More than anything, retro-futurism is a flavor… It’s the way writers wrote science fiction in the past. Generally speaking, writers today are much more rigorous in their writing than the writers who were trying to meet the demand of weekly pulp publication serials. The resulting science fiction from that past era was plot-driven and didn’t spend pages discussing, say, some planet’s terrain. That made the stories shorter as well. Books from decades ago were 150 pages long and that was just fine.
Retro-futures are also kitschy. There’s a nostalgic quality to it. This is a little harder to describe. I tend to like the kind of science fiction that was written before I was born. Perhaps it’s because when I started reading science fiction, I often read older books that crossed my path. In the 1970s, I was weaned on sci-fi from the Golden Age and that mode of science fiction still appeals to me….
Today’s retro sci-fi is written by today’s writers, and while modern writers may try to emulate the science fiction of yesteryear, what they rarely, if ever, do is reflect the outdated thinking of those times. In today’s retro sci-fi, you will find more discussions of multiple viewpoints and philosophies, you’ll see diverse cultures portrayed on a galaxy-wide scale — and you’ll see it through the derring-do of space adventurers zipping around in the foreground.
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