Philip K. Dick on what is SF and why there is SF (Interviewed by Frank Bertrand)

閱讀出處: "'Philip K. Dick on Philosophy: A Brief Interview,' Conducted by Frank C. Bertrand (1980, 1988)" in Lawrence Sutin (ed.), The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick: Selected Literary and Philosophical Writings (New York: Vintage Books, 1995), pp. 44-47.

p. 44
FB: I would like to start by asking a cliche question phrased a bit differently. How do you define science fiction? In asking this, though, I do not seek a "dictionary"-type definition, but rather what is it about a work of fiction that when you read it causes you to say this is science fiction?

PKD: SF presents in fictional form an eccentric view of the normal or a normal view of the world that is not our world. Not all stories set in the future or on other planets are SF (some are space adventures), and some SF is set in the past or present (time travel or alternate world stories). It is not mimetic of the real world. Central to SF is the idea as dynamism. Events evolve out of an idea impacting on living creatures and their society. The idea must always be a novelty. This is the core issue of SF, even bad SF. That events accord with known scientific truths distinguishes SF from fantasy. Good SF tells a reader something he does not know about a possible world. Thus both the news (novel idea) and possible world (setting) are inventions by the author and not descriptions. Finally, SF makes what would otherwise be an intellectual abstraction concrete; it does this by locating the idea in a specific time and place, which requires the in-
p. 45
venting of that time and place. Characters need not differ from characters in non-SF; it is what they encounter and must deal with that differ[s].

FB: Why is there science fiction? That is, why is it written, why is it read? Would literature be better or worse off if it had never come into existence? Just what function does SF fulfill in literature and for those who choose to read it, or write it?

PKD: There is SF because the human brain craves sensory and intellectual stimulation before anything else, and the eccentric view provides unlimited stimulation, the eccentric view, and the invented world. It is written because the human mind naturally creates, and in creating the world of an SF story the ultimate in human imagination is brought into use; thus SF is an ultimate product of and for the human mind. 〔科幻的功能〕The function of SF psychologically is to cut the reader loose from the actual world that he inhabits; it deconstructs time, space, reality. 〔科幻讀者的特質〕Those who read it probably have difficulty adjusting to their world, for whatever reason; they may be ahead of it in terms of their perceptions and concepts or they may simply be neurotic, or they may have an abundance of imagination. Basically, they enjoy abstract thought. Also, they have a sense of the magic of science: science viewed not as utilitarian but as explorative. 〔談科幻作家〕The writer of SF has in his possession ideas not yet committed to print; his mind is an extension of the corpus of already written SF. He is SF's probe into the future, its vanguard. There is not a vast difference between reading SF and writing it. In both cases there is a joy in the novel -- i.e. new -- idea.

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