John C. Wright (johncwright) wrote,
John C. Wright

Drake Equations and ‘It Ain’t Gunna Happen’ Science Fiction


A reader whom I will, for the sake of anonymity, refer to merely as ‘Curmudgeon’ (albeit his real name is Homer Snodgrass of 12 Manitowish Avenue, Mammoth Falls, Wisconsin, 54545, and his social security number is 1205-119-8577, and the PIN number of his bank card is 4560) holds the opinion that too many modern persons of the youthful persuasion (he refers to them as “kids!” or “punks!”) a devoted to science fictional ideas as a thinly disguised substitute for spiritual longings.

‘Curmudgeon’ reads and promotes what he calls the ‘It Ain’t Gunna Happen’ School of science fiction. This school is remarkably similar to the Mundane Movement of Really Boring Self-Righteous Left-Leaning Science Fiction, being mostly a list of things that ain’t gunna happen.

Here is a summary of his manifesto:

(1) There will be no colonization of space, either O’Neil or otherwise, for the same reason no one lives in a submarine at the bottom of a trench in the Arctic sea;
(2) we are never meeting any intelligent extraterrestrial life;
(3) or if we do, they will be incomprehensible, so much so that even the question of whether they are truly ‘intelligent’ or not will be debatable;
(4) there will be no faster than light travel – It is not just a good idea, it’s the Law;
(5) medicine may shift where the top of the bell curve falls, but human beings are not going to live much past 80 or 90;
(6) psionics is just magic wearing a lab coat;
(7) time travel is less possible and less realistic than fairy unicorn sparkly magic;
(8) The Soviets and the Red Chinese and Cubans all promised and vowed to bring about modern, scientifically-run secular humanist utopias very much along the lines of Gene Roddenberry’s ideas. (So… how is that workin’ out for ya’? What is the murder count now for the Utopians? Upwards of 110,000,000? Let’s give the idea one more try!)

Now, for some reason, my friend Curmudgeon thinks I am of his school of science fiction. I am not.

In fact, I am a founding member of the Space Princess school of science fiction writing, which, to date, includes me and a writer named Edward Willet: Albeit we two have retroactively included every big name Willet and I can think of into our movement against their will and over their strong objections, if they ever had any female royalty from outerspace in any story.

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