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Excellent article by David Brin, a favorite author of mine, on elitism vs poulism in science fiction.

Salon Arts & Entertainment | “Star Wars” despots vs. “Star Trek” populists:

“Comics treat their superheroes with reverent awe, as demigods were depicted in the Iliad. But a true science fiction author who wrote about Superman would have earthling scientists ask the handsome Man of Steel for blood samples (even if it means scraping with a super fingernail) in order to study his puissant powers, and maybe bottle them for everyone.

As for the literary elite, postmodernists despise science fiction because of the word “science,” while their older colleagues — steeped in Aristotle’s “Poetics” — find anathema the underlying assumption behind most high-quality SF: the bold assertion that there are no “eternal human verities.” Things change, and change can be fascinating. Moreover, our children might outgrow us! They may become better, or learn from our mistakes and not repeat them. And if they don’t learn, that could be a riveting tragedy far exceeding Aristotle’s cramped and myopic definition. “On the Beach,” “Soylent Green” and “1984” plumbed frightening depths. “Brave New World,” “The Screwfly Solution” and “Fahrenheit 451” posed worrying questions. In contrast, “Oedipus Rex” is about as interesting as watching a hooked fish thrash futilely at the end of a line. You just want to put the poor doomed King of Thebes out of his misery — and find a way to punish his tormentors.”

(Via Salon.)

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