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Note 5. Not Pathetic 'Sigh-Fie,' but Great Literature

Much of the Best World Literature is DarkSF. Contrary to casual popular perception, much of history's best literature is fantastic extrapolation, also known as SF. From Homer to Dante, from Plato's Timaios: Atlantis to Daniel Defoe's 1719 Robinson Crusoe*, from Shakespeare to William Golding and beyond, and let's not forget the impossibly large white SF whale in Moby Dick—. I've given this lecture before, and it always opens eyes and minds, inevitably with gratitude and a sense of liberation.

DarkSF is the Dark Chocolate of Imaginative Literature. All literature is by definition imaginative, but SF in particular is a literature of fresh ideas, deeply felt emotion, boldness, artistry, poetry, and soaring imagination (when not being debased as fast food for slow tastes). For example, we know cheap, predictable monster movies when we see them, lacking characterization, plot, or imagination. It's not the monster genre that's bad—for example, think of Mary Shelley's 1816 story told at Lake Geneva on a dark and stormy night during the Year With No Summer, Frankenstein; or: The Modern Prometheus; or the 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, dir. Don Siegel, based on Jack Finney's 1955 novel The Body Snatchers; just to name two of many.


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