New Wave (science fiction)

The New Wave movement in science fiction began in 1964, when Michael Moorcock took over as editor for the British science fiction magazine New Worlds. The New Wave movement was a conscious reaction against then existing science fiction, which was seen as stodgy, irrelevant, and unambitious.

The New Wave was characterised by a high degree of experimentation, both in form and in content. The New Wave authors introduced various techniques used in mainstream literature to science fiction writing, one example being William S. Burroughs' cut-up technique.

In content, the New Wave rejected the core concerns of traditional science fiction ("outer space"), in favour of a focus on taboo breaking and a more people focused approach ("innerspace"). One of the central ideas of the New Wave was entropy, the idea that the universe will irrevocably run down, and its reflection in human society. Also important was the idea of "relevance"; the idea that science fiction should concern itself with the issues important to society now.

The New Wave movement started to explore many subjects, including sex in science fiction, in ways that were previously unthinkable. Harlan Ellison's anthology Dangerous Visions was an important milestone, functioning as a showcase for the New Wave.

The term "New Wave" is borrowed from film criticism's nouvelle vague: films characterised by the work of Jean-Luc Goddard, Franois Truffaut, and others. It was later applied to 1970s punk rock in the UK and to new wave music.

Important New Wave authors

Ray Bradbury, Algis Budrys (especially for his novel Rogue Moon with its use of Freudism), and Alfred Bester can be considered as important precursors to the New Wave.

Reference

  • Colin Greenland, The Entropy Exhibition: Michael Moorcock and the British New Wave in Science Fiction,

(Routledge, 1983) ISBN 0-710-09310-1

ja:ニュー・ウェーブ

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