January 22, 2008
The Ideas! The Ideas!
Clive Thompson remains the single journalist most perfectly calibrated to my interests, and his latest essay for Wired is no exception. It’s about science fiction:
If you want to read books that tackle profound philosophical questions, then the best — and perhaps only — place to turn these days is sci-fi. Science fiction is the last great literature of ideas.
From where I sit, traditional “literary fiction” has dropped the ball. I studied literature in college, and throughout my twenties I voraciously read contemporary fiction. Then, eight or nine years ago, I found myself getting — well — bored.
I had a friend in college who, upon hearing a science-fiction book recommendation that cited plot, characters, setting, etc., would reply: “Yes, yes, but what about the ideas? The ideas?”
(P.S. So yes, it’s probably me who is actually calibrated to Clive Thompson’s interests, given the nature of media. That’s fine, too.)