It created a flap, a few people signed on, most everybody missed the point, so now what? First off let me say that I’m not sure science fiction needs another sub-genre. It’s getting a little ridiculous with such labels as steampunk, new weird, chickpunk, slipstream, or the silliest of all: military sf. (Isn’t it all military sf, or almost all?) So in the end, I’m not sure that I care that the mundane sf movement never got any traction. How do I know it didn’t get any traction? Well, the mundane sf blog hasn’t been updated since June. Since half a year in Internet terms is way dead, apparently the very promoters of the movement don’t care about it anymore. I’m guessing that no one else does either.
I have to say, though, that I do care.
I recently came across a website, vMeme21.com that promises to launch an Internet magazine in January with a more noble type of sf. vMeme’s manifesto states they are interested in Wellsian science fiction, stuff with a message. The editor states that vMeme21 aspires to provide “an operating system for civilization itself — one that maximizes personal power, freedom, and morality, and therefore provides the greatest opportunity for us to thrive.”
He uses the word “mundane” in his manifesto and feels that the type of work he’s looking for is slandered by the term. Considering the Island of Dr. Moreau, The Time Machine, and War of the Worlds amongst others, wouldn’t fit the definition of Mundane, I don’t think he has to worry. But his point is well taken. He’s looking for something other than what he considers the typical gee whiz, space opera. Put ’em on a space ship, send ’em through time, give ’em a sidekick with six boobs. Boom! A science fiction novel. He wants something more.
I can’t speak for the entire field, but there is a lot of sf with a message available, mundane or otherwise. After all there is such a thing as feminist science fiction, much of which deals with alternatives to the current culture. Can’t get a much bigger idea than one that upsets the applecart completely. And certainly no other genre deals with ideas as much as science fiction. That’s the whole basis of science fiction: ideas.
I do know what he means though. He is looking for mundane sf even if he doesn’t want to use the word. He’s looking for near future stuff. Scenarios that are believable. He wants recipes for solving problems. Utopias as well as dystopias. Ideas. And he wants it well written.
He says it’s going to be interactive. Lots of multimedia stuff. So I’m interested. Doesn’t take much for me, though, I’m always interested when a new pub comes out that promises something more. I always sit up and take notice. I always subscribe. (It’s only five bucks a year for vMeme21, so there’s not much risk.) I always remain skeptical. Every editor is different, every zine, magazine, manifesto, and blog is different. What remains to be seen is whether the writing is engaging. If we can solve the global warming, world peace, and bad breath in the bargain, well that’s nice too.
Read the vMeme21 Manifesto. Tell me what you think.
The Textile Planet