Fleming_08-1991
Perspective

Science Fictions

While the genre of science fiction is hardly a century old, the roots of science fiction go deep into our history. Men have always told stories, and in telling them they have inevitably recast the world of their perceptions into something easier to grasp, more beautiful or more terrible than it really is. At bottom, we are all creative liars, above all to ourselves, and remember our ordinary childhoods as enchanted realms, as so many dream days spent in secret gardens or hectic conflicts in Never-Never-Land. The source of all creative deceit lies in our memories, which act as funhouse mirrors, magnifying the importance of our experiences; they are "magic casements opening on the foam of perilous seas in faery lands forlorn."

In a religious world, it is inevitable that we should create, according to the talents of our race, myths of impossibly beautiful and powerful beings whose deeds and antics serve as models for conduct and warnings against presumption. In an age dominated by politics and war, the greatest fiction will be passed off as military and political history, and in this the age of science, it was virtually impossible not to subjugate science to the uses of the imagination.

Nothing is more boring than to go back and read the early examples of science fiction, and it is fitting that a literary genre that has produced more bad writing than any other (not excepting women's romances) should have a prize...

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