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Is Fun, Meaningful SF Possible?

First, a disclaimer. I’m a simple guy. I don’t ask questions like this because I already know the answer. I don’t ask  because I have a fun, meaningful SF book in my back pocket, either.

I’m asking this for two reasons. First, this thread, full of fun (and terrible) fake SF book covers reminded me how fun SF can be. Second, because I recently realized that most of the SF I responded to, during my formative years, had a serious element of fun baked into it. A lot of it was truly terrible stuff, and even the best of it (late Heinlein) wasn’t very good.

So: let’s take this up a notch from simply “positive.” Is fun, meaningful SF possible?

“Well, yeah, duh,” a lot of you are saying. “There’s plenty of fun SF, just take a jaunt to the bookstore and look at the tie-in novels and other fluff they sell to the undiscriminating masses.”

Okay. How about fun and meaningful? As in, tremendously entertaining, with laugh-out-loud moments, but would also be a candidate for a Hugo or Nebula award? I don’t recall much, unless you count the deep geek humor of some of Doctorow’s work. Of course, I don’t have time to read anything.

So, what am I missing? Something? Nothing? Everything?

And, if I’m not missing anything, do you think it is possible to combine both fun and meaning? If not, why not? If so, why isn’t there more work like this?

In any case, browse the book covers and have a few laughs.

PS: The book cover shown here is of a real book.

March 21st, 2010 / 1,027 Comments »



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