Friday, 11 May 2007

Gre-Fi (the new Sci-Fi)

Sustainability may just be, to culture now, what science has been to culture for several hundreds of years; what Ruth Benedict called 'the tree trunk concept' - the fundamental orientation or paradigm around which all other concerns revolve. This may or may not be valid (it's just a perspective). But it leads to an intriguing cultural possibility: Gre-Fi - green fiction - which is futurist, describing how life may unfold as the developments underway now harden and thicken. What will life be like in 30 years? is again a radical question, and the technological aspects (bar a few like nanotechnology, which have major green and ethical dimensions too) seem less likely to be instrumental in shaping entirely new patterns of living than the green ones. How will we live at home, in communities, what will work and leisure be like, will we still 'shop'? (as opposed to order/barter...), will there be rationing, what will be the politics (world government - to tackle a world problem?) and what are all the currently unexpected consequences (will we all have home farms in place of lawns and roofs...?)

This leads onto an idea - why not run a Gre-Fi competition?

I recognise that I am not a credible host for this on my own, but I am talking to various publishers at the moment about marketing issues following my booksellers association gig, so I will table it with them. It would be a short story competition, and if it took off in the blogosphere as an interesting liuttle pheneomenon, they would have the option to publish the compendium. We could publish all the submissions as mini blogs (just as I did the book sections). I could quite fancy trying a couple of gre-fi stories myself, although that would debar me from any judging process if I entered them for this.

What is the point of this exercise?
1. science fiction writing has been a major source of new ideas, subsequently becoming real products
(for instance Arthur C Clark invented the staionary orbit satellite)
2. we need lots of new ideas about how to live sustainably, beyond the current products and options
3. there is too much dystopia, not enough positive imagination
4. there are many frustrated fiction writers in our midst
5. it would be fun and lite, you can write a good short story in your spare time in a couple of weeks

Thoughts, suggestions, anybody else like to help me work on this/work it up?


The Gardener said...

That's a great idea!
The fact is we all know that global warning is changing faster than we first thought. And I am also convinced that we may no longer be able to avoid dangerous C.Change but we Can avoid a catastrophic one.

So, human is facing a new concept of future. Indeed, we must act in a positive and lifeliable way to build it. How strange it is...

We can't use "stay and see" attitude anymore.

So, people thoughts and views about future even if it is science fiction, should be very interesting especially when it is dealing with sutainability!

Helen said...

I LOVE this idea. I'm a big fan of fiction as a means of exploring ideas and have gone through phases of reading tonnes of dystopian-future stuff. It would be really nice to look at more positive future imagined worlds.

Not sure I'll contribute - but will mull it over and see if inspiration strikes. If there's something I can do to help, let me know.