To encourage discourse at the online science fiction book club I moderate, I began thinking about what we talk about when we talk about science fiction. At the broadest level, we talk about storytelling and writing, which is part of all fiction. At the next level, we discuss how we felt about experiencing a book. Essentially, this level is about entertainment value and doesn’t directly deal with science fiction either. At the third level, we compare the science fictional elements in the story to science fiction we’ve read in the past. Most science fictional concepts are unoriginal, recursive, and depend on previous science fiction. At the final level, the level where we actually talk about science fiction, is where we examine the original science fictional speculation in a story. It’s rather hard to write original science fiction after H. G. Wells and Olaf Stapledon, even though I’m quite sure they cribbed their inspiration from others, too. If you read enough science fiction, you’ll discover most science fictional concepts have been around for a long time. Many go back at least a hundred years, some for hundreds of years, and few for thousands. If you compare science fiction, fantasy, and […]