Science fiction author Lavie Tidhar recently asked me to write a guest post on SF and class for his excellent World SF Blog, and the result went live this week. It’s a ranty little piece, but hopefully it maks some salient points – primarily that SF is middle class construct, and as such faces the same crisis that the western middle class faces in the 21st century:
“Any crisis of identity or confidence for the middle classes is also – undeniably – a crisis for science fiction. Science fiction is one of the great middle class cultural projects; an exciting, upmarket gated community where you need to show your credentials to get admittance. You’re allowed into science fiction because you understand the greatest middle class-empowering construct of the last 200 years – you understand science. You are welcome in science fiction because you understand that scientists and engineers and astronauts are heroes. You are welcome in science fiction because you understand that rationality and reasoning and hard work can fix anything. And most importantly, you are welcome in science fiction because you’re middle class and you understand that the future is yours for the taking.
And that is the biggest problem facing science fiction right now. The future isn’t just sitting there waiting for the middle classes to take it anymore (well, at least not the middle classes in Europe and North America – it’s very likely the future is up for grabs for the growing middle classes in China, India, Brazil and elsewhere – but that’s another, potentially far more exciting story). If the future is just a bunch of very scary questions, rather than something that belongs to the middle classes and makes them feel special than what’s the point of reading – or even writing – about it anymore?”
Thanks to everyone that’s checked it out already, and thanks to Lavie for asking me to write it. Head over there and give it a read, and tell me where I’m wrong in the post’s comments.