I grew up on classic pulp fiction. My father was a heavy reader during his days of working the boiler room. His shelf was full of things like- The Deathlands, Bradbury, Asimov, The Mountain Man, Louis Lamar, and Heinlein. But it was the countless number of short Story magazines he picked up that got me into science fiction.
This week I stopped by the used bookstore and picked up some classics that I grew up with. Not always the most culturally relevant- but incredible reads all the same. Fun stories that were heavy on plot with a quick pace and at times very little agenda.
Sometimes I think Science Fiction and Fandom is becoming less fun than it used to be. Stories at times seem to push certain agendas or world views instead of embracing the things we love and enjoy most. Which is fine I guess- I allow my own personal experiences and worldview to invade my writing. I think it’s a natural part of the story telling process.
Bradbury, Asimov, Heinlein: They had their worldviews and agendas as well. Sure… One can’t read Foundation or Fahrenheit 451 without seeing what Bradbury and Asimov were trying to say. But those pioneers gave us warnings about where we would wind up as a society- Not demands that a story needs to have various elements to be considered worthy.
I find nothing wrong with a story that has a political agenda or message for the reader or specific characters. That has always been a product of good storytelling. My concern is that we have become so focused on telling stories bent on pushing political and cultural ideas first. It feels as though story, within some fiction, is becoming a by-product of the message now.
I find myself curious if we haven’t lost a bit of the magic and sense of wonder those classic Golden Age stories gave us.
I guess time will only tell. Agree- Disagree: I would love to hear your thoughts…