Much of contemporary space-based science fiction tends to ignore nature completely, with food replicators and life support systems eliminating the need for plants as anything but decoration. In contrast, Earth-based science fiction stories often center on a conflict between man and nature. Yet though the primary themes in Paolo Bacigalupi’s “The Gambler”, Bruce Sterling’s “We See Things Differently”, and Harlan Ellison’s “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” are political (with “The Gambler” being a critical portrayal of the fourth estate), each offers a small window into how man ought or ought not to relate to nature. While the latter two offer criticism of our preference for a ‘fake’ nature, “The Gambler” both glorifies the infinite diversity of nature and at the same time criticizes journalism’s adoption of the fundamentally natural ‘survival of the fittest’ ethic.
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Neubauer, Otto, "Maelstrom; or, Life After the Woods: Paolo Bacigalupi's "The Gambler"" (2011). Academic Symposium of Undergraduate Scholarship. 12.