Yes, yet again SF is on its virtual deathbed, diagnosis terminal - and yet, the shambling corpse keeps staggering on. And on. And... well, you get the idea. This latest case is part of a broader treatise on the nature, life, and death of genres by Daniel Abraham . He's got some good ideas, although why he feels the need to wrap it all in academicese is something I'm not going to think about.
The basic argument this time is that modern life is so SFnal that there's no room for the kind of "gosh-wow" optimism that was all over Golden Age and pre-Golden Age SF. Cloning is mainstream lit, vampires are sparkly (speaking of which, just so you can share my nightmares, go take a look at Freefall for today (http://freefall.purrsia.com/default.htm until Friday, then it should be at http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff2000/fc01950.htm), and SF is so dystopian 1984 starts to look positively chipper.
I disagree. Yes, there's a lot of modern life that looks a lot like SF, but there's still plenty of places imagination can take us, and they don't all look darker than the Pit of Despair. Oh, wait. That's just Fezzik blocking the light. Sorry.
We're right on the edge of self-replicating gadgetry - and affordable, too - that can make all sorts of useful stuff to spec. We're not that far from figuring out how to stop age from killing us, or failing that, slow it down even more (and let's face it, "old age" happens a lot later than it used to even 25 years ago). If we wanted, we probably could get a functional scientific base on the moon, although at current tech levels it wouldn't be all that comfortable - but it would be there, and be usable for research and as a jump-off point to bigger and better things.
What's missing? In my view the voices of PC have drowned out everything that doesn't fit their view - and many of the loudest voices boil down to "all things about humans that aren't straight from nature are evil". So, those of us who've put a lot more distance between us and our poop are much more evil than those of us who haven't. This, in the view of certain PC factions, is tied into skin color. Presumably distance from poop causes bleaching (ahem). Um. Sorry.
Anyway - what do you think? Where can SF go, why are people so keen to hold the funeral, and why did Westerns die and Romances get out of the back corner of the bookshop?