For thousands of years, people have been huddled around the campfire, telling stories. The stories were about what went on around the campfire (who was sleeping with whom, who had become king and who had plotted to depose him, etc) and about the figures that were seen in the enormous distorted human shadows that the campfire projected onto the surrounding darkness: gods and demons, ghosts and monsters.
Then, some time around the seventeenth century, the sun came up.
'Nature, and Nature's laws, lay hid in night.
God said "Let Newton be!" and all was light.'
Science fiction is the stories we tell about the surrounding landscape that then became visible, the world seen in Newton's light.
He then goes on to rebuke fantasists and realist deviationists, and to harsh on The Dispossessed, which I rather liked (when I was 14).
Posted by crshalizi at September 22, 2003 11:32 | permanent link