers”

I have to tell someone. I am becoming weary of contemporary fiction outlets reviewing the works of dead science fiction authors. Every time I see another article like this, I’m reminded of the old men who frequented my coffee shop. They’d habitually sit around shooting the shit, sipping their cuppa, while comparing anything and everything of today to their bygone era.

It is statements like this that chap my hide.

“When examining military science fiction, all roads, at one point or another, lead to Starship Troopers, written by Robert A. Heinlein in 1959 and rooted in his service in the U.S. Navy.”

Good grief! All roads? Really?

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you that there is an abundance of military science fiction available today. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to stroll the SFF section of your local library or bookstore with your hand outstretched on the spines without touching a story that doesn’t at least make use of organized conflict as a primary theme. The idea that Heinlein influenced all of these latter-day authors is just ludicrous.

My problem isn’t with Heinlein or any of the Golden Age writers. Rather, I’m taking umbrage with our community’s insistence that we continue to pay these guys homage. They had their day and, point in fact, made a reasonable living from their words. Yes, their stories are memorable, and they may even influence some of us when we put pen to paper, but their contributions to the genre canon are, at best, dated.

At worst, is the idea that Science Fiction has become a historical study. Are we so frightened of the future that we’re eternally fixated on old stories, endlessly rehashing comfortable clichés?

Crux

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Many moons ago, my ever loving wife introduced me to a really interesting dude by the name of Ramez Naam. Or Mez if you will. She worked on a piece of non-fiction, futurist writing for him, but now he’s writing some very good science fiction you might want to check out.

If you have not read his novels yet, they are worth your time. I just finished his first, Nexus, and really enjoyed it. I’m reposting here because his publisher has a giveaway right now. All you need to do is head over to Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing and make a comment. Be a winner!

Silent “E”

Tess says as we walk down the side walk looking up at rows of signs hung over the pavement, “At least they could have spelled ‘a la carte’ correctly.”

I don’t see what she’s looking at, “What do you mean?”

She points, and says see “A la cart.”

“Perhaps its not just a silent ‘e’,” I reply, “Maybe its also invisible.”