Over at io9, Charlie Jane Anders on writing science fiction in the 21st century

February 2, 2016 in Hieroglyph

PrintLast week, our friend and Hieroglyph contributor Charlie Jane Anders published her new novel All The Birds in the Sky. Reflecting on her experiences as a science fiction author, critic, and community member, she penned a fantastically thought-provoking essay for io9 that echoes the work we try to accomplish here at Project Hieroglyph. Some choice excerpts:

On optimism

“There is just a famished, intense desire for optimism out there…but just being willing to believe in a decent future is a massively important act in the early 21st century.”

On the impact of science fiction stories

“…we have a lot of fears, as a society, that science fiction has an opportunity to address. The very fact that we’ve spent so much time lately debating whether science fiction should include ‘message fic’ about real-world issues proves that, yes, science fiction does have an opportunity to talk about real-world issues.”

On science communication

“…scientists know that we’re confused and overwhelmed, and they are sincerely interested in communicating science to ordinary people. And they absolutely see science fiction books and stories as a vehicle for talking about, and hopefully even educating about, actual science in the middle of so much misrepresentation and misunderstanding.”

The entire essay is truly a great read (no surprise there) and we look forward to diving into the new book. (And don’t miss the Hieroglyph shout-out in the section “Also, optimism!”)

Congratulations, Charlie Jane!


Bob Beard is a fan of fandom. From Browncoats to Bronies, SCA members, Trekkers, Steampunks and more, Bob is passionate about understanding the performance and identity practices within various fandoms as well as creation of experiences for members of these groups to publicly advocate for themselves and their ideas. Bob is a Marine Corps veteran and double alumnus of Arizona State University, with a master's degree in Communication Studies and a bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a humanities emphasis.

2 responses to Over at io9, Charlie Jane Anders on writing science fiction in the 21st century

  1. A great essay indeed, and I look forward to reading “All the Birds in the Sky.”

  2. I agree with what Charlie Jane Anders says about near-future science fiction, but I think we shouldn’t forget far-future science fiction. To me, and to many other science fiction fans, the transcendent wonder of far-future science fiction give patience and mental peace to cope with a world of incremental progress and tiny little steps forward (and at times backward). We won’t see those space colonies and interstellar missions in our lifetime – and that’s why it’s important to see them with the eyes of our imagination. I think we need transcendent motivation to keep doing whatever little good works we can here-and-now.