The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Things I Have Learned

Things I Have Learned About Sci Fi By Neil McAdams Of Black Breath
Toby Cook , May 8th, 2012 08:09

Just stop dicking about and get into sci-fi, says Neil McAdams to Toby Cook. Some of it is about the survival of the human race, and some of it is about humanoid-ant hybrid detective stories

Add your comment »

Lurid book covers drag you in

What drew me to sci fi? Lurid covers – what else! And, I guess, the possibilities of a future different from our own. I picked up a copy of Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey [based on his 1948 short story The Sentinel] and then systematically read everything I could find that he had written and then things kind of snowballed. That was, like, 16 years ago.

Sci-Fi is not ‘geeky'

It's kind of a serious thing. Well not all of it. Surfing Samurai Robots isn't serious, but books like We by the Russian novelist [Yevgeny] Zamyatin or War With The Newts by Karel Capek are very serious and deal directly with totalitarian control systems and the collapse of the human species. Any science fiction regarding extra-solar colonization is extremely useful, as are ones about sex and alien space babes. I'd consider myself to be more of a ‘nerd' than a ‘geek', the only real sci-fi things I own are books and some VHS tapes; I have quite a few of those!

Fuck mainstream horseshit!

People are illiterate, that's the bottom line. Read Radio Free Albemuth by [Philip K.] Dick, it may hold the answer. And besides, science fiction should be subversive. Most TV or film sci-fi is really just action movies with aliens. But ‘real' sci-fi is about all kinds of things. It's in a large sense like cultural anthropology; it deals with any and all things human (and alien) – it's about us.

It's obvious why Philip K. Dick is the best known sci-fi author in the mainstream

Because he's fucking crazy! Read VALIS, The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch, or Martian Time-Slip for starters. I can only say that I'm glad he had found some kind of recognition in the U.S., you know like 30 years after his death – he's been well respected and popular everywhere else for decades.

And here are five others you should be getting into:

Dick is up there with the best, but you can't ignore William S. Burroughs, James Tiptree Jr (or Alice Sheldon, to use her real name), Philip Jose Farmer (read Image Of The Beast) and Arthur C. Clarke – they all write very dark, very sexy, very fucking twisted shit.

I don't give a shit about the Total Recall remake

The original short, We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, is nothing like the movie, it's only the springboard, or an outline of what happens in the film.

Predator 2's not bad though, I guess

But Femalien and Femailen 2 are also pretty rad.

You might not know this, but I write sci-fi stories

I cover all sorts of shit: Diarrhoea time loops, centi-penis's, humanoid-ant hybrid detective stories, robots fishing, robo-sexualism, goat-priest paedophiles, ape molesting deities, sex-world… you know, the usual kind of erotic speculative fiction. But why do I do it? That's a strange question to answer. Why do people pursue essentially useless, masturbatory hobbies? I don't know. There's too much bullshit in my head, and it has to go somewhere, right?

You might not think it, but it actually fits in pretty well with what I do with Black Breath

There is no need to reconcile anything, science fiction is an extremely dark genre and there is plenty of occult sci-fi – I read a lot of both, I don't restrict my interests.

Not already in to sci-fi?

Then get into it!

If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.

May 8, 2012 1:59pm

Science fiction is cool,but this is a childish as fuck article that wouldn't convince anyone to give it a try.

Reply to this Admin

Toby C
May 8, 2012 4:19pm

In reply to John:

Then you sir clearly have all the sense of humour of an arthropod-cyborg bank manager from Snajgnar.

Reply to this Admin

May 8, 2012 5:26pm

Your not into SF until you've read 'Dhalgren'.

Reply to this Admin

May 8, 2012 5:31pm

'Fuck the mainstream'... and then read these books from the SF Masterworks series that have been reprinted dozens of times.

Reply to this Admin

May 8, 2012 5:34pm

I think 'Mainstream' in this context means non-genre commercial fiction, rather than mainstream SF. I'm not sure what mainstream SF would be tbh.

Reply to this Admin

May 8, 2012 7:12pm

In reply to Richard:

word, he should read Greg Egan or David Zindell or Kim Stanley Robinson

Reply to this Admin

John Gillanders
May 8, 2012 10:06pm

Black Breath are like the least interesting band in the universe. I love how all the critics are falling over themselves trying to explain their own cognitive dissonance. "Big name people told me this band was good, but they're not, so I have to rationalize some dumbshit reason to explain to myself why people could be wrong about something." Usually what they come up with is: Black Breath's complete lack of originality is EXACTLY what makes them so original. Same lame review on a hundred different sites.

"There is no need to reconcile anything, science fiction is an extremely dark genre and there is plenty of occult sci-fi – I read a lot of both, I don't restrict my interests."

Newsflash dipshit. The Occult is not remotely dark and in most practices involves summoning your Holy Guardian Angel. Yeah, basically the least dark, Jesus-y shit in the universe. If you bothered to learn anything about the Occult, you'd figure that out pretty quick. But no, better to write dumbshit lyrics about what you think the Occult is about (satanism, demons, etc.) and make yourself look like a total fucking moron. Yeah, that's the way the church slandered it to keep people as far away from it as possible, as it empowers people rather than enslaving them. Good move spreading that cliched stereotype to a new generation of inbred metal tards.

Worst part about Black Breath:

Reply to this Admin

Toby C
May 8, 2012 10:42pm

In reply to John Gillanders:

Did one of Black Breath steal your girlfriend or something John?

Reply to this Admin

Eugene Montpelier
May 9, 2012 2:24pm

Image of the Beast (and its follow up Blown) is one of the worst piles of trash I have ever had the misfortune of reading. I would unreservedly recommend it, it's horrible.

Reply to this Admin

May 9, 2012 4:06pm

Ever read... ah, forget it, you never would have heard of him.

Reply to this Admin

May 10, 2012 7:45am

If you're seriously interested in Sci-Fi as literature then you should consider checking out Interzone a bi monthly magazine from TTA Press ( Always has top notch fiction from established names and newcomers along with a whole load of reviews and news.

Reply to this Admin

Michael O.
Jan 10, 2013 10:03pm

"And here are five others you should be getting into:"

I count four. Add Gene Wolfe.

Also fix your bolding. You lost a tag somewhere.

Reply to this Admin

Leroy Patton
Oct 9, 2014 5:56am

I have no comment at this time-but mainstream SF to me know blacks in the future.

Reply to this Admin