Literary Smackdown #9: Is the Best Sci-Fi Optimistic or Pessimistic?


Minister Faust vs. Peter Watts 


The Next Chapter and Canada Writes join forces once again to present the ninth Literary Smackdown. Up for debate this time: is the best science fiction optimistic or pessimistic? 

The two sci-fi writers who stepped into the ring, Minister Faust and Peter Watts, really threw off their gloves.  As host and moderator Shelagh Rogers said, "We call it a smackdown for a reason, not a little smooch-down".  And smack down they did.


Minister Faust is a science fiction and fantasy writer based in Edmonton.  He is the author of The Alchemists of Kush and many other books, which generally take a glass-half-full view of the future.

Peter Watts, on the other hand, has a gloomier view of where we're headed and he believes that science fiction needs to reflect that.  His most recent novel is Blindsight.

Which perspective makes for the best science fiction?  You be the judge.  Click "Listen" to hear Minister Faust and Peter Watts duke it out.  You can also read their essays on the Canada Writes website.

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