As snow and ice bury the east coast, John E. O. Stevens, Fred Kiesche and Jeff Patterson turn their thoughts to the cold, merciless abyss that engulfs us all. That’s right, SPACE is the place, and they’ve invited Leah Petersen along to talk about the stories set there, and the role it plays.
Science Fiction’s early depictions of space cast it as a medium to be crossed, or an analog for the sea, facilitating trade, exploration, and empire-building. Frank Herbert made it a commodity, accessible only to those who gave up their humanity. Stephen Baxter filled it with incomprehensible machinations. Star Trek used it as a divide between cultures. Kristine Katherine Rusch riddled it with lethal anomalies. Vernor Vinge gave it dominion over the rise of intelligence. C. J. Cherryh, Samuel Delany, Karen Lord, Alastair Reynolds, Lois McMaster Bujold, and many others shaped the infinite void into a narrative tool. Now, with Star Wars,The Expanse, and a possible new ninth planet, space is once again imposing itself on popular culture. Is it up to the challenge?
As always, the discussion turns to recent culture consumed.