Final Staff

Editor-in-Chief:
Stacey Janssen

Managing Editor:
Dave Noonan

Editors

  • Mishell Baker
  • Bluejack
  • Amy Goldschlager
  • Emily Lupton
  • R. K. MacPherson
  • Scott James Magner
  • Robin Shantz

Copy Editors

  • Sarah L. Edwards
  • Yoon Ha Lee
  • Sherry D. Ramsey
  • Rena Saimoto
  • Paula Stiles

Editors-at-Large

  • Marti McKenna
  • Bridget McKenna

Publicity

  • Geb Brown

Publisher: Bluejack

March, 2005 : Editorial:

The Why Behind the Wonder

a search for meaning

To begin, I am most gratified to have been chosen as the new Editor in Chief for the Internet Review of Science Fiction. It fulfills a long held dream of mine, as well as making official a role I have naturally gravitated toward all my life. I enjoy making things work, be it an awkward sentence or a recalcitrant machine. I seem to have some talent in smoothing out rough spots in a process. I'm looking forward to the job of helping IROSF continue to flourish.

Introductory (and boring) vital statistics are available elsewhere. If forced to sum myself up: I’m a life-long resident of the Pacific Northwest, and love the environment here. I write and read compulsively. I am an avid fan of words in general and speculative fiction in particular, and an inveterately curious person (for all definitions).

The latter two qualities are deeply intertwined, and feed each other well. There is a thirst to know the why of something that drives my mental engines through their usual course, and a predisposition to analysis in the way I view the world. I see that same quest for reason(s) behind the sense of wonder that is often described as a defining aspect of SF. Why should the world be this way, and not that? In tackling questions from why is this thinking creature considered human, while that thinking creature is not? to something as banal as why gloves, not mittens? there is a strong thread of an effort to make logical sense of the universe in the underpinnings of the genre.

It’s easy to guess that the couple of degrees I’ve collected over the years are in the field of anthropology; it’s true that I’ve been known to describe science fiction as “anthropology in space” (a phrase almost certainly stolen). Anthropology documents human behavior as it occurs, in all its myriad forms and facets; science fiction and fantasy document human behavior as it might be. You can take celebratory or cautionary tales from either. The best stories illustrate the pains and delights of being human (of whatever compositional stripe) by showing the individual whys behind the situation.

So then, my particular why as to the Internet Review of Science Fiction? A belief that the eye of critique can be turned inward to some benefit as well. If a work moves me, knowing why it moves me can be illuminating; if a story leaves me cold, why so? The best tales are served by a strong context of analysis, a review of their relation to the field, while an examination of flaws in a work leads to knowledge of our biases (personal, cultural, or otherwise) as well as an opportunity to avoid similar mistakes in the future.

This is all testament to a profound certainty of mine that somewhere out there, from some perspective, this whole grand universe of confounding variation and puzzling contradiction falls together and makes sense. Whether that particular perspective is ultimately reachable by something we can begin to define as human is to me simply an argument for continuing to try new vantage points. It is, however, certainly unreachable without paying attention to where we are going and examining how we are getting there. Hence the analysis, hence the critique, hence the Internet Review of Science Fiction. Hence myself, delighted beyond measure to be here, in pursuit of the why behind the wonder.


Copyright © 2005, Joy Ralph. All Rights Reserved.

About Joy Ralph

"Science Fiction fan" was the first group label I ever consciously associated with myself growing up, probably because I've always been drawn to the potential in things. Other hats I wear include anthropologist, computer geek, ailurophile, coffee fiend, and walking dictionary.

COMMENTS!

Feb 28, 19:40 by Bluejack

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