Robert J. Sawyer 談 Michael Crichton 的作品

加拿大科幻作家 Robert J. Sawyer 今年元月在 Ottawa Citizen 上發表的文章,為 Michael Crichton 作品裡有時過於唬爛不實的科學內容辯護。其實我覺得多少也有點為自己打預防針的味道。


對我而言,本篇有趣的地方不在於 Crichton 如何撰寫科幻小說,而在於 Sawyer 搬出 Jules Verne 和 H. G. Wells 作比較,說明何者才是科幻的精神所在。筆記如下,粗體是重點:
paragraph 5:
But now the future is here, and it's Wells, not Verne, who is still widely read and taught. Why? Because while Verne was an ubergeek in his day, nothing is less interesting than old technology; Wired magazine's three-part barometer of "wired," "tired," and "expired" gives the new-and-exciting a half-life of about six months.
paragraph 6:
But while Verne was playing with his slide rule, Wells was talking about issues. True, they were the issues of his time -- and you might think that would make his stories even more irrelevant to today's readers than Verne's 19th-century tales of steam-driven machines.

以下以兩部名作為例,說明 Wells 如何以科幻當作工具探究當代議題。
paragraph 9:
And although Verne probably said plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose with a more convincing accent than Wells, it is old H. G.'s literary legacy that has benefited from that truism. A huge, uncaring power striding in, deposing the local government, and crushing everything in sight? The widening gap between the world's haves and have-nots? Issues that are as relevant today as they were over a century ago, more's the pity.

PS. 我和六百的討論
我個人的感覺的 與其批評克萊頓近期的東西是 bad science, 更糟糕是他們同時還是 bad fiction :p 其實 Crichton 的很多東西(至少,他的三本近作)最符合我心中所謂 "偽科幻" 的定義--這些作品的目的已經不在故事而在於文以載道,而且道溢於文。更白的說,這幾部作品都只是在賣特定的價值觀。賣價值觀不見得不好,但是作者顯然把賣價值觀看得比 science 重要也比 fiction重要了。

〔Daneel Lynn〕所以我才認為 Robert J. Sawyer 此舉其實是為自己打預防針。他的東西我沒在跟,有跟的人可以注意一下他會不會開始轉向寫 Crichton 式的 technothriller。至少行內已經有 Greg Bear 在跟進了。

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