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Random Ramblings Of Ramakant Yadav

29 March 2011

Why is science fiction so obvious? Why are the plots so thin? Why are the characters so shallow? I have always wondered why science fiction writers take the easy way out. Do they all write from the same template? Do they all attend the same workshops?

My first science fiction book was 'War of the Worlds'. I read that when I was in school. Not only was it very believable, it even had a twist at the end. I guess, that is the reason why it is called a classic.

I do not recall reading any more science fiction until I found "Footfall" by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle in a used-book store in Allahabad. That was an interesting book. The authors had done research, a lot of research. Not only did the aliens interact with each other, they came with a complete set of social norms and behaviors. Their reaction to human contact was, again, very unique and distinct.

Years later, I remembered watching Independence Day, the movie, and thinking: I have seen this before. It was from there, that things took a turn for the worse.

Science fiction, these days, seem to all follow the same plot: there is a space guy, there is an AI, and there is a ship crew. The A.I for some reason is always female. The ship crew spins around from one galaxy to another searching for some sort of Galactic peace. The characters sound like something dreamed up by bored teenagers. No, I am not talking of Eragon.

It is a sad example of the triumph of connections over talent. The stories are predictable and there is no logical path. If you ever read one of them, you probably do not want to read another, for the rest of your life. The lack of effort is staggering. The fact that the publishers choose to publish them, shows a shocking lack of commitment to self-preservation.

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