I always thought my favourite genre was fantasy because I liked sword fights, court intrigue and magic but after reading Once and Future I now know I can have my cake and eat it as over the past few years I’ve realised I actually really like space ships and new planets, moons and stars, I like rag tag crews flying their (usually) crappy ships through the black just trying to get by and getting dragged into the wrong fight for the right reasons or vice versa, sometimes both. I love rouge A.I’s, I love cyborgs and sentient machines and advanced technology. I love Science Fiction for so many reasons and today I’ll give you six.
noun: science fiction; noun: SF; modifier noun: science-fiction
Fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets.
1. SPACE. This point kind of covers a lot of ground, space means the potential for unexplored moons and planets, unearthing ancient civilisations and finding new ones, it means somewhere for our characters to hide because DAMN space is beyond even the concept of vast and then there’s the technology required to even live and travel in space which is often a lot of fun and then there are the consequences of it as well, be that the time it takes to travel anywhere or characters perhaps being confined in close quarters to each other meaning we get a great chance for interaction where it would have been a case of simply walking away if they were somewhere that didn’t need an airlock? Oh there’s also the fact that space will almost certainly try to kill you if you mess with it too. there are just so many interesting factors brought in when dealing with space and I am nowhere near articulate enough to explain them all but I hope this makes at least a little sense.
2. THE FUTURE!
Although space isn’t always a given for science fiction time is often a factor, ether travelling through it or the fact that time is needed for certain technological advances and or changes therefore almost always putting us into the future. I can’t imagine there are a lot of people out there who haven’t imagined what the future will look like in one way or another even in the simplest of terms and so this is always such a fun part, looking at the way things have changed and sometimes imagining why things have come to be as they are. A good amount of science fiction based in the future, especially the dystopian variety I think also causes us to reexamine the way we do things and what impact our actions and even day to day lives can have on our own future. Science fiction is at it’s heart, about where we’re going and how we get there.
3. NEW TECHNOLOGY! There is a never-ending of new technology in most science fiction, some of it wonderous, some of it terrible and some of it is overlooked as an everyday occurrence. I’m not especially technologically minded myself and even I find myself inspired by the new creations we see in Science Fiction. Did you know that American inventor Simon Lake was first inspired by undersea travel and exploration ever since reading Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and years later his company built the Argonaut which was the first submarine to operate successfully in the open ocean! OR when Martin Cooper, head of research and development at Motorola credited the communicator design from Star Trek as inspiration for his first design of the first mobile phone back in in the early 1970’s, Cooper was quoted as saying “that was not fantasy to us, that was an objective.” Not to mention influences on Atomic power, the rocket, helicopters, face time and many many more. Also just last month I had to google to find out if artificial gravity was actually a real thing…
4. TACKING BIG ISSUES!
No matter when or where Science Fiction is set, often the issues that are at the heart of things can be directly tied to events that affect us in the here and now, Divergent explores early on, the repercussions of things such as stereotyping and shoe horning people into different categories and corrupt governments, much later going as far as to hold peoples genetics against each other and considering them lesser citizens for circumstances of birth which draws a frightening parallel to extreme racism and more (check out the ebook Divergent thinking for loads of great essays about this entire series) and then we have books like Enders Game which although they feature a ten-year-old main character and can easily be enjoyed as a fast paced, action packed, space fighty kind of book it is so multi-layered that it can also act as a scary close look at the ethics and accountability of modern warfare. These are two just two tiny examples, if you look closely there are a huge amount of Science Ficiton Stories out there that are no afraid to tackle big issues, even if they are disguised as an insectoid alien race.
5. ALL OF THE DEBATES AND DISCUSSIONS! Who would win in a fight, Han Solo or Captain Mal Renyolds? Could Spock beat Data at 3D Chess? Would a star destoyer or the Star Ship Enterprise win in a space battle? Is a lightsaber even possible? One of my favourite things about Science Ficiton are the discussions and debates!! I have spent COUNTLESS hours watching videos like the “Becasue Science” ones on the nerdist chanel, last week I watched one entitield “Are Alien Xenomorphs really no match for Darth Vader”, “How every Mass Effect Biotic Power works” and Could The Matrix actually be powered by human batteries?” and so on and so on. Then I go and talk about them to my friends and/or husband and some hilarious debates have come out of these, they’re fun and silly but also really get your head working.
6. NEW PROSPECTIVES!
I love it when a “villains” story or prospective gets revealed and a story gets turned on it’s head, especially when the big bad is perhaps a seemingly crazy A.I or an alien race that just wants to survive, or maybe the Duplo pieces just want to be friends and play together!? (Don’t even get me started on how much I liked the new Lego Movie). These kind of reveals and reversals are one of my favourite science fiction “troupes” I love anything that can turn a story on it’s head and even better if they create moral questions and dilemmas like these often do, Star Trek has a great track history of doing this and as their crews are usually very moral people I love the turn of events this often gives the story and again it makes you think, what would you do in that situation, given that choice? I know this is something that can be present in many genres but it’s my favourite when use in Science Fiction especially.
So that ended up being a lot more involved than I thought it would so I apologise for going on, know this. I love science fiction and although those six points may suggest I love the big epics that make you think, honestly I’m such trash for space opera novels with some moral dilemmas and some good ole fighting. I’m easily pleased and happy to admit as much. Some of my favourite science fiction novels are (obviously) The Illuminae Files
, Once and Future (review coming Tuesday!), The Loneliest Girl in the Universe
, The Quiet at the End of the World
and much much more including a huge list of Star Wars, Star Trek and Mass Effect tie-in novels I won’t go in to now. Do you have a favourite Science Fiction book? Let me know!
Note: I’m aware that Star Wars isn’t technically Sci-Fi but I’m including it anyway.