[ExI] Defeatist Science Fiction Writers

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Mon Jun 16 14:29:25 UTC 2008

On Mon, Jun 16, 2008 at 2:51 PM, Tom Nowell <nebathenemi at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

> I disagree with the idea that literature became more pessimistic around
> 1900 - what we in modern times consider "classics of English Literature" are
> full of pessimists. Shakespeare's Tragedies are usually regarded as his
> greatest works, and Charles Dickens reflected the worst of Victorian London.
> Great Expectations - what a happy title for book, suggesting positive
> outcomes, as Pip gets a scholarship so he can make something of himself.
> Alas, he ends up loveless, Miss Haversham is bitter to the end, and Magwidge
> gets sent back to jail for the crime of returning from Australia.

There is another important angle.

What is pessimism and what is optimism?

Is it really "optimist" from our point of view to see, e.g, old-fashioned,
perhaps neoluddite, forces defeat and destroy - for their own good, needless
to say - some sort of posthumans, with the author obviously expecting the
reader to rejoice?

On the contrary, a writer may perfectly sympathise with H+ values or heroes,
and qualify as a transhumanist himself, even though in his fiction they
happen to be overcome by an adverse fate.

Stefano Vaj
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