Tonight at 7 PM Eastern I’ll be doing a Darkstream in which we’ll be discussing the heroics of the God-Emperor and how his actions fly in the face of modern anti-heroism. To find it once it goes live, search for #darkstream. I’m kind of excited about this one, since I received my new Rode microphone today. I hope it will improve the audio.
My thoughts on the topic were inspired by a recent post at the Castalia House blog, How Star Wars Stole Pulp, which you might like to read first.
What really happened is this: The audience didn’t abandon F&SF. F&SF abandoned its audience. Its appeal became more selective.
Post-WWII was the era of the Campbellian Silver Age, the era of “Men with Screwdrivers” SF. Action and adventure were childish and frankly embarrassing, as were purple prose and laser swords. Barsoom? Silly. Buck Rogers? Childish. Northwest Smith? A gunslinger, not a scientist. And this was the age of SCIENCE.
Science was the focus, technology the touchstone. Stories had to be cerebral, intellectual. They had to be REALISTIC. Real science, none of this fuzzy-headed soft science stuff. SF had to shake off the wooly-headed thinking of Fantasy, the embarrassing antics of Space Opera, the adolescent focus on Adventure and Action. SF was serious business. Real Literature. It was time to grow up.
UPDATE: The replay is available here.