A “Sense of WTF?”

I’m one tiny little paragraph away from completing a draft of my paper which, well, I can’t quite call it the first draft. It’s more like draft v2.1. I wrote most of it once before, realized it sucked in structure and voice, restarted with a totally different voice but a similar (though subtly reworked) structure, and then filled in soe of the holes I’d left gaping in the first draft. I’ve edited so much of it already, though, that I anticipate only a half-day next week for editing, which means, once I finish this final paragraph, I’m free, free, free!

Well, sort of. I will have to do up a PowerPoint of some sort (maybe, if I want) and reformulate it as a talk before flying to St. Louis. But before I do that, I’m going to read a novel. For fun. For fun, I tell you.

(Don’t get me started on how badly I’m dying to write some new fiction. Dying, I tell you.)

In the meantime, a discard from among my witty footnotes. (Witty footnotes are a thing with me. I love writing them. Maybe they’re not as witty as I think, though.) Anyway, I quipped that maybe, with the stakes rising so high, SF today aspires not so much to evoke a “sense of wonder” as a “sense of WTF?”… I had Accelerando by Charles Stross, in mind, but a number of other books also rather nicely fit that description, I think.

3 thoughts on “A “Sense of WTF?”

  1. I have one subset of my favorite SF novels and stories that I think of as “holy sh*t” (fill in the vowel) stories – these aren’t stories which are bad, but rather stories which have ideas and executions of those ideas which are so audacious and awesome that I say to myself “holy sh*t”. It’s a joy that I only get from SF.

    Among those books and stories:

    “All You Zombies” Robert Heinlein
    “Thou Shalt Be Mindful of Him” Issac Asimov
    “Foundation” Issac Asimov
    “Blood Music (the novel)” Greg Bear
    “Queen of Angels” Greg Bear
    “Aristoi” Walter Jon Williamson
    “Dispora” Greg Egan
    “Les Fleus du Mal” Brian Stableford
    “Accelerando” Charles Stross

  2. Junsok,

    Yup, a lot of those works are on my Sense of WTF list. I’d add in Tiger, Tiger / The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester; Schild’s Ladder by Greg Egan (though Diaspora is, yes, way more a work of WTF? scale); Star Maker and Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon. Oops, and A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge. Oh, and some of the stories included in that SFBC anthology One Billion A.D., especially the Reed and the Stross stories.

    (Note, there are SF books on my shelf I can recommend for far different reasons, and it was not this “sense of WTF?” that first drew me into SF, but that’s for another discussion.)

    Funny, I have Aristoi on my shelf, and read a chunk before my trip last summer. Have been meaning to get back to it. Not quite sure what I think of it, except it is indeed something to be reckoned with. I was quite surprised to find it used on a shelf in Itaewon somewhere!


    I didn’t say in my email? I’ll email you again. If there’s a title on Junsok’s (or my) list that interests you, let me know. I have a lot of those books kicking around here.

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