Discover magazine published this ridiculous article on SF which makes me wonder if anyone over there is paying attention to what they put out. The basic gist is that SF is dead because we can't predict the future anymore (as if that's the only purpose of SF), with the chief example being Michael Criton (Ger-wah???). The essay then proceeds to blunder into this incredible stupidness:
It was around that time, the mid-1990s, that fiction—all fiction—finally became obsolete as a delivery system for big ideas. Whatever the cause—dwindling attention spans, underfunded schools, something to do with the Internet—the fact is these days that if a Top Thinker wakes up one morning aghast at man’s inhumanity to man, he’s probably going to dash off a 300-word op-ed and e-mail it to The New York Times, or better still, just stick it up on his blog, typos and all, not cancel his appointments for the next seven years so he can bang out War and Peace in a shed.
Which is filled with so many strange suppositions that I don't really know where to start, first and foremost that communicating ideas are the only thing fiction is about. In other words, what seems clear from the this essay is that the author has no idea why people read fiction (or more generally why people tell stories), and it's amazing to me that he got paid to write about it.
Meanwhile here is some amazing illustrated SF from the 19th century.
Sure you like Fry and Laurie on TV, but have you read their novels?
Finally, the world's longest novel
Evaluating James Wood: he's not quite as good as everyone thinks
More on Wood (he's getting a lot of e-press these days in the blogosphere, isn't he?)
Speaking of e-press:
Print vs. Online: fighting over deckchairs - will online criticism replace print criticism?
Reading books in the digital age I haven't actually finished this, someone tell me how it ends...
War of the Worlds! Awesome graphic novel adaption online for free
Will social networking make reading more fun?