Art and Culture # 3: The Rise of Science Fiction and its Mediocre Downfall

28 Jan

Today, everyone will say they love science fiction, but for a time. Science Fiction, a genre that I adore, doesn’t even have to be kept in one genre. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margarat Atwood, is not in the science fiction section of the book store. It’s in literature. Science Fiction has become so mainstream people forget the years writers spend in loneliness never able to make any money off there work. What is sad is that writing and art doesn’t always lead to success. Many fiction and sci-fi writers are not unknown to this fact. 

            Science Fiction, which Cyberpunk, was born out of, has many ideas linked to identity, the human condition, and technology that might be of harm or use to men. Men like Philip K. Dick had to eat dog food because he couldn’t afford real groceries. 

            It was like learning you didn’t matter at all. Even HP Lovecraft died unknown, but became popular later on in life. But hasn’t this already been talked about? 

            The history of a genre that has long outlived the masters of the Golden Age, has now found itself in the top category in movies, television, and in book stores. But many new readers forget the Asimovs, Heinlein, Bradbury, Herbert, Dick, Strugatsky bros, Miller, Gibson (A Gen-Xer), and even Ballard, as the last twenty years in science fiction publishing has failed to impress me.

            The Road by Cormac McCarthy is probably the peak of high and low art, blending apocalyptic scenes with a story between a father and son who must survive the aftermath, trying to be human. Never Let Me Go by Kazuro Ishiguro relies more on realistic settings with characters than using science fiction landscapes to tell the story of clones that are created for organ harvesting. Ishiguro is not my favorite writer, but it was a good try in a world where literary writers rarely meet the criteria. Also, an honorable mention is Children of Men by PD James. 

            It’s easy to forget the years of Philip K. Dick and his years in poverty, but most artists never make it in there lifetime. All you have to do is continue writing, painting, as long as you can. Maybe write short articles on your blog page, and consistently promote your material. Philip K Dick would have argued that the ability to be self-published would have caused him to write and not produce at break neck speed. But in the 1950’s and 60’s, the Internet and self-publishing were not imaginable, nor “respectable.” The free flow of access was controlled. 

            But in 1992, the Internet was released to the public. And it created such a panic. The Internet was a Science Fiction dream come true. People could connect with one another, and it was all the dreams come true. Even William Gibson’s “Neuromancer” is one of the principle founders of the term Net, as many hackers traveled to gain or steal information. What they never expected is to have a genre so overrun with copycats that the culture only knows the watered down versions of the Golden Age writers best works. The Internet helps everyone access everyone’s work, which doesn’t ultimately lead to being mediocre.

            What hurts is that in all Art and Culture, we are all destined to be forgotten. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. When art turns mediocre, the struggle artists make when such a threshold in a genre is crossed. Suddenly everyone wants to publish a sci-fi story when they wouldn’t pick it up before. What is sad is that once science fiction was embraced and loved, its niche quality dwindled away. The ones who came before felt like small pebbles to the avalanche of movies, games, books, that would come after, but here, the greats do shine on, but fame never came for the likes of Philip K. Dick while he was alive. But did he write everything before he died, and could fame have made him mediocre? 

            What turns men mediocre? When they realize they have nothing left to tell. Is it when the public doesn’t care anymore? If mediocre is a curse word, it would be said in Braille, because one who turns mediocre, doesn’t realize when they are mediocre. When they can’t find it in them to push there craft further.

            But Art must still persist, even if censorship looms over the land of the free and home of the brave. Self-publishing will help lead the future of art and become the movement of true art, and more science fiction will blossom. If we are able to read it, that is.

Note from Louis: Thanks so much for reading my articles and being such a constant reader. Also, I want to stress that to keep my content ad free, please subscribe, donate, like, (and share the article if you can’t donate, all help is appreciated)to have access to top tier content, and also grow my page to help keep corporations mad all day. I am still shadow banned, but steadily growing my page, thanks to your support.

-Louis Bruno is the author of more than 15 books, The Michael Project, Thy Kingdom Come, The Disintegrating Bloodline, Apocalypse Soldier, Hierarchy of Dwindling Sheep. His books can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Lulu. He can be found on Gab, https://gab.com/thereallouistbruno, Minds https://www.minds.com/lbruno8063/. His latest novel, Come Home, Young One, a fantasy novel, is available now on Lulu.com. https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/louis-bruno/come-home-young-one/hardcover/product-pw8q7z.html?page=1&pageSize=4.

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