I believe that if it were possible to scrap the whole of existing literature, all writers would find themselves inevitably producing something very close to SF ... No other form of fiction has the vocabulary of ideas and images to deal with the present, let alone the future.
The surrealists, and the modern movement in painting as a whole, seemed to offer a key to the strange postwar world with its threat of nuclear war. The dislocations and ambiguities, in cubism and abstract art as well as the surrealists, reminded me of my childhood in Shanghai.
The American Dream has run out of gas. The car has stopped. It no longer supplies the world with its images, its dreams, its fantasies. No more. It's over. It supplies the world with its nightmares now: the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, Vietnam.
No one in a novel by Virginia Woolf ever filled up the petrol tank of her car. No one in Hemingway's postwar novels ever worried about the effects of prolonged exposure to the threat of nuclear war.
There are signs, I think, that people aren't satisfied by consumerism: that people resent the fact that the most moral decision in their lives is choosing what colour their next car will be.
Most English writers are not interested in change but in the social novel. That demands a static backdrop. I'm intensely interested in change - probably as a matter of self-preservation. What the hell is going to happen next?
Electronic aids, particularly domestic computers, will help the inner migration, the opting out of reality. Reality is no longer going to be the stuff out there, but the stuff inside your head. It's going to be commercial and nasty at the same time.
People think that by living on some mountainside in a tent and being frozen to death by freezing rain, they're somehow discovering reality, but of course that's just another fiction dreamed up by a TV producer.
Memories have huge staying power, but like dreams, they thrive in the dark, surviving for decades in the deep waters of our minds like shipwrecks on the sea bed.
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