As long as we're on the subject of Science Fiction writers:
Spider Robinson, is a pretty good science fiction writer with a REALLY good sense of humor. I'll be coming back to him several times in the coming months, but let's start with this observation of his:
"If one who commits gluttony is a glutton, and one who commits a felony is a felon, the God is an iron."
Irony is one of the classic types of humor. It's basically when you you say one thing and mean another (as opposed to a Freudian slip, which is where you say one thing and mean your mother.)
On a cosmic level, it's when human goals and activities end up with the completely opposite results. In literary terms--well, just read O. Henry. There's a reason it's called an "O. Henry Twist". The Gift of the Magi is just about the perfect example of dramatic irony.
To me, irony is the sort of humor that gets a smile--maybe even a snort--but rarely a laugh. There's something satisfying about a drug dealer whose car gets totaled by a drunk driver. Or the anti-gay activist who gets caught with his pants down with another guy.
But at some point, the smile fades. I mean, consider the case of humorist Douglas Adams--told by his doctors to exercise regularly to improve his health, he dutifully ran on a treadmill--until he died on the treadmill of a heart attack.
Or Stephen Hawking, a physicist whose imagination spans the stars, stuck in a disease-ravaged body which he can hardly move, and which makes it almost impossible for him to discuss his own ideas.
Or my good friend, one of the cleverest and most perceptive readers I know, struck with a cerebral episode and aphasia that keeps him from understanding the written word.
Enough irony already. We get the point.