Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sol Science Fiction

There is a sub-genre of SF called Mundane Science Fiction.  I understand that the movement was founded in 2002, and its central conceit is that the stories are set within the solar system, that there is no interstellar travel and there has been no contact with extra-terrestrials.  While applauding this approach, it's name drives me bat-shit.  While technically correct (mundane means 'of this world; worldly'), I'd bet large amounts of money that most people would associate a more common meaning i.e. boring or routine.  To me, this smacks of being too clever by half – a sort of Sheldon Cooper approach to life without the endearing childlike vulnerability.  Whenever I think about this issue, a conversation springs to mind.
"What's that you're reading?"
"Oh, a piece of mundane science fiction."
"Why not read something that's a bit more rewarding?"
No reply – just a smug expression as the reader perceives that the other person is some oaf not as smart as they are.
While I do write with a specific audience in mind, my writing ego desires a broader church than this sub-genre might attract with this name.  Science Fiction gets a bad enough press as it is and I refuse to join the tribe in raising fences to others who are not like us.
The outline I am working on at the moment will be set in our planetary system.  It will assume that while life is prolific in the universe, intelligent life is a rarity and an accident of evolution.  There will be no interstellar travel – our world will be as isolated as a thermal vent and just as precarious.
It will be Sol Science Fiction.
Try not to do the stupid things that stupid people do.

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