From my Facebook page

I wrote a long-winded post on Facebook, and suddenly realised that I should share this to the blog.

Rocket for SCIENCE

Reading ‘The Martian’ to understand the contrast between modern Science Fiction to the old school ‘hard’ science in fiction of ‘A for Andromeda’. I suddenly realise that there is a good reason why my mother hates Science Fiction, since she would have first encountered the over-technical ‘gosh, gee, SCIENCE!’ of the Forties and Fifties before the revolution of the Sixties caused by writers more interested in how people react to science than just the science. So many bad stereotypes.

At least ‘A for Andromeda’ tries to break away from cliches of the era and gives the women characters equal billing as protagonists and antagonists.

Yes, this is a sweeping generalisation. I do know that there are some very beautiful Science Fiction books written before the 1960s, that have fully developed characters and made sensitive observations of how science and technology could change lives. But they were the outliers. If you read the pulps from the Forties, there were rife with testosterone poisoning, but then, WWII probably influenced the tone of the era. It was an era of heroes fighting against impossible odds.

‘The Martian’ is all about fighting impossible odds. But the heroism is low-key. It is the humanity of our protagonist that defines him. Genre writing has moved away from being restricted by its genre and is moving into the realm of mainstream literature.

Yet, I’m still happy to sit down and watch ‘Rogue One’, which is all about explosions and white hats against black hats.

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2 Comments

Filed under Opinion Piece, Personal experience, Pop Culture, Uncategorized

2 responses to “From my Facebook page

  1. I recently read ‘The Martian’. Apparently a first-time writer made big.
    After the first 4 or 5 chapters, however, I became bored and frustrated by all THE SCIENCE (in endless grinding detail*), and annoyed and frustrated by his pantheon of cardboard-cutout cliched characters. Yup, he was trying hard to fill it in according to today’s rules, but on my scorecard he failed.
    What carried it was the breathtakingly detailed real-word science and physics, and the scope of the tale. Considering it covered some three and a half years – that too was an achievement.
    The movie did a LOT of good work making up for Andy Weir’s shortcomings as a writer.

    *I came away convinced that Weir is autistic.

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