A driving force behind In the Shadow of Ares, going back to our 2001 decision to write the novel, was a desire for more optimism in science fiction. We wanted to provide a vision of a hopeful future, as a counterbalance to all the negative, anti-human, post-apocalyptic stories that seem to dominate the genre today.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of outstanding stories that include some of those elements. Still, a hallmark of the “Golden Age of Science Fiction” was certainly the bright, shiny future that was ours to grasp. I for one miss that hopeful optimism. Not only does the current wave of negativism drive away younger fans, but it’s unhealthy for society at large to fear technology and lack hope for the future.
There are a few others who see the same deficiency and are trying to fill it with the occasional positive novel or anthology. I recently came across an interesting, if dated, discussion thread on Asimov’s Science Fiction, appropriately titled “Canon of Optimistic Science Fiction“. One comment included the following observation:
A good deal of “Libertarian Science Fiction” is optimistic though and so is some Young-Adult SF.
Hey, we’re both!