Mr Stross says that what an author writes is a reflection of his society, and currently US genre writers are mirroring the “deep trauma” that 9/11 wrought on America.
“What we write tends to reflect our perceptions of the world around us,” he says, “and if it’s an uncertain world full of shadows it’s no surprise you get wish fulfilment or a bit downbeat.”
So super-hero movies divide the world into black and white moralities and authors try to write alternative histories of key US events, such as the Civil War.
By contrast British genre writers are not looking back, they are eyeing the future with lip-smacking anticipation.
“We’re a bit more upbeat and there’s an openness about there being a future for us,” says Mr Stross.
And they are better getting to grips with the ever-increasing pace of technological change, which makes prediction a trickier job than ever.
The nominees for best novel are,
Iain M Banks – The Algebraist
China Mieville – The Iron Council
Charles Stross – Iron Sunrise
Susanna Clarke – Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
Ian McDonald – River of Gods
My vote goes for Susanna Clarke.
The screenplay/dramatic presentation nominees are fun:
# Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Focus Features) Story by Charlie Kaufman & Michael Gondry & Pierre Bismuth; Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman; Directed by Michael Gondry.
# Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Warner Brothers) Written by Steve Kloves; Based on the novel by J.K. Rowling; Directed by Alfonso Cuarón.
# The Incredibles (Walt Disney Pictures / Pixar Animation Studios) Written & Directed by Brad Bird
# Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow (Paramount Pictures) Written & Directed by Kerry Conran
# Spider-Man 2 (Sony Pictures Entertainment / Columbia Pictures) Screen Story by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar and Michael Chabon; Screenplay by Alvin Sargent; Based on the comic book by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko; Directed by Sam Raimi
A much tougher choice here – I vote for Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
The winners will be announced at Interaction – the WorldCon at Glasgow, UK between 4th and 8th August, 2005 – like right now:)
Some highlights of the Hugo Convention schedule:
- The Plague After Next: How Are We Going to Die? – Greg Bear, et al
- Nitro Ice Cream – nitrogen-based ice cream
- Post Colonialism and Cargo Cults – Harry Turtledove, et al
- So, Private Spaceflight Is Here
- The Limits of Open-Source Knowledge
- The Past, Present and Future of Christian Fantasy
- Board Games for the 21st Century
- Privacy or Paranoia?
- Hans Christian Andersen & the Dark Side of Fairy Tale
- Asexuality is the New Gay, but Is that Also the Default of Science Fiction?
- The Pros and Cons of Blogging Science
- Clones, Children or Countless Lives – Cory Doctorow, et al
- Belly Dancing: Tribal Fusion Techniques
- Byzantium at our Borders in the 21st century: the Future of Europe.
- Harry Potter Has Put Children’s Fantasy Back Fifty Years
- The Mason-Dixon Line Redrawn: America Divided?
- Sunday 20.00,Hugo Awards Ceremony
My clones shall report back to you soon.