I love science fiction and exploring all the wonderful aspects to what makes us human.
The Value of Science Fiction
While literature has a very special role as one of the most important branches of any cultural network, not every science fiction novel really qualifies as a high impact contribution. There are so many science fiction novels that are just terrible. And even some stories that are good are not groundbreaking. The book that made a lot of impact on me is William Gibson’s Neuromancer. It was completely unexpected and completely blew me away. That was one of the things that made me feel like I could write science fiction.
Other times, a science fiction story becomes influential not because of what it says about the world but because it can provide a new vision that could not otherwise have been imagined. When I read Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, This happened to me. This story was so great. Not just because the basic ideas were thought-provoking but because they were conveyed so well.
That’s the kind of thing that gives me hope. I think that science fiction works best as something that looks in the mirror of the world and sees how we could be in ten, twenty, fifty, a hundred years, but never looks to see how we are now.
Why Sci-Fi Is Important
To be sure I’m clear on this point – science fiction is necessary because it is great literature. It is incredibly rich, immersive and deep in terms of the ideas that it tells us. Even though we are often talking about futuristic science fiction novels, they are also profoundly contemporary and address the topics and issues we’re facing today.
Unfortunately, many people get the impression that science fiction is just the fantasy genre, with robots and aliens. They think that science fiction is the realm of novels about superheroes and villains and guns and spaceships. And in the worst cases, they believe that sci-fi is just about cheap pulp fiction. But in fact, the best sci-fi is also about the world we live in. For example, the literature also tells us how we will get out of our climate crisis.
Science Fiction Can Make Us Take Action
Some science fiction books do not do that, and others do. Still, most science fiction books that I read have a kind of subversive mind and are good at reaching through to the truth, if you will, at that very inner core of who we are, where we are in the world we are living in today. The books that reach that core of our psyches are more likely to push us to take action, which plays a significant role in science fiction.
While science fiction is so great at provoking our minds to think about a completely different reality than the one we are living in today, that is not always useful in terms of the daily struggles we have in our everyday life. But some science fiction can help us understand and respond to our realities and our daily lives. Sci-fi is a lot like an electronic translator or a gateway to seeing another universe. This genre allows us to access the authentic humanity that is out there. We have to take a minute and turn our heads away from this world and look beyond it in a different direction. Science fiction is a place to go to that allows us to realize our mistakes and the challenges we face today.
Science Fiction Is Powerful
Science fiction is one of the most powerful tools we have today to expose ourselves to our reality and understand the challenges we are facing. Science fiction allows us to step outside our heads. It will enable us to change our perspective on what we are looking at and what we are experiencing. It shows us things that we don’t want to see. It shows us something that we do not like to acknowledge. Science fiction is powerful because it exposes our failures and allows us to see our mistakes and bad decisions as part of the adventure we are living today.
We are confronted by our failures and understand them as part of our history by reading science fiction. It allows us to see our mistakes, and it helps us make better decisions in the future to help us create more secure and livable worlds. By reading science fiction, we are confronted with the realities of the natural world, which are often very different from the fantasies we have in our heads. By reading science fiction, we confront ourselves and the reality we live in.
If you want to understand the world you live in today and not think that your problems are only in your mind, I suggest reading some science fiction.
It is a great way to open up your imagination and envision what is happening around you in a different world than you live in today.
© 2022 Emma Kirsten