Questioning Sujatha on Science Fiction

A science fiction short story called Mudhivu[The End] by Writer Sujatha was published on Desikan’s blog. Interestingly, it has raised a wave of questions on how do we define science fiction.

Mudhivu was a short story which was left out in the Sujatha’s science fiction collection, Vingnana Chirukathaigal. The story by itself is a series of letter written by three different people, one being Writer Sujatha himself.

While, the format and the narrative style is typical of Sujatha’s style, the content might provoke you to ask the framework of science fiction. Sujatha doubles up and answers these questions in the story itself. Until finishing the entire story, don’t jump to conclusions, like me. I was able to see the science fiction in this normal story only when I finished it. It’s amazing.

Because of these various questions raised on science fiction’s grammar, Desikan is compiling a set of questions. So Sujatha will step into the blog scene and answer the questions related to science fiction posted by blog readers. By any chance, if you pondering on anything about science fiction, post them here by Saturday[23rd October]. This one is sure going to arouse interest around.

12 responses to “Questioning Sujatha on Science Fiction”

  1. Latha Avatar

    Lazy, I suppose this wud seem like a sequel for the argument that we had after ur review of Kudaikkul Mazhai :). My question to Sujatha is already in Desikan’s blog and I cant wait for his comments. But I wud also like to understand how u conclude “Mudivu” to be Sci-Fi story. Comments? 🙂


  2. Lazy Geek Avatar

    Until I read those last lines of the story, I wasn’t convinced either. Maybe what sujatha says about the framework and backdrop of a science fiction was sounding acceptable to me.

    But then, I again want to qualify Kudaikkul Mazhai as Science Fiction. Did you see the similar argument I posted on Desikan’s blog.


  3. Kingsley Avatar

    I remember a fascinating intro Sujatha wrote to a collection of his SF short stories. He traces the roots of SF back to all fantasy literature, including stuff like the Kalingaththupparani. And that collection also had one of the first recursive short stories I’d read called “Ithu kathayin thodakkam alla” or something like that.

    BTW, I now hold in my hands the Playboy Book of Science Fiction. Sex and SF: What more can I ask for?


  4. Latha Avatar

    Lazy, i did check ur comments in Desikan’s blog. I am still not convinced that KM is SF. Its more of a psychological kind of story which is not really fiction. As someone pointed out, what wud one call “amanushya kadhaigal”. Do u mean to say that any work that makes u ponder about the crux of the story is SF? I dont think u have read Da Vinci Code yet. Its a thriller, no doubt. But the book talks about a whole new dimension of Christianity which I am sure even many Theologists probably are not aware of. It makes the reader wonder if the whole book is fiction or if the story revolves around one fact and the rest is fiction. THen would that book too be classified as SF? Now I am unable to understand what kind of books are be called non-SF.


  5. Latha Avatar

    Also Lazy, there are stories which are based on death, life after death etc etc… Are these kind of stories SF?

    Kingsley, SF and sex…;) now thats something… i wish i could check out that book… Lazy, wud like ur comments on Kingsley’s comments too 🙂


  6. Lazy Geek Avatar

    Kings Mams, You can ask for more. But is playboy science fiction an oxymoron.

    BTW, the one that you are referring to is for his SF collection which is now being published as Vignana Sirukathaigal.


  7. Lazy Geek Avatar

    Latha, when you say something is a story its most probably fiction. And Parthiban’s Kudaikkul Mazhai dwells into the mind of a schizophrenic, which itself makes it as a science fiction.

    I am just not harping on the fact that because he is a schizo, the movie is science fiction but because the narrative and the format makes it a SF.

    Didn’t Sujatha say this in the last lines of his story.?


  8. Lazy Geek Avatar

    Latha, as you had pointed, Da Vinci code is lying on my racks for weeks together. have more backlog to read than that.

    BTW, I am reading sidney’s latest stuff after 4 years and it is failing to impress me, already.


  9. Karthek Avatar

    I was pretty clear with what science fiction was until i read the story. This made me think the last few hours and I turned to who else by google.

    People have been having this debate for decades if not centuries. But the one, which satisfies me, is the following.

    ” Science Fiction is that class of prose narrative treating of a situation that could not arise in the world we know, but which is hypothesized on the basis of some innovation in science or technology, or pseudo-technology, whether human or extra-terresial in origin.
    New Maps Of Hell (London, 1960)”

    One more thing I have this problem when i read Tamil sites, the char in the words are not in the correct order. for example the additional char for “POH” actually has pha followed by the it’s before and after char to form “POH”. Can anyone let me know how to rectify this?


  10. Latha Avatar

    I read “Mudivu” over & over again, after all, if Sujatha has claimed it to be a Sci-Fi, he wudnt be making and offhanded comment. I felt there is something that I seemed to be missing all the time. All along, reading the mail exchange among 3 people, the topic discussed is the story “mudivu”, yet, the story doesn’t appear anywhere… its only talked about…. One gets the feeling that even after reading the PS, a reader is still left with an incomplete feeling…. Its as if like reading a book without its last page…. But then again, the question is which story are we talking about…. Is it this story abt the dialogue between the editor & Sujatha or the story “Mudivu”….. seems very parapsycological… maybe what Sujatha claims is true. …Maybe this is what he is trying to say in the PS. I guess, for lesser mortals like me (excluding Lazy & Desikan, of course 😉 ) anything need to be told in a more explicit manner…. : )…..


  11. Kingsley Avatar

    Playboy has a long standing tradition of publishing SF. They had enough material to come out with an SF collection back in the 60’s. A lot of authors who couldn’t introduce adult themes in their stories for the mainstream market would publish in Playboy. And there are some stories in this book (Virtual Sex, Cyberpunk), that I’d heard about and been wanting to read for ages


  12. swami Avatar

    Latha – I agree with you. I am unable to make out how that story can be classified as SciFi.


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