[PREV - HOMILETICS] [TOP]
Algis Budrys, writing in the June 1983
issue of "Fantasy and Science Fiction":
Horror writing has never been completely
distinct from SF -- that is, speculative
fiction, the literature, as distinguished from
science fiction or newsstand fantasy, the
genres -- starting even before Frankenstein's
midnight resurrections and finding considerable
nourishment in the talents of Poe and such
nominally pure fantasists as M.R. James. If
there is a bent for speculation, for trying to
make sense of worlds of supposition, the
precursor for such a predilection must be some
profound feeling that this seeming
irrationality conceals a fearsome control by
behind-the-scenes manipulators who have no
concern for human piety or wit.
Science Fiction in particular is the branch of
SF that explicitly denies this proposition.
The stated tenet of science fiction is that
everything is explicable. Furthermore, most
science fiction is romantic; it declares that
the universe is susceptible to intelligent
intervention. The credo of science fiction,
then, can be read as an adult controversion of
adolescent and pre-adolescent night terrors.
I think, therefore, that inside most adult SF
readers there may be some major element of the
wondering child, and that at times the child
trembles. Oh pleasurably, perhaps.
Why not? We're not really so different from
those who distinguish themselves by not liking
speculation, sometimes so vehemently that one
wonders where all the smoke comes from. And in
their nominally straight world, the fact is
that the inhabitants are chronically terrified.
Just listen to what they claim to believe, and
what they deny. Talk about living in a world
There is some _geist_, some spiritual strain
of affinity between those who claim the
intellectual freedom of speculative thinking
and a subliterature that declares humankind
is in chains ...
[NEXT - LONG_SHADOW]