Jim Van Pelt shares the outline of a speech he in planning to make at the Colorado Readers Conference. The speech, entitled Science Fiction and Heart of Darkness, explains what makes science fiction tick. He uses Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness as a bridge to explain science fiction to the non-sf crowd.
There are lots of great sf-defining comments he makes…here’s the final money quote:
Science fiction explores humanity, what it is and what it might be. It also tells me that the world I live in isn’t the only one there is. When the universe feels small, science fiction tells me it’s not. When life has the bland taste of the mundane, science fiction brings to me a sense of wonder. Sometimes the wonder is dark. Sometimes the wonder is light. Sometimes the wonder cautions, or criticizes or satirizes or humors or frightens or thrills. It doesn’t matter, as long as I remember that the key word in it all is “wonder.”
I find the use of the word “mundane” kinda humorous in light of the the recent flap with (Capital “M”) Mundane sf, but that’s just me.