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I have been a great SF lover. Being a literature student, SF fascinated me more because it takes us to the next level of human experiences -- the next dimension. Owing to my science and literature background I was able to connect Marx to HG Wells and George Orwell to Asimov. I found the darkness of Nietzsche and Kafka in the depression of The Time Machine. And that I felt was a perfect blend.

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Comment by Swapnil Bhartiya on December 12, 2009 at 14:30
In order to live up to Mr Nautiyal's desires, we have recently launched India's promising science fiction website KALKION.com. And as for Mr Mishra -- action speaks louder than words and one can not grow big by cutting another line. Appreciation, encouragement and support is the key. Not to save one's own chair of being the sole 'saviour' of Indian SF.

http://kalkion.com
Comment by Swapnil Bhartiya on June 13, 2007 at 11:58
Thanks for your valuable views.
Comment by Dr.Arvind Mishra on June 13, 2007 at 1:07
Whatever poor undrestanding of your stand I have its only technology and that too its tools and gadgetary part you talk about and nothing else .Again you advocate the knowledge of 'current technological developments'which only you claim to have and your sf fraternity is poorly behind.Swapnil if you are not talkinng technology what you are talking about these days?And you fantisize that an sf writer should necessarily be a technology expert...errr Have i missed you again???
Comment by Swapnil Bhartiya on June 12, 2007 at 18:00
respected Arvind ji,

I doubt I ever advocated promotion of technology in this thread. You seem to have missed the whole point. A writer cannot shut himself in a closet; if a writer is not aware of current technological developments: politics of technology, and lives in his own closed shell, he would not be able to produce sensible work. He must be an EXPERT, because others are investing time in reading what he is telling, if he is telling nothing what a reader already doesn't know, there is little chance he will get read the next time.

Gabriel García Márquez once wrote "...races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth."

..............................

Respected Nautiyal Ji,

Thanks for explaining a bit the dire need of having our own research labs/moon missions. And also acknowledging the shortfalls the Indian SF community has. We can improve only if we realize our weakness and take corrective steps to improve ourselves.

If we keep this corrective mentality, I hope we would be able to take Indian SF to greater heights.
Comment by Dr.Arvind Mishra on June 12, 2007 at 16:41
There seems some sort of communiaction gap amongst the sci-fi writers and critics of Indian sf themselves.On one hand Swapnil advocates for promotion of Technology but immediately starts codemning India's moon mission stating it to be counterproductive strategy in view of other pertinent needs of poor.This contradictory stand is misguiding and demands for a cool minded appraisal of authors own stand by himself.Though the issue has been very clearly presented by Dr. Nautiyal.
I am afraid Swapnil is too much obsessed by/with the technology but sf is not only about new gadgets and tools but much beyond than that. India has an array of talented and very well educated sf writers many of them are Phd's.And they have good understanding of the subject if not only keeping them abreast with new gizmos.That may matter a bit but it does not mean that Indian sf writers are a pathetic lot.The only problem as rightly indicated by Dr. Nautiyal is of language. Works in vernacular and Hindi languages are not being put/projected to the international audience owing to certain technical and other limitations which are being overcome very fast.So instead of harping on the status of Indian sf Mr Swapnil and like must come with a helping hand to addrtess the said situation.
Comment by Dr. Chandra Mohan Nautiyal on June 12, 2007 at 14:54
Mr. Swapnil's sentiments should make any of his friend and acquaintences (and I am one of them)proud. We all feel for the poor of the world. However, this doesn't mean major scientific missions should be ignored considering them a waste.

The mission to moon has many scienifically signifacant goals. Over 5 decades ago, when rocket and satellite work was initiated by Sarabhai, it was criticised. Today our communication network (TV, phone and many) depend on this space programme. Moon mission will be a great step towards increased capabilities in space travel, defence and new materials etc. Besides, any space mission has many spin-offs. Many of the high temperature materials developed during Apollo mission by NASA, are in use in industry world- wide. The light and strong material developed during the space research was used for making light and strong crutches for the handicapped in India! The energy devices, the food developed and a range of communication and other technologies have improved our capabilities. They serve the poor too. A phone call will not save life of a rich person alone.

I agree that sci-fi should not be limited to swift rockets, exotic galaxies and shimmering objets. Indian sci-fi may not be great but the situation is not all that deplorable. Yet, I would tend to go with Mr. Sapnil's opinion that many of Indian sci-fi writers don't have the expected level of science background. If our writers' books are not seen in the book shelves, it's not just the quality of India sci- fi to be blamed. It's also marketing and profit calculations at work. Imagine the profit difference between a 10 dollar book and a 50 rupee book! Besides, Hindi or Marathi are limited to literate and bibliophille India while English has much larger world base. Usually English can be related to the more educated lot in places where it's not the naitve language.

Dr. Mishra has quoted from a report and has brought out the fact that Indian Sci-fi scene is not so dismal. Well done. But we have to work for more S&T in Indian Si-fi and also greater exposure to Indian Sci- fi by translating into other (especially English) languages.

Both the persons are excellent sci-fi writers and I am sure the world (and not just India) will get to read them.

Self- criticism is a sure way towards improvement but we have to have hope and wish.

CM Nautiyal
Comment by Swapnil Bhartiya on June 12, 2007 at 14:01
I highly appreciate senior science writer and elder brother Arvind Mishra ji's efforts to bring up a dynamic Yahoo Group and that was kind of him to make me aware of the realities of Indian SF. But, unfortunately, I work in the market and I don't see much of science fiction around. I am worried about the scenario. When I can see so many indeginous magazines on travel, cookery, technology, but find not that many for literature let alone
science fiction -- I get shocked. But there is another grim reality, most of the book shops are flooded with western literature as well as science fiction. That shows that is strong presence of good SF readers, but the writers are not capable of producing quality work. And as I said in most of the cases the most learnt people in India are not writers and most of the SF writers are not that well informed. Only the few from the clan of elder brother Arvind Mishra ji (I can comment on him, because he is the one I have read the most) is trying to maintain a very tight balance. And I am happy to have lived in his times.

Sir, we may discuss alot of things in conference and try to pat our backs that we are doing good work, but when nothing is visible in open -- I see little usefulness. Also in India there is a strange system -- radical ideas or changes are discouraged, we try to maintain the status quo.

There is a saying as well, those who refuse to change, perish. I used to be a big supporter of space age and futuristic stories, but in recent years, being a student of 'development communication', and having worked on few of the UNDP projects, with rag pickers, I got an altogether different insight and I wondered, how our science fiction is helping them? I found no connection. How could a country like India afford to plan manned moon trip -- that too for no real purpose but get into that club -- when most of the villages don't even have pukke road? Similarly, how could a sensible science fiction writer have the luxury to imagine futuristic world without
any connection with the poor and the not-haves.

That drove me to do some experiments in science fiction and break the trend and come out with something which could address, put light on those pressing problems. I hope to find like-minded friend who want to get out of the closet of space age and try to find a way to address some hard-hitting issues of our society through science fiction. If we succeed in doing so, then I hope I can say proudly I lived a life worth living.

Regards

Swapnil
Comment by Dr.Arvind Mishra on June 12, 2007 at 1:17
I do not think present scenario of sf in India is as bad as depicted by the learned blogger.Here is at least a glimpes of The status enjoyed by InA A Report of the Eighth Indian Science Fiction Conference
- Dr.Srinarahari
Indian Association for Science Fiction Studies (IASFS) had organized the Eighth National Science Fiction Conference in collaboration with Marathi Vidnyan Parishad (MVP) Aurangabad Chapter and Vignyan Prasar New Delhi at Maharashtra Mahasool Prashikshan Prabodhini Aurangabad, Maharashtra State in India on 11th and 12th of November 2006. This major national event comprised of the keynote address by eminent Astrophysicist and leading Science Fiction writer Dr.Jayanth Narlikar, sessions on Science Fiction writing in Indian Languages - past, present and future, Science Fiction and Media, Literary Criticism on SF, Science Fiction Narration and a Video Conference with Professor James Gunn, Director, Center for Science Fiction Studies, Kansas University, Kansas, USA.
The inaugural function began with the invocation BY Ms.Manali Garge, which was followed by the traditional event of ‘lighting the lamp’ by Dr.Naganath Kottapalle, the honorable Vice-Chancellor of Dr.Ambedkar University, Aurangabad and other dignitaries who were on the dais. In his inaugural speech, Dr.Kottapalle brought out the rationale in the combination of Science and Fiction. Later, Subhodh Mahanti of Vignyan Prasar New Delhi, Dr.Srinarahari General Secretary of IASFS, Dr.Ranjan Garge president of MVP, Aurangabad Chapter, Mr.Ananth Deshponde the Chairman of National Centre for Science Communicators, Mumbai highlighted the activities and achievements of their respective organizations.
Dr.Purushothaman, Founder-President of IASFS, in his presidential address said that the shift in the focus from writers to readers was a major breakthrough in the growth of the IASFS and in its membership. The IASFS conferences are known for bringing out a variety of themes for the discussion among the participants in its annual conferences. In this regard, the sessions in the present conference have been devoted to discussions on the developments of the genre in various Indian vernacular languages, which is another first and a must for the propagation of science and SF in India.
In his keynote address, Dr.Jayanth Narlikar said that Science Fiction writing is vital for the growth of science as today’s imagination can turn into tomorrow’s reality. He emphasized that scientific literature must indicate the real progress of science. While sharing his personal experience, among the various modes of writing namely, the research papers, reviews, articles and books, encyclopedia and Science Fiction, he drew home the point that the last one is the most difficult mode of writing. With a number of examples, he distinguished Science Fiction from Science writings and explained in detail about the difficulties faced in writing Science Fiction stories. He pointed out that Sci-Fi must represent the development in science. There is no Science involved either in horror stories or in the Star War series. He cautioned the writers that writing biographies of scientists is not Sci-Fi writing. Further, he condemned the absence of science and lack of literary qualities in many SF stories. Dr.Narlikar cited a number of examples to distinguish good Science Fiction stories from bad Science Fiction stories. At the end of his speech he appreciated the role of IASFS as it has made consisting effort in bringing together all the sections of the people under one umbrella. Ms.Akanksha Kashikar the award winner of the Mumbai based Baba Atomic Research Center was felicitated by Dr.Narlikar. IASFS secretary for West Zone Dr.Y.H. Deshoponde introduced the guests. Dr. Garge welcomed the gathering. Dr.M.V.Kataria thanked the organizations and individuals responsible for the conduct of the conference and Dr.Vibhavari Deshponde anchored the inaugural session. In all, the presence of more than two hundred participant - audience (including the press) from various parts of India has made the function a grand success.
((()))
In the pre-lunch session, Dr.Srinarahari in his speech on “The Indian Responses to the World Science Fiction” made a critical study of the translations, adaptations, dissertations, theses, research works in English and Indian Vernacular languages pertaining to the works of Mary Shelley, E.A. Poe, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Karl Capek, Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Clarke, and others. Among them, the attempts to immortalize Isaac Asimov in India were highlighted. The causes of retardation of the genre and also the positive growth of Indian SF were also discussed. Speaking about the Indian contribution to the World SF he mentioned a few names among the galaxy of Indian writers - beginning with attempts made by Sathyajith Ray followed by the works of contemporary writers like Amitav Ghosh, Anil Aggrawal, Ashok Banker, Bimal Srivatsav, Deepak Chopra, Dilip Salwe, Hari Kunzru, Jayanth Narlikar, Kalpish Ratna, Kumar Arunachalam, Laxman Londhe, Nandini Pandya, Salmon Rushdie, Samit Basu, Subhash Jairath, Suniti Namjoshi, Upendra Mehan, Vandana Singh, and others. Apart from hard Science Fiction, elaborately he dealt with the ingrained element of myth present in Indian SF works. Thus, the unique feature of Indian SF is by the combination of Indian myth with modern technology, which will often be projected to the future. He added that World SF writers Alan Dean Foster, Bruce Sterling and Frank Roger are making use of Indian settings in their writings. At present, Indian SF writing has been making a positive impact on World Science Fiction. Therefore there is a healthy exchange of cultures on both sides in its real sense.
((()))
The first session of the conference had a discussion on the theme “Science Fiction Writing in Indian Languages: Past, Present and Future”. The speakers in Hindi, Assamese and Kannada were Mr. Devendra Mewari, Dr D C Goswami and Prof Rajshekhar Bhoosnurmath respectively. Marathi SF writer Subodh Jawadekar had chaired the session.
In continuation of the same theme, Dr Dhole, Dr Devendra Pal Singh and Mr.Nellai Muthu spoke on Marathi, Punjabi and Tamil SF respectively. Mr.Subodh Mahanti had chaired the session. In general the speakers traced the publication history of Science Fiction works. They pointed out that lack of readership and publishers as the reason for the sluggish state of Indian SF. Science Fiction is a recent phenomenon, which is gathering momentum by the efforts of the Vignyan Parishads in each vernacular language under the theme of popularization of Science in the country. There is gradual transition from hard SF to soft SF in the second half of the twentieth century. A remarkable shift in themes from magic and fantasy to Biotechnology, Nano-technology, Genetic Engineering, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and others could be noticed from reading various stories. However, there are abundant stories, which combine myth and technology in equal proportion.
((()))
Malayalam SF:
Though Kerala state claims to have comparatively a high level of literacy in the country, though, people have initiated a movement to popularize Science, the paper reader Prof.Kaliyath Damodaran says that it is an unfortunate thing that SF is still in its infant stage. The reasons are lack of interest in the reading public, lack of SF writers, lack of publishers and others. However, the professor is optimistic that this conference would trigger the growth of Malayalam SF.
Assamese SF:
SF has earned due reputation since seven decades in Assam. Hariprasad Baruah an engineer by profession wrote a short story in Awahan (1937). The writer as well as the paper reader Dr.Dinesh Goswamy has made significant contribution to the field of SF. So far, he has aired a number of stories over radio broadcast. Other writers are Amarjyothi Choudhury, Amulya Kumar Hazarika, Banidta Phukan, Ranju Hazarika, Santanu Tamuly, and others. Radio dramas are also enacted.
Kannada SF:
The paper presented by Prof. Bhoosnurmath highlighted the common problem faced by other vernacular languages in popularizing SF in India. He also mentioned about the SF workshops conducted in Kannada language for scientists, science writers and children.
Bengali SF:
Samarjit Kar opines that SF writing in Bengali began during the renaissance period (when West Bengal and Bangla Desh were together) when the English introduced modern science from Primary to University level in this part of the country. Some of the authors began writing science in story forms during that time. Jagadish Chandra Bose’s story “Palatak Toofan”(Absconded Tempest) describes the saving of a ship by making use of a kind of oil, probably highlighting the effect of surface tension. Later SN Bose, MN Saha, Sathyajith Ray, Premendra Mitra and others carried the relay stick forward. Anish Deb speaking on Bengali SF has highlighted the works of Jagadish Chandra Bose and the other chronological entries in the language. He is hopeful of the plausible developments in the field in the days to come.
Hindi SF:
Arvind Mishra and Manish Mohan Gore opine that though Hindi SF made its pioneer attempt in 1884 itself with the publication of “Aascharya Vrittant” by Ambika Datt followed by “Chandralok ki Yatra” by Keshav Prasad Singh in 1900, SF in Hindi has not gained popularity for a span of a century. With the establishment of Indian Science Fiction Writers Association, Faridabad there is a tremendous progress in the field. A number of writers have published stories on such themes as, robotics, colonization of the other worlds, matter transmission, time travel and others.
Punjabi SF:
SF is a recent phenomenon since the second half of the twentieth century. Leading writers are Amandeep Singh, Amarjit Singh, Colonel Jasbir Bhullar, DP Singh, Hardev Chauhan, Ajmer Sidhu, Suresh Rattan, Ukhwant Kaur Maan, and Vidwan Singh Soni. The Newspapers, which have published the stories, are Ajit, Des Sewak, Nawan Zamana, and Punjabi Tribune. The magazines, which have promoted SF by way of publishing them, are Jagriti, Pakharian, Jan Sahit, Nirantar Soach, Primary Sikhia Samdarshi, Samkali Sahit, and Vigiyan Jot. DP Singh feels that in spite of these productions, the Punjabi SF is still in the infant stage.
Tamil SF:
Nellai S Muthu traces that the seeds of SF are found in poetry form in Tamil epics like Jeevaga Sinthamani, Manimekalai, Perunkathai, and Kamaba Ramayanam. Further, the poets Subramania Bharathiyar and Puthumaippithan have carried forward the SF elements in their works.
He mentions about the Science Fiction based films like Kalai Arasi and Ulagom Sutrum Valiban, which have visualized Lunar habitation and nuclear explosions in the sixties. The paper reader made a critical study of the works of Arniga Nasar, Deivasigamani, Malan, Nalini Sasthri, Murugan, Nellai Muthu, Sivadas, Sujatha, and others under the categories Science stories, science novels, science dramas, science poetry and also classifying their works as fictitious, futuristic elements of science and their effects on society.
Marathi SF:
According to Deepak Ghare the paper reader on “SF in Marathi- A Critical View”, Marathi SF dates back to the beginning of the twentieth century. Initial works show the pulpy quality of SF. Adventure stories based on the writings of Verne and HG Wells became popular. Presenting alien worlds and bringing suspense into SF stories are gathering popularity among the Marathi readers. Narayan Dharap the editor of the magazine Naval has made a move in this direction. Jayanth Narlikar, who made his debut as SF writer in 1974, laid a foundation for the development of hard SF in Marathi. Since three decades, Marathi Vidnyan Parishad has been conducting SF story writing competition by which SF is made popular among the readers and created hundreds of writers. Maharashtra state has an indigenous tradition of narration of stories in its annual literary meet called Sahithya Sammelan, which is a mega event in the state where at least fifteen lakh people gather. Among them eminent SF writers like Bal Phondke, Subhodh Jawadekar, Kishor Kulkarni, Yeshwanth Deshponde, DV Jahagirdhar and others narrate the SF short stories. Recently Yeshwanth Deshponde’s “Guinea Pig” has been serialized on the national channel. The positive impact of these efforts is the gain in terms respectability as SF is a creative medium to express innovative ideas.
A variety of topics were discussed on the following day. The session “Science Fiction and Media” was chaired by Dr. V B Kamble. The speakers were Mr. Rajendra Kulkarni, Mr. Jayant Erande and Dr Y H Deshponde. During the second session on “Role of Media”, Mr. Rajendra Kulkarni said that Marathi language has accepted Sci-Fi as a part of mainstream literature. Some magazines and publishers have generated curiosity among the readers of Sci-fi. Speaking on “Science Fiction Broadcast” Jayant Erande has traced the pioneer attempt in broadcasting SF to the eighties. Since radio broadcast requires special knowledge of science, imagination, visualization of the sound effects, and action. He acknowledged that sincere attempts were made only by a few select stations. The risk was taken only by All India Radio and the private commercial radio could not take that load. In this regard, the Radio Station, Kolkota has broadcast the works of Sathyajith Ray, Ray Bradbury, and Aldus Huxley. Director of Vigyan Prasar Dr V B Kamble said that all segments of media have equal responsibility in communicating Sci-fi. Vigyan Prasar has produced T V serials like “Aisa Bhi Hota Hai” and organized a nation wide Vigyan Yatra.
Dr Purushothaman chaired the session on “SF Literary Criticism”. The speakers were Mr.Deepak Ghare, Mr Samarjeet Kar and Dr Arvind Mishra. During the session on Literary Criticism, the speakers took a detailed review of Sci-fi as a literature in Marathi and Hindi. Every speaker opined that very little has been done in the area of criticism.
SF writer Mr. Laxman Londhe chaired the session on “Science Fiction Narration”. Dr Yashwant Deshponde, Dr Dingankar, Mr. Vasant Shedge and Ms Vishakha Nanir narrated SF stories, which were written by respective storytellers.
From the lively interaction of the audience during the sessions, it is inferred that magical realism dominates in some of the stories. Most of the stories narrate only fantasy part and science elements flashes here and there. It is observed that the technological symbol like robot or computer has been the central idea or central character in most of the Indian SF works. At a later stage, there are several biotechnological stories which discuss the preference of Artificial Intelligence of the silicon based to carbon based ones. Many scholarly works like dissertations and theses on SF topics could also be located in English and a few theses are in some of the vernacular languages like Tamil and Marathi.
((()))
Video Conference:
As a part of the conference, the Chairman of National Center for Science Communicators, Mumbai Mr.A.P.Deshponde (Anant), Science Fiction writers Drs.Bal Phondke (Bal) and Yeshwant Deshponde (Yesh) had an interactive videoconference with Professor James Gunn the Director, Center for Science Fiction Studies, Kansas University, USA. After a brief self-introduction of each participant, the relevance of the videoconference as a part of the eighth National SF conference was highlighted. Bal Phondke made the ball roll by questioning Dr.Gunn, what attracted him to the genre SF. The SF committed professor recalled that his father used to bring the fairy tale books when he was in grade two. He was further encouraged by his father to go through the Science Fiction stories from the magazines like Amazing, Astounding and others, as he asserted that they have created enough impetus on his creative and speculative abilities. While making a cross reference, sincerely he acknowledged the contributions made by the deans of SF namely, Fred Pohl and Jack Williamson. In this regard, he disclosed that he has a long writing career of about six decades recalling his debut in 1948 under the able editorship of John W Campbell. From 1974, Gunn began to teach SF. From 1992 onwards, his efforts were to bring together SF of all kinds. Answering a question on the ‘pulpy’ literature, he recalled that pulp was made use of in printing SF works. He explained how the ‘pulpy’ quality of the genre has vanished and SF gained respectability in contemporary times.
Interacting to a query by Desh on introducing SF for the beginners, Jim told that though it is customary to begin teaching SF with the Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the Doctor does not behave as a learned scientist as well the work reflects both horror and a fairy tale. Hence, he suggested that one might make a beginning with the works of Jules Verne and EA Poe. Yesh questioned whether Tarzan by ER Burroughs is a Sci-fi work. Jim not only turned down to classify it under Sci-fi but also explained that it is of magic and fantasy, which takes the reader to remote places.
To a question posed by Bal to define SF, Jim after quoting Delany and Campbell, explained that it describes life of marvelous speculative and cultural existence. Further expressing his own view, he said that SF is a literature of the study of human conditions, which is confronted by significant change. Bal drawing attention toward the two phrases namely ‘human condition’ and ‘literature of change’, questioned whether SF describes only anthropocentric society as it often addresses alien problem also. Further, the change is brought out in cultural revolutions and political upheavals not confining to the effect of Science and technology alone. Jim responding in affirmative, said that SF often deals with these conditions which are described in future history series, cultural revolution, raise of dictatorship, description of a backward society and others. As in Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov, SF discusses the cultural impact on people. People adapt cultural changes as in normal life. The genre has dealt with cultural and psychological impact on people in the light of science and technology. In this regard, the term ‘Social Science Fiction’ is referred to in Asimov’s works. Yesh questioned whether SF be categorized as American SF, Indian SF, Chinese SF and others. Significant changes like the fascination of the report of American President’s Election news over Radio broadcast in the beginning is an example to cite how the culture is affected by technology. Hence, each country has SF with its own cultural uniqueness. Fantasy and fantastic elements are in SF, which are the results of inheritance and the environment. In continuation of viewing SF under different cultural contexts, Anant posited that occidental world is based on materialism, where as the orientalists relay on spiritual or metaphysical concepts. In this context, he asked Jim to distinguish west from the East. Approving Anant’s analysis, Jim confirmed that the US culture and history have greater impact on materialism. US is recreated every decade and the SF culture is to explore the possibilities of change in the attitude of the people particularly reaffirm the peoples’ concern every now and then. But there is no tendency in looking back. In other words, it always marks the progress and reinforcing the earlier laid brick. It is better to work the plausible solutions for the possible problems in the near future like five years from now. Further, Bal wanted to get clarification regarding the dilemma in considering the views of the US with others as the US SF is becoming more abstract as certain themes like witchcraft, paranormal and the existence of the devil and others. On the contrary, these are already embedded in Indian culture. As Indians do not want to give legitimacy to these aspects and they become obstacles in promoting scientific temperament, he sought the opinion of the Professor. Jim said that there is a marked difference between SF and fantasy and horror in the USA. Earlier, John Campbell did not include fantasy element to be present in SF. They are not at par with SF. In American SF, there was a traditional time when Campbell insisted that SF must deal with topics like atomic energy, rocket ships and others. In the 1950s, he suggested that Parapsychology were included. Later on telepathy also found a place. A blending of fantasy with SF gives ample opportunity to explain speculative theories of Particle Physics, String theory and other speculative theories which open doors to fantasy elements. From Arthur C Clarke’s experience in a truly advanced technology, magic is inseparable with science. As the SF of the last century has dealt with predictions of science and technology of the contemporary society, similarly Yesh asked whether the future SF deal, dwell and discuss the emotional world of man. Jim with optimism not only answered in affirmative but also said further that attempts must be made to explore the worlds in which they create impact on what the people think and to find out who we are as human species. In this regard the Historical works deal with psychological and philosophical aspects. Along with one track of scientific invention, Asimov has already discussed about the philosophy of contact with the invention of radio waves and telescope. Hence, it is apt to consider the philosophy of happiness as a concept.
Anant explained the efforts made by Marathi Vidnyan Parishad Mumbai in publishing SF anthologies and pioneered in getting them translated into other Indian languages. Religiously it has been conducting annual SF story writing competitions since its establishment. But it had been a Herculean task to select the best out of a number of entries every year. He wondered how the professor could come out with an anthology referring to Road to Science Fiction #6. Gunn explained his criteria of selecting fifteen stories out of hundreds of stories. In reply, Gunn said that even though he was not an expert in languages of different cultures, he relied on some of their translations and on three Chinese scholars who had come to attend the Intensive course in SF at his center. In case of India, it was depth calling - fifteen years ago - he had Professor Srinarahari who was working on dissertation on Isaac Asimov’s Robotistic Works. The scholar gave him “Einstein the Second” by Laxman Londhe as the best story from India for the publication in the anthology.
Bal added that most of the western stories have revolved around typical technological concepts. But biotechnology has not found a proper place in American SF. Reacting to the core of the contemporary problem, Jim analyzed that eighteenth century SF focused on ‘Chemistry’ and the twentieth century on ‘Physics’. As there is a discovery of human genome and DNA, it is apt to focus the twenty -first century SF on Biology.
Yesh had a puzzle that sometimes scientist is very near to the truth, turns metaphysical and becomes a SF writer. He questioned whether he would be a loss to Science and a gain to SF field. Jim quoted the case of Campbell who was practicing SF. The advantage of SF is that it can warn about the possible dangers which science would not. Novels and stories can create positive impact on the findings of science. Huxley’s work in 1934 gave a clue about cloning. Orwell’s novel 1984 doubted the misuse of science rather than uses of science. So ultimately, the professor concluded by remarking that Science and Science Fiction must go hand in hand for the progress of humanity.
~~~~~~~~~~~
This is not the end but the beginning of the ensuing 9th National SF Conference to be held at Pondicherry , India on 9th, 10th and 11th of November 2007 when an award will be instituted to the best Indian SF story for the current year. The story should not have been published anywhere. There is no bar of age, qualification, experience, gender, community, or geographical location. Please mail the story to the following address before September 1, 2007.
Dr.M.H.Srinarahari MA (Literature), PhD (Science Fiction)
General Secretary, Indian Association for Science Fiction Studies,
#3293, 21A Main, II Stage, Vijayanagar, Mysore –570 017,
Karnataka State, India.
Email: drsrinarahari@gmail.com; sciencefiction_India@yahoo.com
Phone: +91-821-2302124 (Residence)

dian sf today.

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