Advocacy-based sf — “you need to go off and build the future I’m describing”
Recognition-based sf — “this is the world we’re in or arriving at, and we can’t do anything about”
Examples given of advocacy-based sf: classic example Heinlein, current example Kim Stanley Robinson. I don’t know what examples of recognition-based sf they came up with, but I’d imagine something like Ian McDonald’s River of Gods would count, or John Brunner.
Points for discussion:
1. The panel apparently took it as axiomatic that science fiction is either advocacy- or recognition-based. True or false?
(Geneva’s suggested a third category that would cover, e.g. R.A. Lafferty, Cordwainer Smith, some of Lem, or a book like Nova Swing: alienation-based sf. This could be considered a branch of recognition-based sf focused on how it is/would be impossible for us to recognise truly futuristic futures or alien aliens.)
2. John Clute asserted that “characteristic modern sf” is about recognition. True or false? Where do you put a book like Geoff Ryman’s Air, or Charles Stross’s Accelerando?
3. Does the advocacy-recognition split exclude straightforwardly escapist literature (e.g. Star Wars)? Does this matter?