Poetry and personal blog – Spilling my guts to strangers

Ray Bradbury

The recent death of Ray Bradbury had me thinking about the role of science fiction in our culture and for me personally.

Yesterday I tweeted a link to a USA Today article titled Ray Bradbury Brought Literary Respect to Science Fiction. Something about that headline seems to imply that respect for the genre wasn’t there before Bradbury: Do George Orwell and H.G. Wells ring a bell with anybody, just to name two well-respected authors of science fiction (or speculative fiction, if you will)?

Dystopian novels such as Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four are considered science fiction, right? Often these novels are set in the future and while they may or may not feature advanced technology, they imagine what our behavior will be based on our current social constructs.

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about my six all-time favorite novels. Four of them are science fiction novels. It occurred to me that there is a similarity between science fiction and poetry that draws me to it. As I see it, the science fiction novel is  one giant metaphor or allusion to something else–a creation of an imaginary world to comment incisively on the current, real world.

Science fiction can also be used to comment on history. I’m finally taking time to read Stephen King’s 11/22/63, which involves decidedly low-tech time travel (i.e., walking through an invisible portal located at the local diner) in order to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Great story. King is in fine form with this one.

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Natasha Trethewey

Not for nothing, we have a new US Poet Laureate in Natasha Trethewey. She’s a Pulitzer Prize winner and the current Poet Laureate of Mississippi. Hear her read her lovely poem “Monument” at Poets.org.

© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2012

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Comments on: "Poetry, Science Fiction, and Assorted Ramblings" (11)

  1. I agree, I was thinking yesterday — wile writing a poem for dVerse’s tribute to Ray Bradbury –that this poem should be part of a novel or at least the beginning of a short story. Point– the two genre share my heart. I have read the biggies, but other than that, I have been inspired by the women who combine fantasy and sci-fi like Sheri Tepper, Kate Wilhelm, Octavia Butler, Ursula le Gwyn, Marge Piercy, et al. They have accompanied my life.

    • From what I’ve noticed about your poetry, Susan, you have a wonderful way of creating specific environments, and they are not always of this world! As for these women, thanks for introducing them to me, I definitely will look them up.

  2. I never thought of comparing science fiction to poetry and I love the connection you’ve made here. I’m not a great fan of reading science fiction, but I loved Star Trek – lol!
    Thanks for such an interesting article, Adrienne. Blessings!

    • Ha, Star Trek is great! From what I understand, the starship was supposed to represent the ideal world were different races (and species!) worked together in harmony. Plus the fight scenes and makeup were darn entertaining! ;p Blessings to you. ❤

      • Yeah! Another Star Trek fan! And, oh, yes, those fight scenes and the make-up and that world that never judged anyone by their ethnicity. Perfect! 🙂

  3. That is indeed the point of a lot of science fiction and poetry, to make a commentary on this world in a different setting and expose its follies. I remember one Star Trek (The Original series) episode called “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” where two aliens hate each other. One is black on the left side of his body and white on the right, the other is the opposite. However each ones claims he is the superior being. At the end they find their people have destroyed their planet in a war. The episode ends with both blaming and fighting each other thus exposing the folly of racism. Bradbury also did this in his work. He will be missed by all. : ^ (

    • Indeed, Rolando! I have seen that episode, great stuff and thanks for reminding me of it. I’m also a rabid fan of the Twilight Zone series, which also addressed such issues about society and human nature. I’m even thinking Bradbury may have written an episode or two for that show.

  4. To be honest, I heard and read lots about Bradbury, but I never read his books. And, what’s more, I love science-fiction and I’ve read multiple other sci-fi books/authors. So, yeah. Maybe he did make sci-fi famous, but there sure was sci-fi before him.

  5. Same here. and agreed!

  6. Interesting, I never thought of a link between the two, but your argument makes sense. Both SF and poetry have been favourites of mine since childhood too. Off to read about your 6 favourite novels now.

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