Vector #245

In this way I’m not entirely unsympathetic to the Mundane Manifesto: I just feel that it is incapable of producing ‘better’ science fiction. It will not reinvigorate the genre. Science fiction is an imaginative literature, not a realist one. Much of its strength and power lies in its ability to mythologise – the Manifesto condemns as stupidities many of the genre’s most powerful myths: the alien, time-travel, the artificial intelligence made in our own image.

Ian McDonald

But before you go and read everyone else’s manifestos, we thought we should set out our own. After all, although you may recognise our names from the reviews sections of this magazine and Matrix, we’re still relative newcomers to the BSFA, and we’re only just joining the Vector editorial team with this issue, following in the illustrious footsteps of Andrew M. Butler, under whose guidance Vector was the sort of magazine we discovered we wanted to read – and edit.

Niall Harrison & Geneva Melzack

Moorcock also had a theory about the uses of prose itself, too complex to go too deeply into here or even in his introduction to the anthology. Briefly, rather than being confined to ‘transparent’ narration of the surface phenomenology of the story, the prose line could skip allusively along its surface or swim in the iconographic and archetypal imagery beneath it, rather in the manner of poetry. Which perhaps was why the magazine paid serious attention to serious poetry, too.

Norman Spinrad

I blew up the plums

which were in the icebox

and which you were probably saving

Meghan McCarron

Reading ‘Amnesty’ recalls for me every traumatic and wonderful Butler book I’ve read, and reminds me, again, of how much reading Butler has changed my view of my world and my place in it. What changed me was Butler forcing me to root for characters who didn’t stand up for their rights (because it would have gotten them killed) but rather compromised out of necessity. She forced me to look at myself, at my often silly insistence upon abstract rights in the face of daily, unbearable, soul-destroying compromise. Would I be able to be a slave? Could I do what was necessary to save not only myself but my entire community? What would I do in a situation in which I had no good choices?

Claire Light

Vector #90

New Worlds (re the comments in your interview) was not aiming to take sf into the mainstream or move towards ‘personal’ (subjective technique as opposed to objective) fiction. We were hoping to borrow sf’s interest in the objective world and use that impulse in subtler ways. The U.S. ‘new wave’ was primarily a move towards subjective romanticism a la Pynchon, and I for one found this move depressing. Personal images are one thing. Writing about the self is another. VORTEX didn’t fail through lack of money – it failed through lack of faith and lack of professionalism. I heartily agree with you that new names are worthless in themselves unless they are connected with fresh ideas and talent. Asimov’s is building up a stable of hacks. It’s disappointing.

Michael Moorcock