I frequent the SFFWorldforum (mostly the science fiction literature topic) and am continually reminded that there is definitely a generation-gap when it comes to the enjoyment of classic science fiction. (Or maybe its just lack of good taste. Sorry guys – just kidding.)
I started shaking my old-man-stick at some of the SFFW denizens today over some criticism of Larry Niven’s Hugo Award Winning novel – Ringworld.
The standard arguments prevailed: the characters had no depth (Nessus no depth?), the Ringworld is such a fantastic structure Niven should have spent more time showing it to us, and ‘I have no idea why this novel won anything‘.
Of course, there’s no accounting for taste – mine or anyone else’s.
But it did get me thinking about that feeling of utter shock, awe, discontent and anger you get when someone else states in absolute terms that something you love and cherish is drek.
The thoughts come in an instantaneous cascade: ‘How can you be so stupid? What’s wrong with you? Are you blind? You must have no imagination! I just bet you think Piggly-Wiggly is the epitome of literature! Idiocy must run in your family, because only a moron wouldn’t get it, and that’s the only possible explanation for not liking what I like!. Apologies to the morons in the room. Thought police! Where are the Thought Police – this person is having dangerous thoughts!’
Of course, none of that is justified as everyone is entitled to react to art in whatever way they choose, whether its justified or not (and it doesn’t have to be justified).
But it did get me thinking; how would you go about making people like what you like, hate what you hate and say ‘eh’ to all the things you could care less about? (Forget for the moment that science fiction fans are about the least conforming respecters of authority on the planet.)
And then it came to me. HUGO-AWARD-ZOMBIES. Genetically engineered fans, brought back from the dead, who selectively munch on the part of your brain responsible for not liking something I like. They’re very precise in their consumption of brain matter, excising only the disagreeable parts. Victims can still function, at least enough to become infected themselves and last long enough to pass it on.
Stay away from the Nebula-Award-Zombies though. They’re viscious undead authors, lack discernment and often end up killing their victims.