Are European Science Fiction Authors More Serious Than Americans?

If you want to explore European SF, you must check out Will Schofield's interview with venerable editor Franz Rottensteiner, whose tastes have shaped European SF for decades. He talks about his favorite writers, and how old world SF trumps new.

In a wide-ranging discussion that moves from the history of small press publishing in SF, to favorite nineteenth century authors, Rottensteiner emerges as a fascinating literary figure from a world that we rarely see in English-speaking countries. Plus, he's not afraid to offer a controversial opinion or two. According to Rottensteiner:

I think that the great difference between the mass of American SF and the (very rare) European masterpieces is their degree of seriousness, moral seriousness. Best exemplified perhaps by Frederik Pohl's "Gateway" novels and the Strugatskys' Roadside Picnic. Roadside Picnic is in essence an existential novel about fighting on and keeping your moral integrity in a corrupt world where life is constant fight for survival. Pohl's novels are simply about winning in the lottery, hitting the jackpot. It may cost your life, but the rewards for winning are tremendous, and the universe is full of gifts. The Strugatskys adopt fairy tale motifs, but their stories are the realistic ones, and Pohl's the fairy tales.

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Read the rest of the amazing interview via A Journey Round My Skull

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