Can Science Fiction be positive again?

I recently read an article which bemoaned the lack of positivity in modern science fiction. The golden age of the genre according to Robert Silverberg, others put it earlier, was the 1950s. Writers predicted technological advances, the conquest of space and innumerable triumphs for humanity. In a rather austere era between warfare and social change they believed in a better future. Today there is a lot of dystopia. Writers are reflecting the world around them, which may not be what their audience wants.

Our belief in unlimited progress has stalled, despite having access to technologies not dreamt of in the 1950s. An expanded media feeds us bad news and causes us to mistrust leaders. Critical and negative views can easily be published, without editorial input. To stand out in a crowd some writers see the need to be extreme. To shock and horrify readers they provide tales of humanity’s capacity to destroy rather than create.

My own published fiction in the last five years has largely been negative yet as a reader, and viewer, I seek out more optimistic material. Science Fiction at its best creates a sense of wonder and those who follow it often want to live in a better place. We need to imagine it for them.

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