It should be obvious that I love science fiction. I have done since I realized that many of my favorite books in my local library’s Kids section had curious little Saturn stickers on the spine. From there, it was only a short step to picking new books simply because they had that sticker. Since then, I’ve been drawn to better understand the genre as a whole, traced the influences of my favorite authors, and had a marvelous time.
Part of the fun has been to try to understand why gSF is so fun for me. (I know, I know; “how very meta”!) I explained one of the components here already: the facilitation of “inside jokes” that enable the experienced reader to detect additional layers of meaning that would be opaque to the neophyte. (If you missed it, it’s HERE.) I’m working on Part Two, but as a preview, it’s not just the material, it’s the reader’s relationship to the material (and by extension the kinship one feels to strangers who share similar relationships).
For me, this relationship is key to understanding why I can appreciate bad science fiction. I don’t mean dated (i.e., the ‘expert’ can see its value relative to contemporary context); I don’t mean flawed (i.e., the expert can see beneath the flaws to recognize traces of genius). I mean reading or watching something just plain bad, and not only tolerating it, but reveling in the sheer awfulness of it all.
I was working on Part Two entirely too late at night, and, as one often does, found myself watching Rob Zombie interviews instead of working. Mr. Zombie and I seem to be thinking along similar lines. (Not for the first time …) Note how he feels about the material he describes, the significance of “quality” as a tool, and how sometimes worse is better! (The interviewer is Mick Garris, who has a long history of interpreting Stephen King stories.)