ACCORDING TO Donald A. Wollheim, Golden Age science fiction typically imagined the future would unfold according to a certain pattern:[Speaking of reviews and science fiction-y writing, I also saw that The Australian yesterday put on its twitter feed a link that actually worked to a review of Helen Dale's Kingdom of the Wicked: the first mainstream media review I have seen. (At Amazon, women who writes at The Spectator sometimes, as does Dale, complains that reviewers are deliberately ignoring the book because they are all Lefties still wanting to punish her for the Hand That Signed the Paper hoax.) Anyway, the review is not good.
From Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov to Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas (and on and on), one discovers this basic narrative recurring over and over again in science fictional narratives about the human “destiny” to inherit the stars.
- humans explore and colonize the solar system;
- humans explore and colonize extrasolar planets;
- a Galactic Federation/Republic/Empire emerges;
- the Empire enjoys a peak period characterized by a stable metropole in the galactic center (however constituted) and ongoing exploration at “the Rim”;
- this peak period is followed by decadence and collapse;
- the collapse is followed by a Dark Age (of whatever length);
- a second Empire is established that is imagined to be perfected and permanent;
- and, finally, the people of the future undertake The Challenge to God: sometimes this literally culminates in overthrowing some sort of malevolent God Thing, while at other times it involves innovating some way to survive the heat death of the universe (or evolving into energy beings of pure light, et cetera).
Update: I see now that a short, negative, review has also appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald. I found that via a tweet on Dale's own twitter feed. She also indirectly referenced The Australian's review. Yet I am sure she said somewhere that she doesn't read mainstream reviews, after her experience with HTSTP.]