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SF Tidbits Part LV

About John DeNardo (13013 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

8 Comments on SF Tidbits Part LV

  1. Actually Dark Horizons lists THEIR Ten WORST Films Of 2005. Remember, your mileage may vary.


  2. Spoken like a true Son of Mask fan. 😉

  3. Jeff Carroll // December 20, 2005 at 8:17 pm //

    Wasn’t it Heinlein who first segregated science fiction into those three categories: What if…? If only… and If this goes on…? There should be a reference to him, if so.

  4. Thanks, Jeff, and Good catch! This was news to me so I looked it up (Go, go, gadget Google!) and found this article by sf author Octavia Butler who credits Heinlein with those categorizations:

    Sometime ago I read some place that Robert A. Heinlein had these three categories of science-fiction stories: The what-if category; the if-only category; and the if-this-goes-on category. And I liked the idea.

    Maybe the editor of the Barnes piece did some unjudicious editing?

  5. It’s possible that Barnes wasn’t aware there was an individual to credit with the thought. I’ve heard of these questions before but I certainly didn’t know that Heinlein came up with the idea (if he actually did – this second-hand credit by Butler isn’t the strongest endorsement.)

  6. Jeff Carroll // December 21, 2005 at 1:40 pm //

    I posted a comment to Steven Barnes, and he emailed back. Scott is correct. He said that so many science fiction authors discuss these categories that he took it at common knowledge. Otherwise he would have attributed it to Robert Heinlein. He apologized for the mistake, even though it was unintentional.

  7. And he just posted a blog entry about it on his blog.

    Looking through his blog, Stephen is an interesting fellow – he seems driven to motivate people to write, and write well.

    But more interesting is the note that he has finished up his outline for the fourth Dream Park book and will be sending it to Niven before Christmas. I wonder how long it will take to write, then make it into print?

  8. Cool! I’ve added Barnes to the ever-growing list of SF/F writers who blog.

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