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The Mundane Manifesto in Science Fiction January 3, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.

It’s amazing what passes one by. I’ve read SF for decades now, subscribe to Analog, keep up to speed with annual story collection, fairly frequently read various SF writers blogs, but this had passed me by completely. Mundane Science Fiction.

I love this idea. Not entirely, but enough.

Mundane science fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction, similar to hard science fiction, which is characterized by its setting on Earth or within the solar system, and a lack of interstellar travel or contact with aliens.

There’s a Manifesto (however tongue in cheek) to go along with that.

Alastair Reynolds work is a sort of extension of that, set in a universe where interstellar travel is sub-light.

Got to admit that I increasingly think that the mundanes may have the most likely understanding of the future – one which is planet, or at best solar system bound and where contact with alien life is unlikely. But that’s a different story.


1. CL - January 3, 2015

Count me among the Mundanes. I even think going to a desert named Mars is a boondoggle for the Space/Industrial/Military complex; a waste of hundreds of billions better spent on social and physical infrastructure.


WorldbyStorm - January 3, 2015

I’d take a position between yours and theres. Can’t recall if it’s David Brin or someone like that who says that when humans ‘colonise’ the Gobi or Antarctic then will be the time we ‘colonise’ Mars – the Gobi being magnitudes of habitability greater than the Red Planet, and even Antarctica being likewise. Science stations etc seem to me to be eminently more sensible, at least in the medium term, and there’s a strong argument given the dependence on low earth orbit communications/other infrastructure for significant development in that area. But the rest, for the moment at least, is something of a waste.


CL - January 3, 2015

Bruce Sterling “I’ll believe in people settling Mars at about the same time I see people setting the Gobi Desert. The Gobi Desert is about a thousand times as hospitable as Mars and five hundred times cheaper and easier to reach. Nobody ever writes “Gobi Desert Opera” because, well, it’s just kind of plonkingly obvious that there’s no good reason to go there and live.”


2. eamonncork - January 3, 2015

The Mundane Manifesto would be a pretty good name for the Creighton Party mission statement. That’s science fiction too come to think of it. That Brin quote is a very good one by the way.


3. workers republicu - January 4, 2015

Futuristic is probably a better description of imaginative visions of life on this planet in the future,without the necessity of amazing inventions. 1984 is probably the most famous of that jonre;but also the original Planet of the Apes,story and film. Both 1984 and Planet of the Apes were dystopic and no wonder. As a teenager I used read a lot of SF/Futuristic and esoteric (i.e. Dion Fortune),but I’ve moved away from them,as I’ve found fact can be stranger than fiction,though I do like political fiction especially if based on fact like A Very British Coup. Unfortunately a lot o
f popular popular political fiction has a
right-wing bias,like Forsight’s books and
the the terrible novel on the Indo
Chinese war (in French) The Legionaires.
There are Israeli novels wh.ch are propaganda pure and simple,I read one attacking the character of Arafat with deliberate lies. Another Middle Eastern novel I read and found interesting was Agents of Innocence.


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