Nebula Awards: “International SF” and Problems of Identity

Nebula logoOur sister site, has an essay by Larry Nolan on “International SF” and Problems of Identity

We live in a world that increasingly is not defined by national borders.  Depending on where one goes, one can hear “Me encanta,” “Ich liebe es,” or “Love ko ‘to” whenever a McDonald’s jingo plays on the radio or television.  Levi’s, the quintessential American blue jeans, are not made in the United States anymore, but in factories across the globe.  Watch many of the “Adult Swim” shows on the Cartoon Network in the US and one is bound to find Japanese anime-influenced animation.  In some ways, the “global village” espoused by Hillary Clinton and others over the past two decades has come to fruition.

But what about Science Fiction?  Why is there such a buzz happening now, over two decades after many other pop cultural trends, for “international” SF?  What has taken so long for a literary/cultural mode to catch up?  These questions may be nigh impossible to address adequately in a short article, but they do bear some consideration, especially as we move toward potential conflicts within and outside the various “international” groups of SF writers and fans.

One Response

  1. Jonathan Vos Post

    Didn’t Herbert Marshall McLuhan, CC [21 July 1911 – 31 December 1980] coin the term “global village” no later than his book War and Peace in the Global Village (1968)? Is this perhaps being confused with It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us (1996)?

    On wikipedia: “In the early 1960s, McLuhan wrote that the visual, individualistic print culture would soon be brought to an end by what he called ‘electronic interdependence’: when electronic media replace visual culture with aural/oral culture. In this new age, humankind will move from individualism and fragmentation to a collective identity, with a ‘tribal base.’ McLuhan’s coinage for this new social organization is the global village.”

    Wikipedia today hands us this footnote: Wyndham Lewis’s America and Cosmic Man (1948) and James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake are sometimes credited as the source of the phrase, but neither used the words “global village” specifically as such. According to McLuhan’s son Eric McLuhan, his father, a Wake scholar and a close friend of Lewis, likely discussed the concept with Lewis during their association, but there is no evidence that he got the idea or the phrasing from either; McLuhan is generally credited as having coined the term.
    Eric McLuhan (1996). “The source of the term ‘global village'”. McLuhan Studies (issue 2). Retrieved 2008-12-30.