Vector #14

After getting VECTOR 13 I feel I must defend one of my favourite stories against one of my favourite authors; i.e. “Of Man and Woman” against Brian Aldiss.

This is not a story of “madness, violence and insanity” (what is the difference between madness and insanity anyway?) but the story of a child who, through no fault of his (her?) own is born a monster to normal parents.

Jean Graman

The really fascinating thing about science fiction – and another LXICON surprise for me was that this idea seemed to be so widely appreciated – is that it leads straight into quite specialised fields. i don’t just mean physics, astronomy and the rest, but politics, philosophy, social comment, psychology and (not least) literature. Sf is a meeting-point of all these.

Kingsley Amis

The letter section seems devoted chiefly to a wrangle about the definition of science fiction, a wrangle which to my knowledge was going on nearly thirty years ago, and will doubtless be continueing thirty years hence.

Don R. Smith

I haven’t waded into the ‘Definition’ because with all the ones I’ve seen I can usuall recall stories that lie outside them and yet are usually classified as sf. Being one of the lazy types I can’t really see why people go to such lengths to try and define sf. I mean, why bother? I rarely bother to find out why I like or dislike something.

Mr Doherty’s article was most interesting. I find the idea of a teacher actually teaching sf fascinating. I don’t suppose my English teacher knew it existed. More power to Mr D’s elbow.

Jill Adams

I’d take a guess that most of these people don’t really know what they do want from the Association, they just know it’s missing.

Jill Adams

Vector #13

I have said enough, and Rico too much, to show that this soft-centred soldier should have been recommended for a psychiatric report rather than promotion, and that from a Freudian point of view, “Starship Troopers” is a shower of hoarse horse laughter. Rico longs to be humiliated, searches for trouble and a substitute father figure, both of which he finds of course in the M.I. – referred to significantly as a “Paternalistic organisation”.

Evidence shows that this was not the portrait of Rico that Heinlein intended. There is no sign of awareness (as for instance there was in that fine and authentically tough film “End As A Man”) that this sort of military establishment breeds bullies and bastards and toadies; nor could there be, for the whole novel – whilst passing itself off as a semi-documentary by eschewing plot – is too far from reality.

Brian Aldiss

Assuming, first of all, that SF is definable .. which is probable, since we all know what we mean by SF and argue only about the ‘fringe’ items .. assuming so much, it follows, also, that SF can be, and should be, about anything and everything, past, present, or future, here, there and everywhere. Just as in science itself, there are extremely few matters which can’t be treated in a scientific manner, to some extent, and I know of a few authoritative purists who would go so far as to say that everything … literally .. can be so treated. Certainly, there are very few matters of concern to every day life which are immune to scientific study.

So .. SF can be, and should be free to include everything and anything. The taboos which exist, and there are some, are solely the result of editorial choice, preference, and some nebulous idea as to what ‘the reader’ wants.

John Phillifent