Another thing: Just thinking on the death of Arthur C. Clarke, I wonder if I’m the only one who remembers when science fiction authors were frequently brought in as guests on television talk shows. It used to be that, on Johnny Carson or Larry King’s respective programmes, you’d get Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, and to a lesser degree, Clarke, all discussing current events and how they relate to ideas presented in their works.
You don’t see stuff like that much these days. In fact, you don’t often see fiction writers of any stripe talking about their work on TV. I think the two American programmes where you do regularly see writers is The Daily Show and the Colbert Report, but those guests tend to be non-fiction authors writing about current events. Given Stephen Colbert’s real life passion for science fiction and fantasy, you’d think you’d see more of that in the show.
It was Clarke who once said, “Politicians should read science fiction, not detective and western stories.” I don’t think it was intended to denegrate either of the latter two genres but it was, I think, intended underline why good science fiction exists in the first place. Politicians are in the business of creating public policy. It would be wise to heed warnings found in great science fiction to help them create more intelligent laws.
I think in general these days, our popular culture gives science fiction short shrift and we’re poorer for it.