When discussion with friends turns to books, when I let people know that I (amongst other genres) enjoy sci-fi novels, I get a certain look. A look that says either ‘grow up’, or ‘start reading proper books’... or just, ‘he’s a graphic designer, what do you expect…'
Usually I’ll reply with a reminder that not all sci-fi is about spaceships. I usually mention books such as Theodore Sturgeon’s More Than Human (no spaceships), and of course George Orwell’s 1984 (yep, no spaceships).
With novels such as 1984 they seem to pass into acceptance though their popularity and in doing so almost need to be seen as no longer science fiction in order for many people to accept them as real literature.
What Is Sci-Fi?
For me the most interesting science fiction are those stories that use the technology or advancement of some element (biological for example) then explore and examine how it affects the social structures around it, the individuals, the what-ifs, as these are where the human stories lie—and I feel the very best novels in the genre almost always circle around these ideas.
In fact, the opposite can also be true. Simply because something is set in future, or has a spaceship in it, doesn’t in itself mean it’s a sci-fi story. These can simply be drama or even soaps in space, not that there’s anything wrong with this.
With this in mind I came across a new publication called Visions (via the Uncrate website). Reaching back to a golden age of sci-fi, Visions features an anthology of sci-fi stories, essays, and even some sections written by a ‘bot’. And after a little digging about those behind it, I found that editor Mathieu Triay also uses the 1984 novel as an example to those who almost laugh when he mentions his love of sci-fi.
He notes that 1984 is one of the best selling novels in the UK. But as it’s attainted a certain status within literature it’s somehow shed its sci-fi tag.
As a graphic designer (I work on branding, website, and love to work with print) I was certainly drawn by the magazine’s layout (though mainly text there are some interesting illustrations and page layouts), the bold use of colour, and the vintage feeling typeface (designed by Mathieu). It’s certainly a homage to those past sci-fi publications but with a nice updated feel that I’m drawn to.
Check out Visions (all 256 pages) for yourself...
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