Long: SF in Unexpected Places

By Sam Long: The March 7 issue of The New Yorker magazine has a poem titled “Megamouth Shark” by John Kinsella on page 53 (subscription required).  I quote the following lines from the middle of the poem:

   …and I can’t help but think
   that this tank and its inhabitants are prescient fulfillment
   of Frank Herbert’s “Dune,” a pox on emperor houses
   of curators and scientists, this Guild Navigator the benign
   encapsulation of Edric shrouded in orange gas,
   so distorted to outside eyes, plotting the courses of ships
   through space without collision, …

SF is rarely mentioned or even alluded to (as here) in the The New Yorker, such that when it is, it stands out.

6 thoughts on “Long: SF in Unexpected Places

  1. Michael Walsh: true; and I know there are other fantasy and SF authors who have appeared in the NEW YORKER, but in my experience, those genres are seen only rarely in the magazine. Now cartoons with an SF-F theme are quite another thing: they appear fairly often.

    And a propos of DUNE the movie, page 52 of the 30 October 2010 issue of the NEW YORKER had a poem, which I reproduce in its entirety below, by David Musgrave:


    O Sting, where is thy death?

  2. Did I write 30 October? It was the 30 August 2010 issue. Sorry. (Note to self: proofread better before sending….)

  3. SF is rarely mentioned or even alluded to (as here) in the The New Yorker

    I read this assertion approximately once a week. I keep giving similar answer:

    Results 1 – 10 of 722


    Results 1 – 10 of 453


    Mar 21, 2011
    The Current Cinema
    Out There
    THE CURRENT CINEMA review of “Battle: Los Angeles” and “Paul.” Directed by Jonathan Liebesman, “Battle: Los Angeles” follows Staff Sergeant Nantz (Aaron Eckhart), in his mission to assist with an evacuation due to meteor showers off the coast. Out of the ocean come ranks of extraterrestrial troops, blazing away at…
    by Anthony Lane


    March 11, 2011
    In the News: Tweetable Poetry, the Public Library of the Future […]
    Check out the public library of the future, a $39.5 million building in Bolingbrook, Illinois.

    Bad case of writer’s block? Pretend you’re writing the story for someone else: a study shows that people think more creatively on behalf of others.

    Social media:
    Can it have an impact on
    Poetry’s future?

    Britain’s Royal Mail launches a new magical-literature stamp series featuring Dumbledore, Aslan, and Morgan le Fay, among others.

    Here’s your chance to star in your own comic book.

    Enormous, highly detailed map of the history of science fiction. Is it accurate?

    That’s all one entries, each with links I’m not embedding.

    Feb 14, 2011
    The Apostate
    PROFILE about the film director Paul Haggis and his departure from the Church of Scientology. On August 19, 2009, Tommy Davis, the chief spokesperson for the Church of Scientology International, received a letter from the film director and screenwriter Paul Haggis announcing his resignation from the church. Haggis had been…
    by Lawrence Wright

    This 26 page piece is mostly about Hubbard, goes on about Heinlein, Bill Patterson’s book, mentions “But much of his energy was devoted to publishing stories, often under pseudonyms, in pulp magazines such as Astounding Science Fiction,” etc. January 31, 2011
    Blog: The Book Bench
    Science Non-Fiction
    “Our job is not to predict the future. Rather, it’s to suggest all the possible futures—so that society can make informed decisions about where we want to go.” That’s Robert J. Sawyer writing in…
    by Macy Halford Or

    January 27, 2011
    Blog: The Book Bench
    Star Trek, Google, and the Dream of Universal Translation
    There’s a terrible risk inherent in writing science fiction: sometime in the distant future, some nitpicking soul will remember to check up on which of your outlandish predictions come true, and which turn out to…
    by Eileen Reynolds

    Skipping most of the movie reviews:

    December 6, 2010
    Blog: Goings On
    Movies Pick: Space Is the Place
    In the 1956 science-fiction classic “Forbidden Planet,” the late Leslie Nielsen co-stars as an intergalactic explorer who locates the sole survivors of a prior expedition, a scientist and his daughter (Walter Pidgeon and Anne…
    by The New Yorker

    On and on. SF is mentioned with great frequency.

    Oct 04, 2010
    The Dungeon Master
    Short story about a group of teen-age boys who play Dungeons & Dragons…
    by Sam Lipsyte


    September 9, 2010
    Blog: The Book Bench
    In the News: Cussing for Kids, Crowdsourcing the Book Tour
    Jimi Hendrix, sci-fi junkie:


    September 2, 2010
    Blog: The Book Bench
    Book Club Confidential: Contemplating the Apocalypse
    THE CLUB: The Freebird Brooklyn Post-Apocalyptic Book Club— created on Valentine’s Day in 2008 out of “a morbid fascination with the quasi-genre of post-apocalyptic fiction.” Founder Peter Miller figures there’s enough material to keep the…
    by Eileen Reynolds


    August 17, 2010
    Blog: News Desk
    To-Do List: Gingrich vs. the Mosque; Bradbury vs. the Internets

    I’m always wondering whether people who say things things actually read The New Yorker, or is just one of those things they “know” without actually reading the magazine. Because if they do actually read it each week, I end up confused how they miss all the frequent pieces on or about or discussing science fiction and fantasy.

    Or if they have in mind The New Yorker of forty years ago, althoug even then you can find plenty of discussions if you looked.

    July 29, 1972
    Onward and Upward with the Arts
    S. F.
    ONWARD AND UPWARD WITH THE ARTS about the growth of science fiction as a literary genre. The 30th World Science Fiction Convention will be held in Los Angeles this Sept. (the 1st was held in NY in 1939). Writer discusses the history of sci. fi. He says even the briefest…
    by Gerald Jonas

    January 25, 2010
    Life and Letters
    Kid Goth
    LIFE AND LETTERS about Neil Gaiman. Gothic horror was out of fashion in children’s literature when, in the early nineteen-nineties, the British writer Neil Gaiman began to work on “Coraline,” in which he reimagined Lucy Clifford’s demon as “the other mother,” an evil and cunning anti-creator who threatens…
    by Dana Goodyear

    September 16, 1967
    The Talk of the Town
    Evolution and Ideation
    Talk story about the 25th annual World Science Fiction Convention at the Statler Hilton last week. A continuing debate was in progress between the Old-Fashioned Futurists and the New Wave-icles. The former want science fiction writers to keep writing about the future as they always have. The latter…
    by Gerald Jonas


    Just an observation, but as I say, one sees this about once a week or so.

  4. While I love The New Yorker – and receive it each week, and not just for the cartoons – it’s not exactly a hotbed of skiffyness. (Which is fine.) For that I got to File770 or Locus or …. well, the beat goes on.

  5. Ghu knows that Anthony Lane has never met a genre movie that he doesn’t love to sneer at.

    But a lot of other skiffy stuff is mentioned these days.

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