Jon Armstrong

Predicting Science Fiction

Matthew Cheney in his blog Mumpsimus recently wrote a post called Predicting Morons. The post’s starting point was Ben Bova’s assertion that more people should read science fiction because it’s good at predicting things.

Matthew disagrees.

It’s unfortunate that as experienced and intelligent a writer as Ben Bova would advocate SF for its predictive powers… Instead, perhaps Bova should have said that SF is a marvelous tool for satire.

I wholeheartedly agree with Matthew. And while as I write, I do often wonder if what I’ve written will become true, and, to be honest, dread that it will all come to pass, that is not at the heart of what I think I’m doing. Ultimately, I am trying to turn my fears into fun.

I imagine it is the same that mountain climbers seek. Instead of George Mallory’s "because it is there" answer, what they’re really doing is defeating their fear of height, size, permanence. In my recent writing, I have tried to deal with my fears, and it is science fiction that seems most ready and able to take on the demons of our times: sodium erythorbate, Britney, and Cargill.

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Guest Blogger

I’m Jon Armstrong, and I’m the Shaken & Stirred guest blogger today. If you don’t know anything about me, feel free to check my home page:  Jon Armstrong.

Let’s start with some links:

Today’s Tournament of Books is Arthur and George v. One Good Turn judged by Kate Schlegel.

Both Condalmo and Coudal and have the latest odds for all of you heading to the betting windows. Please bear in mind that Shaken and Stirred neither condones nor authorizes wagering on literary works. These links are provided for "litainment" purposes only. However, donating is cool.

Play The Punctuation Game. This took me back to sixth grade when my teacher, Ms. Jones (who was hot and drove a Porsche!), called my mom in to inquire what the heck was wrong with me and my spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Oh, the bloody red ink!

Hear George Saunders. In a 20 minute podcast about Dubai, miniaturization, literature, and other stuff. Also see his take on Borat at the New Yorker.

Get a Free signed copy of my novel, Grey! –Yes, we’ve come to the shameless self-promotion part of this post. I’m announcing a book giveaway. You can find Chapter 1 here. The contest is: write the first sentence of Chapter 2 and leave it in the comments (be sure there’s a way for me to reach you). Best one wins a copy of Grey. Plus, I’ll sign it however you wish, including the always useful: Congratulations ebay Highest Bidder!

Next week I’ll announce the winner.

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