Did it/Will it stand the test of time?
Posted January 7, 2014on:
So many of these Vintage SF books feel dated, don’t they? computers that are the size of rooms, a lack of non-male and non-anglo characters, technology that doesn’t really work, being able to breathe unaided on the surface of the Moon or Venus or some such. City dwellers who don’t know how to use a telephone or drive a car. Wow that feels dated!
What “classic” science fiction books have stood the test of time? written decades ago, how has it survived not feeling dated? Is it something about the prose, the characters, the setting, the technology?
And now for the second, far more interesting question, prompted by a guest post written here a few days ago by Kamo of this is how she fight start. Go read the post, it’s one of my favorites, but the gist of it is this:
“Vintage SF is a perfect singularity of past, present, and future tenses. It shows us the world as it was going to be. When the world is changing fast enough that it becomes unrecognizable within the space of a lifetime that’s a rare kind of unity.”
Among other discussions in the comments, it’s mentioned that older science fiction is a time capsule, and that science fiction is always on the edge of and flirting with obsolescence, that all science fiction writers are influenced by what came before, whether they realize it or not.
There’s a lot to unpack in that post, and in the comments. Kamo’s post prompts me to make a minor change to my original question:
What modern science fiction books will stand the test of time?
fifty years from now, when some other blogger does a Vintage month, what science fiction books written in the last 10 years will have stood the test of time? What will feel timeless, what will feel dated? what is the particular variable that will make a book feel dated, or feel timeless?