From the Editor

SFRA Review, vol. 52, no. 2

From the SFRA Review

Spring 2022

Ian Campbell
Editor, SFRA Review

As I write this, the ghastly oligarch Elon Musk has just purchased Twitter, the ghastly platform for racism, misogyny, and encroaching fascism. Twitter can, if extremely carefully curated, be a medium for discovery, but mostly, a tremendous amount of energy is spent by people trying to earn the title of Cleverest Person of the Last 30 Minutes. I suppose I can hold out hope that un-banning Golden Toilet’s account will result in another Trump/Biden election, which is the only way we’re going to stave off Braindead Gilead for another four years. Musk and Twitter are both part of a Bad Science Fiction future. We wanted space communism and jetpacks; we got uncharismatic oligarchs and micro-rants. I wanted to find a source where someone discussed this at length, but the first thing I found was, of course, a Tweet:

I have a special loathing for Musk because, in addition to everything else questionable about him, he claims to be a fan of Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels and to have read them multiple times: he’s even named some of the SpaceX ships after ships in the novels. While it’s definitely amusing to see a rocket recovery ship called Of Course I Still Love You, it’s also clear that he either didn’t understand the books or has chosen to serve as a counterexample. In the Culture, everyone has the freedom to do as they wish; many people have speculated that Musk is buying Twitter purely so that he can ban the account of the teenage boy who tracks Musk’s private jet. More than anything, Musk is the villain from a Banks novel. Specifically, he’s Joiler Veppers from Surface Detail: an archcapitalist with vile appetites who profits from the suffering of others. Had we the technology to capture people’s mindstates after death and send them to a digital hell, Musk would surely try to leverage it—but of course, we already have Facebook and whatever the Metaverse is going to be.

In this issue of SFRA Review, we have elements of a better SF future: specifically, the second half of our Hungarian Futurisms symposium. We very much hope that in some way, the essays, fiction and reviews herein can help us to understand how things might, could or should be better.

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SFRA Review is the flagship publication of the Science Fiction Research Association since 1971.

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