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This is the common mythology of the
science ficiton fan: reading SF
requires different skills to read
than mainstream fiction.
The science fiction reader is
expected to make inferences about
the background technology, social
structures, and history
underlying the foreground story.
Direct lectures to the reader on
these subjects are regarded as TELL_ME_TRUE
crude and clumsy, a violation of
the "show don't tell" rule.
SF readers like to pat themselves (on the head,
for being more intelligent than back, whatever.)
There's probably *some*
truth to this point of
view, but I've an
uncomfortable feeling that
I've often thought about conducting
a literary experiment on human
subjects: Have two groups of
people read the same two novels
in different orders:
Larry Niven's "A Gift From Earth"
Roger Zelazny's "Lord of Light"
My expectation would be that comprehension
of "Lord of Light" would be much easier for
the group that read "A Gift From Earth"
first, because Larry Niven, being the
straight-forward (some might say, simple-
minded) writer that he is spells out the
historical background. Zelazny, in his
more Literary mode in those days, was
trying hard not to insult the reader with (The set-up: A large
explanations. You have to piece together colony space ship, with
the background from more oblique hints, but passengers in suspended
the scenario has many features in common animation, and a crew in
with "A Gift from Earth". charge of transporting
them and building the
colony... after which
the crew decide to
retain their privileged
Which is to say, that it position and become a
may be that the reason new aristocracy.)
the regular SF reader has
an edge in reading more
SF, is that they're
already familiar with all
these standard tropes.
It's not necessarily superior
intelligence that let's you
figure it out. It may be a
superior tolerance for trashy
fiction which allows you to
develop your familiarity with
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