Judith Tarr on The Humane Heart of Science Fiction #SciFiSunday

Some might imagine science fiction stories as cold, distant, calculating, and hard-edged. But science fiction has a long history of humanism and care. Here’s more from legendary science fiction and fantasy writer Judith Tarr:

Care is such an interesting word. It runs a gamut of meaning, from suffering and grief to worry and anxiety, to watchfulness to responsibility to the maintenance of a system or an appliance, to a mild form of love or affection. We talk about a careworn face, or a spirit beaten down by care and trouble, but we also speak of medical care, eldercare, childcare, and care homes in the United Kingdom. Lack of care and attention can cause a machine to break down or a person or an animal to become sick or die. It’s a range of emotion: I care for you; I care too much; I couldn’t care less; I don’t really care, do you?

Science fiction addresses care in all of its contexts. From dystopia to utopia, from the glorification of war to the condemnation of violence, through the full range of emotion both human and otherwise—alien, artificial, virtual—the genre is, in its way, about the many faces of care. We care about the field as fans, about the past and the present and the future, about the world we live in and the worlds we hope to explore, in all their many manifestations. Even when we don’t care, we tend to be passionate about it.

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