Jason Stoddard, man of many excellent short stories, has posted his Positive Science Fiction Manifesto. I've been following the rise of the debate among writers and editors about this hot issue with quite some interest, as it is quite pertinent to a young wannabe writer like myself. Should I jump on the bandwagon of this "positive SF" movement, which claims that writing a dystopian future is the easy way out, and the true challenge lies in writing tales of a future where not all is bleak and hopeless.

So read Jason's post, dear reader, and browse through Jetse De Vries' (former Interzone fiction editor) posts on the subject, and make up your own mind.

I for one have decided I'll just follow my gut feeling. I believe that writing truly optimistic speculative fiction at this particular juncture in time is difficult. We are beset with challenges, problems, and disasters at all sides. We may be at the verge of a new Great Depression, and the turmoil in the Middle East is far from over. The Russian Bear is flexing its claws, sharpened on its natural resources. Climate change is getting harder and harder to ignore. Combine all this and you get a highly volatile mix, which by god I hope doesn't explode.

Still, it offers many opportunities for writers to explore these challenges, and where they might lead us. My own thoughts are not at all exclusively negative, no, but I don't think we will get through this period in time without some mighty bumps. Somehow I do feel we will surmount all these difficulties, and figuring out how is probably what Jason and Jetse would call a "positive" attitude. So perhaps my stories will turn out to be positive after all. We'll see.

Back to writing.