In Defense of Science Fiction
[Image courtesy of flickr by L.E. Spry]
Long ago, in a land not too far away, began a genre that is everywhere today. In 1864, science fiction began, but not as we know it. A man named Jules Verne began what would later be called science fiction with his story, The Journey to the Center of the Earth. While science fiction began with wondering what secrets were hidden beneath our feet, we have gone and surpassed that.
I love reading science fiction. It’s my favorite. But it does take some getting used to. There are people I know of who can’t watch or read science fiction. It’s wordy, complicated, and sometimes a bit vague. But if you can be patient and can stand watching and rereading some material, then the benefits of science fiction more than outweigh the time taken. Yes. There will be times where it is a mess to have to figure out who is speaking and why it matters that there is a martian that looks kinda like an ostrich, but the world it opens up is so worth it.
Science fiction has grown to something many of the early writers wouldn’t have believed. The early writers had contemplated time travel and viruses that could devastate millions. They looked forward to the possibilities, while keeping something familiar with them. A lot of stories before we went to the Stars referenced things like cassette players and keeping the house perfectly pristine and fitting for the stay at home wives. The world has grown since then. Nothing stays the same, and writers cannot predict all that will happen. From Star Trek’s communicators to the Internet, the world has taken science fiction and flown into the impossible with it.
We live in a time that many writers of science fiction would have dreamed about. We have tiny little computers in our pockets that hold vast amounts of information. But we still have issues that they had hoped we would have moved beyond. Illness, death, war. All of these still exist with no end in sight. But we have writers who look beyond that; they look to the future. And they guide everyone to look into the future as well.
Sci-fi has become something that nearly everyone is aware of. The most popular examples are Star Trek and Star Wars. There are others, but almost everyone knows what a Jedi is. While we see them soaring through space with amazing engines, we sit and dream and plan of ways to join them. We see the teleporters and think of ways we can get from one place to another. Without science fiction, we wouldn’t desire to find life on other planets. The exploration of interacting with alien life from so many writers makes us want to rush into the unknown. Scientists are working on so many things, most of which that have shown up in science fiction novels and movies, that seemed impossible. But we have made so many improvements because of science fiction.
The world has become an astounding place. We need more people to question and look to the future. As long as we keep reading and supporting and creating things that push the limits, then there is no limit to what science fiction can do. Keep at it. Start with some short stories and some familiar material. It will open up endless possibilities if you stick with it.