30 May, 2013

Science Fiction and Post-modernity

Some people look at this and think, "Wow!  Science fiction has such an incredible playground now! Where to begin?" I think scientific development has become a norm of our society. It's expected and not provocative in and of itself. This doesn't mean individual inventions can't be provocative. They certainly can, and if something inspires a story, so long as that story is good, then it doesn't matter whether that "something" is a new way to rewrite long-term memories or a lonely peanut by a gutter. The goal is the same, and so is the potential human significance of the ensuing art.

Before combining these two thoughts, I'll recap:

1) Scientific/technological development has become a cultural norm.

2) It is the human significance of a thing that makes important art, whether we're talking ray-guns, krakens or peanuts on a roadside.

This is the kind of thing that makes me think modern SF needs to change. Challenging a cultural norm is what makes art of political (in the sense Orwell cited in "Why I Write"--if you don't own that book, shame on you) significance, and it is most certainly the remit of so-called 'Golden Age' SF, when it was considered a "literature of ideas". In post-modern society, to challenge the cultural norm of science is to challenge science itself. Significance; purpose; insight; benefit. These are things Modernism took for granted, and Post-modernism does not.

Here we have everything from Quantum Mechanics to Medicine. It's certainly tough to challenge the value of the latter, but let's take it as an example. In my opinion, the best art is about asking challenging questions, especially the ones you feel disgusted even to ponder. Ponder them intelligently, and what better way to make a person think and feel than to raise the questions he's never dared ask himself? As for less touchy subjects, it's the job of the artist in Post-modernity to question the value of culture, and the possibility of forwards motion therein.

I say bring it on, you old buggers (no offense). It's Generation X's turn to fill the bookshelves.

It should be noted that the above discoveries are, of course, for the most part in their infancy. Academia doesn't work by proving the first fraction of an idea and phoning the newspapers. It takes slow steps because those are necessary to find the truth. Still, the discoveries are quite awesome. Click the links below for articles. For etiquette purposes I should say I found the picture on How About Some Real F**king News (among the best sources of accurate news in America) on Facebook.

➤ Rewriting Memories: http://is.gd/JYlapy
➤ Limb Regeneration: http://is.gd/RndLTv
➤ 3D Printed Breathing Device: http://is.gd/cWhG0s
➤ Quantum Link: http://is.gd/u8QIBk
➤ Alzheimer's Molecular Trigger: http://is.gd/ujEg6u
➤ Universe's Light: http://is.gd/4tywM8

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