“SF is becoming the work of the third artist. The first artist goes out and paints from life. The second artist copies the first artist. The third artist copies the second artist. (I’ve usually seen this analogy applies to fantasy, with Tolkien as the first artist.) The first artist put things in because there were there, or in the case of SF, because they were new cool speculation. The second artist put them in because they were trying to get close to the first. The third artist put them in because heck, that’s what you put in. By the time you get to the third artist, using things like FTL and uploading yourself and aliens isn’t speculating or asking “what if”, it’s playing with furniture in a doll’s house. Going back to where we actually are and starting again, with the techniques but not the tropes of the genre, is trying to become a new first artist.”