Monday, December 1, 2014

More Troubles for Science Fiction

Within the past week or so, I have read that science fiction is struggling with political correctness. Evidently the controversy has been going on for awhile, but it seems to have come to a head earlier this year. I'm not up to date on these things. I don't fully understand the controversy. If you want to read more, you can do a simple search on the Internet. All I can say is that political correctness is fatal in art and that if science fiction crosses over into political correctness, that will surely be its end. Finally, we should remember that political correctness is a Leftist or Statist--in other words, totalitarian--practice. In one form or another, it made its way into science fiction as thought crime, from the novel 1984. You would think science fiction writers as well as anyone would understand its dangers.

1984 by George Orwell. Cover art by Alan Harmon.
Copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley


  1. I agree with you that sf is developing more taboos -- not a good thing for a genre that likes to pat itself on the back for its relevance.

    In your research, you've probably come across some of the latest controversies including one involving Barry Malzberg.

    He himself noted the trend toward increasing "political correctness" in "Thus Our Words Unspoken" in September 1992's Amazing Stories.

    1. Dear Marzaat,

      Thanks for the reference. I have read a little about the controversy involving Barry Malzberg. I have read about another controversy involving Elizabeth Moon. These two controversies seem to be about two entirely different things.

      I think that science fiction, comic books, and the fandom attached to each started out as a boys' game or a boys' fantasy. Some writers, artists, and fans have been reluctant to loosen their hold on that fantasy. That's been going on for a long time, and I'm not sure how much it has to do with political correctness.

      The controversy about Elizabeth Moon, on the other hand, does seem to be about political correctness and about censorship. I hope that she hasn't prostrated herself in apology.

      Anyway, like I wrote before, I think that political correctness is fatal to art or fatal in art. Put another way, political correctness in art is simply a kind of propaganda and serves political rather than aesthetic or artistic purposes. In the end, it isn't art at all. It only looks like art.

      Thanks for writing.