A Sense of Wonder

Steve Davidson has a longish post that starts with whining about someone who declared that SF is not “literary“. I am not concerned with the debate. I know enough to realize that at least one person in the debate is an idiot and not worth my comment.

The interesting thing is that Steve gets to the heart of what makes good Spec Fic by bringing up what he calls a sensawunda. I don’t know who first noticed that a Sense of Wonder was one of the main ingredients of Science Fiction, but I’ve been using it as my yardstick for what makes Spec Fic excellent for a while.

Steve equates this sense of wonder with participation in the story by the reader or viewer and by way of example compares the classic movie “Forbidden Planet” with “Star Wars”. Forbidden Planet, by way of incomplete information, encourages the viewer to fill in the blanks with imagination. Star Wars leaves nothing to the imagination. Star Wars is passive viewing, where Forbidden Planet requires the viewer to participate in the movie in order to fully appreciate it.

This is an interesting twist on a Sense of Wonder, and although it is not a full explanation, it definitely augments the idea.

Speculative Fiction will always be a genre and will usually be non-literary (whatever that means) at least to those who think they know what literary means. It will remain true that Speculative Fiction will only excel when it incorporates a Sense of Wonder.

Why Traditional SF is BETTER Than ‘Literary’ SF | The Crotchety Old Fan


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I started reading Science Fiction in the 1950s. I started Writing SF in the 1960s. Then, I had a life. Now I am retired, raising chickens and keeping bees. I am still an avid reader and I have sold about 70 stories in the last 20 years.
I have been collecting information about writing Science Fiction for many years now. Social media has replaced the Blog and large dedicated websites, so the pages here are mostly static. I update them from time to time.


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