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Mundane SF

Here’s an SF subgenre of which I was previously unaware, although it certainly fits into my “FTL ain’t gonna happen, get over it” philosophy.

The central idea of Mundane Science Fiction is that we’re stuck here: Warp drives, wormholes, and other forms of interstellar travel are unlikely at best. There may be habitable worlds outside of the solar system, but we’re never going to reach them. If there are alien intelligences out there somewhere, they’re no more likely to be able to master travel amongst the stars than we are.

This seems like a rather bleak future, but the argument goes that if we spend too much time expecting to move off of this planet we might wind up squandering its resources. If we instead assume that we’re stuck here, we might be a bit more careful at husbanding our environment.

I suppose it’s possible–just–to argue that SF which takes it for granted that we’ll eventually get off this rock might influence public opinion away from long-term solutions for staying put, but you have to admit that there isn’t a whole lot of cachet in, “Major Tom got in his hybrid car and drove to his job at the solar-panel factory.”

There’s more about this movement in the Wikipedia entry here.

Posted in Books & Authors July 14th, 2008 by Chip
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