Science Fiction has a bad reputation in some quarters. It conjures up ideas of childish fantasies of escape from the hardships of life, naive utopianism, bad prose, carboard characters, improbably lustful female aliens and epic space battles. Surely not the kind of thing that serious people should waste their time on.
There is some truth to this. All these things exist in science fiction, just as in supposedly literary writing there are airheaded girls who think of nothing but making a good marriage, tedious dipsomaniac novelists and acres of unneccessary pondering of the meaning of various banal but oh-so-authentic experiences. It is not my mission to defend schlock, irrespective of the heading it is shelved under in Waterstones. Let’s just agree that good writing transcends genre (that snobbish notion) and that, as far as the rest is concerned, Sturgeon got it right: 90% of everything is crap.