Okay artists, writers, readers, fanboys, tweeter, tweens and creative types…
Here’s the presupposition: (from Arthur C. Clarke)
Any science sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic.
If Science Fiction is about science (magic) that we can’t do YET (or as with Star Wars — can’t do now, but could long ago) — expecting that time will pass and a lot of it will become science documentary….
and Fantasy is about magic which is really just a different science not available to our world (location) —
and they are both just fiction spinning around in a world that’s either not here, or not now (or both)…
then — what’s behind the trend in the fiction/ art/ narrative itself that just adds dashes and dollops of magic (science that is not here and/or not now), but doesn’t make it the center piece of the story? As in an otherwise historical novel, or romance, mystery or movie — where there is a smattering of magic here and there for color, for laughs, or for diversity — but not the main interest of the story?
Magical Realism (literary) is otherwise ordinary mainstream literature — where one (usually very small but essential) aspect of the story features a magical event, or magical item or character — but the rest of the story ticks along and hums a normal everyday song. Sci-Fi/Fantasy literature would be a story about the magic (or magic item, ability, person, race, event) itself, and the whole world of the story spins around that magic.
1. Game of Thrones — an action, adventure, historical-feeling saga with just a few zombies and 3 hatchling dragons and their mother. Everything else in the story could be an alternate British history (or any other geography dropped into that 11th or 12th century time period.) and,
2. Harry Potter 1-7 — which is great story telling, but couldn’t exist if you pulled the magical creatures, spells, wands, potions, and people out of it.
1. Hunger Games — which again is a virtual political drama and adventure / coming of age story with a bit of technology that separates it from here and now, and
2. Star Wars which depends on the technology and science (as well as the tech / tech-enhanced characters) to function in every aspect of the narrative.
Is there a “growing up” of the SF literature everyone in the 20th Century grew up with — bringing Science Fiction and Science Fantasy into a slightly more mature 21st Century Magical Realist mainstream?
That’s really my question.
Is this really a trend? Will it last? Will literature for children be the landing pad for more magic-y SF in the future? And the Magical Realist SF stuff be the grown-geek fiction? And will that Magical Realist SF (MR-SF) move to take over the position of mainstream literature? Are we headed for MRSF as the norm for art and story telling?
–As in “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” (that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001) or “The Man in the High Tower” (HUGO award winner in 1963, where we got one of our earliest tastes of alternative history — true history with one event that has magically changed — and all the ripples that single change creates.) Alternative Reality art/lit features a single magical change that is meta to the literature itself — the author/artist is the magician, rather than one of the characters (as in “It’s a Wonderful Life”.)
So is this the future of SF lit? Of mainstream lit and art? Are we the adults that want even our political thrillers and historical romances sprinkled with a few potions and fire-breathing lions?