Monday, November 15, 2010

Le Guin on Science Fiction

The introduction to The Left Hand of Darkness—I have the 2000 Ace trade paperback edition—is a “must read” in itself. In it Ursula K. Le Guin talks about Science Fiction:
though extrapolation is an element in science fiction, it isn’t the name of the game by any means. …a lot of…science fiction [is] a thought-experiment …. The purpose of a thought-experiment…is…to describe reality, the present world.
Science fiction is not predictive; it is descriptive.
Open your eyes; listen, listen. That is what the novelists say.
In reading a novel, any novel, we have to know perfectly well that the whole thing is nonsense, and then, while reading, believe every word of it. Finally, when we’re done with it, we may find—if it’s a good novel—that we’re a bit different from what we were before we read it, that we have changed a little…

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