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Are The Best Sentences In Science Fiction Mostly Aphorisms?

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A lot of science fiction's most quotable authors do seem to write a ton of aphorisms — Robert A. Heinlein comes to mind, for example. But over at the Guardian, there's a discussion of the greatest sentences in genre fiction, and the question arose: are the best sentences in genre mostly aphoristic?

For example, writer Claire Armistead brings up this undeniably brilliant line from Iain M. Banks:

An Outside Context Problem was the sort of thing most civilisations encountered just once, and which they tended to encounter rather in the same way a sentence encountered a full stop.


Which is quite aphoristic, and fits in with the discursive, knowledge-seeking tone of a lot of science fiction. Similarly, there are some beautifully aphoristic gems from Douglas Adams and others.

But commenters on her piece brought some great gems from other genre writers, which were more descriptive and evocative. Like this line from Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles:

And so the dry and crackling people, the people who spent their time listening to their hearts and feeling their pulses and spooning syrups into their wry mouths, these people who had once taken chair cars to California in November and third-class steamers to Italy in April, the dried-apricot people, the mummy peope, came at last to Mars...


So what do you think? Is the best sentence-level writing in science fiction often in the form of aphorisms, or generalized observations? Or is that just an unfair generalization? [Guardian]

Top image: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury.