Saturday, 6 June 2009

God save me from my friends

David Langford, winner of multiple Hugo awards for his fiction and fan/critical/review writing, is being interviewed by a local television station during an SF convention. He is being asked about the geeky/unwashed/weird/social-misfit thing, or about poor writing or silly covers or unpronounceable names. And he goes on to give a reasoned and articulate defence of science fiction, pointing to the fine writing of Le Guin and Leiber and Ellison and Aldiss and Ballard, the classics like 1984 and Brave New World and We which the gatekeepers won't acknowledge as SF, the way SF reflects the contemporary concerns of modern society and is the only branch of fiction really to get to grips with technology as the defining force of the 20th century. He points to the number of scientists now working in their field because of the inspiration they got from people like Asimov and Clarke and Pohl. And he is beginning to wind up by saying, with a slight chuckle, "I mean, you mustn't assume that we're all - "

- and at that exact moment, someone wearing a Darth Vader mask walks behind him, repeatedly pulling the trigger of one of those guns that fires ping-pong balls and shouting "Kill! Kill! Kill!"

At which point the interviewer, and the audience, assume that we are indeed all.

(With apologies to the original teller of this anecdote in Interzone.)

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