Editorial – July 2017: Should politics be the next SF frontier or has it beaten us there already?

July 2, 2017 | By | 2 Replies More

Hello everyone

Like with all my material, I have files for story, article and editorial ideas. These might be a brief idea or several paragraphs, left to percolate for a time for when it might be suitable to be used. Age can put an often different perspective on things. If I haven’t got anything topical in mind, I browse my editorial file to either pick something that can apply today or might inspire something else. I’m saying all of this to put the paragraph below into context as I wrote it at the end of January this year and let it get side-tracked. Suddenly, it looks topical:-

Politics is a dirty word. Far more treacherous than espionage, full of lies and self-servers no matter where you live in the world. It’s amazing anything is done for the people that those elected are supposed to represent. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t people in politics for the right reason but working through the mire must be problematic. If anything, outside of dictatorships, they don’t always stay in office forever but they also speak the same language and, across countries, rarely have complete trust in each other. It’s also unusual that it’s not more in stories in our genre. Well, that’s outside of monarchies and so forth which is sort of self-limiting although I do think that authors are afraid of handling any other sort of political system. Then again, most characters in stories tend to be honest and you can only do, at most, one lying character at a time or confuse the reader.

Even so, you would have thought more SF stories would come up.

Now you know something of how my mind works. Geek happens.After all, any of the above can get an SF tweak like adding a spot of extended life or someone who can inspire trust but not really trustworthy.


Looking at the current events in the UK right now, when I turn my objectivity on full, the surprising thing was the 70% turn out to vote, an incredible 30% rise in two years for our General Election. So much for the thought circulating by the UK media before this General Election that people in the UK were fed up with voting. If anythingElection that people were fed up with voting., it looks like the blood is up for it, especially in the new generation of voters. I had a thought about that. With all the polls on the Net and how many people add their names to them and getting political response in Parliament, I suspect people have gotten used to knowing they can cause a difference. That’s a strong demonstration of democracy in action.

Of course, circumstances can change in different countries but I think people are learning that the power of the collective vote can make a difference If anything, it’s more a question of getting into regular practice and more willing to do so. Things will have to change. Politics is no longer divorced from normal living. We see the effects constantly and, more importantly, know who’s causing it. That doesn’t mean everyone gets it but enough voters of the coming generations will know. The media and press have certainly made some odd choices as to representative sampling but how, outside of a cybercafe, are you going to find Internet users to ask if and how that their votes are finally being recognised. I could even speculate that some of the 30% comes from people on-line where the media rarely takes meaningful polls and forget we’re filling in polls of various sorts all the time. As we’re used to dissenters and misinformation, I doubt if we can be second-guessed by snap polls of opinion. If anything, we are the hidden voters, able to resist advertising promos because we subconsciously ignore them so it will make things interesting when we are supposedly targeted. Another sign that the world is changing.

Being in a Science Fiction reality, should we be surprised that politics and the type of people in it will have to change as well to match the new world? The collective groan when there’s someone in charge who doesn’t at least appreciate science but wants to take a backward step is getting increasingly deafening. There’s a new rule book being made that baffles current politicians and at least their media spinners. Oddly, SF hasn’t been ahead on this at all and it isn’t as though we haven’t had political SF stories in the past, although we’ve only strayed only into a couple political systems because the other five or so variants are rarely active any more. Even so, it does tend to back-seat other regimes or, as with the Cold War, shows the difference and one to avoid.

Looking at how world-wide politics is changing, you would hope that there would be some reflection of it in our genre even if it’s only to satirise it.

There are lessons learnt here that can be applied. Political systems need change but also stability to survive. Disruptive political systems rarely last for long. If anything, where voting is concerned, people like things orderly so, after a vote, things can return to ‘normal’, whatever that means. Probably why even the most extreme political systems can only be tolerated for so long. It’s the stuff of SF and so easily ignored. If it’s expertise, then maybe SF doesn’t attract political experts as writers. Even so, that hasn’t stopped anyone before. Maybe we can show political thriller writers that the SF variants increases not diminishes the problem.

If you are creating a new reality, spare some thought into what makes governing them work or not as the case might be. It doesn’t even have to be the main thrust of the story but it does have an effect on how the results are affected.


Thank you, take care, good night and Science Fiction needs votes, too, always remember, a vote by one is many en masse.

Geoff Willmetts

editor: SFCrowsnest.org.uk


A Zen thought: I think, therefore I thumb.


What Qualities Does A Super-Geek Have: The ability to think outside of a group but to understand when a group might be needed.


Observation: If there was an extra-terrestrial landing on the Earth right now, the news would probably get on-line first. As such, at least 90% will call it as fake news and the remaining 10% will want a vote as to whether it was true or not.


Observation: The current ITV crime show ‘The Loch’ has yet to bring forward any Zygons as the possible serial killer.



Feeling Stressed: Still imagine how I feel.



Category: Offworld Report, World getting weirder

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

Comments (2)

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  1. EamonnMurphy says:

    SF used to be quite political – Heinlein especially. Double Star was all about a politician and there’s a lot of politics in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and they both won the Hugo. Frank Herbert’s Dune series is much concerned with how things are run.
    Can’t think of anyone modern but in fantasy L.E.Modesitt Jr’s books have carefully worked out political and economic systems.
    I don’t think SF is done with politics yet.

  2. UncleGeoff says:

    Hello Eamonn
    Accent on the ‘used to be’. Even when it is used, as in things like ‘Star Wars’, the Empire didn’t seem that oppressive. I suspect the planets closer to Coruscant were pretty well off compared to out-planets like Tatooine.

    Modesitt is a world-builder so he would consider such things.


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