I love science fiction. All of it. I love watching it on movies or TV, reading it in books, and absorbing it as a fine paste through my pores every morning. It’s wonderful stuff, all shiny with glowy bits and scary with dark bits. Sci-fi is delicious on a bagel and 300% more nutritious than the average generic fiction substance.
The question is, then: why? The obvious answer is probably parasitic nanotechnology lodged in my brain stem forcing me to have opinions for no reason.
Parasitic nontech, however, demands that I find justification.
So here it goes:
- It’s about really cool technology. Artificial Intelligence, transhumanism, nanomachines, and all sorts of crazy technologies are possible in science fiction. Really, that’s what defines it. The inventive brain can come up with a huge variety of tech for future humans or aliens to mess around with, and that’s what makes Sci-fi super exciting. It’s not magic, though sometimes it might seem to be. Whatever it looks like, it is almost always really, really cool.
- That’s not what it’s about. It’s really about current society. Despite being grounded in crazy technology and ideas of future and far-away, science fiction is almost always actually about something much more current. Robocop is about the privatization of government agencies; Wall-E is about the dark fate of mankind due to our treatment of the environment. Many others such as Avatar and 1984 don’t really make any attempt to add a thin veneer to their social commentary. Sci-fi is one of the deepest genres out there due to its ability to create a safe forum to discuss difficult topic.
- Science Fiction is the most plausible of all speculative fictions. Fantasy is wonderful, but I have a very hard time believing that magic is going to exist at any point in my life. I can, however, believe in human augmentation in the form of prosthetic limbs or human/digital interfaces. Hell, most of that stuff exists already. I can kinda believe in some form of alien life, though I have serious doubts about it being human shaped and having a British accent. The point is, though, that it’s somewhat plausible. I can buy into it.
- Optimism and pessimism mix nicely in a wide variety of ratios. I like my own novel as an example here. Sure, it’s a dystopian world where Texas is autonomous and small government has degraded life to near-anarchy. But they use the metric system. It’s one of the few nuggets of optimism that I’ve added because I believe deep down in my heart that some day the future of this continent can somehow manage to completely adopt a system of measurement that makes sense. Oh, and gay people are accepted without anything like a hard time. In Texas. Other than that it’s a pretty bleak future. That’s all backdrop for a story with real characters and real problems, but it’s there and I like it.
- Pairs nicely with other fictions without a bitter aftertaste. The original Star Wars was a beautiful pairing of Sci-fi and Fantasy. Alien is Sci-fi and horror and it’s a great example of both. Firefly pairs Western with Sci-fi. They all work wonderfully and they’re all packed full of crazy technology and social commentary.
There really isn’t anything not to like about Sci-fi, which is why I fit in nicely into my comfort zone. If I’m looking for something to read or watch or write, well, science fiction is one of the things I gravitate to. I always will.