FI

Aliens Mixed Up With Politics

C
Campus Change Report
25.09.2016
Extraterrestrial fans are in fierce political argument. How would you greet an alien?

In the global world we live in, a very important question is how we face other cultures and otherness. The answer to this question depends on your political views. Politics are not only made in administration buildings. One real political war is bubbling under in the circles of science fiction and fantasy literature.
 

Civil War divides genre in two camps

In outer space everything is pulled in opposite directions. So maybe it is the law of nature that politics are polarised very easily. This polarisation has driven science fiction and fantasy literature into Civil War.

Even though science fiction literature and fantasy literature offer us wild stories in which robots and dragons are ordinary, the genre is strongly related to world politics. Roughly speaking, science fiction´s Civil War can be divided in two: Rights and Lefts. “Left writers” such as Kim Stanley Robinson and Ursula K Le Guin are concentrating on consolidation and conflict solutions in their books. Lefts have always been interested in a better future which will only be achieved when the whole of humanity learns from it's mistakes.

“Right writers” include the likes of Mike Resnick and Newt Gingrich, who was actually a presidential candidate for the United States Republican Party. These writers often represent human survival based on an individual´s bravery, strong leadership and innovation. The future is built depending on the past and traditional believes.

What combines these two camps is their ultimate love for science fiction and fantasy. The light sabres of political disagreements have cut the genre in half. Peace negotiations are nowhere near.
 

Hounds hunting Hugo

An internet battle “Puppy Wars” or “Puppy Gate” is a movement from writers on the right who claim that the prestigious writer´s prize, Hugo, is awarded a lot more often to the writers on the left for political reasons.

A site called “Sad Puppies” established an internet campaign that encourages their followers to use Hugo's public voting to vote more right wing writers as nominees. With the help of the motivated campaign, in 2015 71% of the nominees were right wing writers.

After the release of the Hugo nominees, writers from different genres, the father of Game of Thrones George R.R Martin being one of them, criticised how Hugo had become a political handler. According to Martin, Hugo had been irreversibly destroyed.
 

The future – dystopia or utopia?

Can fiction and fantasy really affect politics? No matter what your answer is, in the end it doesn't matter who wins the Hugo prize – political choices will always turn our future into a dystopia or a utopia.

The biggest phenomenon of our era is globalisation and multiculturalism. Many find it important that we are able accept differences and different cultures around us. Others feel like globalisation is threatening our traditions and individuality.

For a moment, try to forget politics and ask yourself this: if a UFO appeared in the sky, what would you do?
 

Read more about the two camps:


Lefts:

Kim Stanley RobinsonMars-trilogy
Ursula K Le GuinThe left arm of Darkness
George R. R. Martin – The song of fire and ice-series
 

Rights:

Gene Wolfe – The shadow of the Torturer
Mike Resnick – Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge
John W. Campbell Who Goes There?
 

Social Media Push: How would you greet an alien? This question has driven the science fiction world into a Civil War.

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