I have been reviewing the meaning of science fiction in relation to my prior post. Science fiction is a genre like the Western, but it is not genre like Mystery. Mystery is a form of story, but its concrete content is unlimited. Science Fiction, like The Western is defined by its concrete content, but its form of story is unlimited. But unlike the blend of Science Fiction and Western (a la Firefly) a blend of science fiction and mystery is a different pairing. In Aristotelean terms the mystery would be the form and the SF the matter.
Science fiction is defined by its props – plain and simple. It is the only way to get something like STAR WARS and Hal Clement’s A MISSION OF GRAVITY into the same genre. There are sub-genres of science fiction that do not have the same props but still fall under the classification of SF. That is a future post.
How does this relate to Victor Hugo? And do I have enough time left before I am called away from the computer? And does anyone care?
I am seeking to make a matter/form distinction in regards to science fiction. I love the matter of science fiction: the weapons, the ships, the technology (as long as it is a prop, I don’t want some 10 page exposition on some device, I bought the lightsaber now just get on with it) the wildness of it. I love how you can be in one part of the galaxy and walk through a door at the top of a mountain and come out the other side 20 trillion miles away. I love the speculation.
What I don’t love is its form. Its form is dry and crusty. It has none of the romanticism that Hugo had (or even Dostoyevsky). Sure, the pulps were a direct descendant of the earlier romanticism, but only in a cartoonish way.
Note: This is all a generality. There are notable exceptions, and most of the works of science fiction I have read are an admixture of these elements.
Damn, out of time again!