I had the best time writing this story. It's unabashed space opera, the kind of science fiction that drew me to the stuff when I was a kid, full of big adventure, sprawling vistas, wild inventiveness. And it's the kind of stuff I still often dip back into. Right now, for instance, as I sit here in Seattle, I'm reading ASTOUNDING STORIES OF SUPER SCIENCE FROM JANUARY 1930 on my Kindle.
I'm bored to death with science fiction that uses the tropes primarily to explore the bleak, middle-aged angst of failed professors, just denied tenure, whose wives and younger girlfriends have left them for younger men or more vigorous men. Or equally boring, science fiction that is, in actuality, little more than not-so-veiled right-wing military propaganda. Or whose stories are thinly redressed versions of far better stories by literary masters like Fitzgerald, Hemmingway, Shelley, or others. Sure, some of the best science fiction in the field has explored social issues and questioned the nature of humanity, great works like Brunner's STAND ON ZANZIBAR or Boyd's NO BLADE OF GRASS or Joanna Russ's masterpiece, THE FEMALE MAN. But too many writers working under the label of "science fiction" seem to work awfully hard to wring the last drop of any real "sense of wonder" out of their stories, as if "sense of wonder" were dirty words that undercut the obvious adult seriousness and literary quality of their work.
Fie on that. I don't begrudge any writer the right to create stories the way they choose, and if you can sell fiction at all in this marketplace, more power to you. I'm just saying there's a kind of science fiction I like to read and there's a kind of science fiction that leaves me scratching my head and wondering why the writer bothered to dress his story up in the clothing of science fiction at all. Oh right - because science fiction has "grown up?" If you say so. But with little more than a five percent share of the book sales market these days, it's curious sort of growing up.