Science Fiction. For some people, these two words conjure images of nerds and dorks reading books and watching movies about aliens and future fantastic worlds completely outside the realms of reality. For the most part I would say that although this may be true on occasion, it is not true for all Science Fiction and anyone who dismisses this category of literature and film is missing out on worlds of possibilities. That’s right… possibility. For although lots of Sci-Fi is too fantastic to take as fact yet (hence the fiction part), there is a plethora of Sci-Fi that seems to tap into a subconscious vein, to actually feel the pulse of the world and its tendency to sometimes move faster than the fantastic.
All you need to do to realize this is look at today’s headlines (if you can stomach them) and see that we are already living in a science fiction world. People who grew up fifty years ago and are still alive now never in their wildest dreams could have imagined the world we live in today. Here are a few headlines off CNN at a glance as I write this, and mind you, these are not even off the Science or Technology sections: we’ve got ISIS. In other words, crazies who want to form a caliphate based on 13th century dogma here in the 21st century. Sounds like it would have made a good Sci-Fi story before it became reality, barbarianism vs. modernism. Another headliner: Ebola, an extremely infectious virus born out of deep Africa and carried around the world via large metal flying contraptions that can transport people anywhere in the world within hours…Sounds like the workings of a horrific Sci-Fi story.
We also have about twenty stories on the CNN homepage (toted as headlines on a so-called major news source) about celebrities and their he-said-she-said gabbing while all across the CNN site ads flicker and flash, trying to cause epilepsy with their desperate message of consumerism. I’m sorry, but this sounds exactly like something out of some dystopian Sci-Fi story. And how did I look these stories up? How am I writing this blog and how are you able to read it right now? Via the Internet, a nebulous invention built and designed by physicists connecting little pieces of plastic and fiber optics together to send bits of information shooting at the speed of light down cables stretched across the ocean floors. HUH?
People, look around you. Sci-Fi is Now. We are living it, it’s everywhere and it’s just going to keep getting crazier from here on out. I would even go so far as to say that Sci-Fi should be considered the Perfect Literature for the 21st century.
A link to show you the major scientific breakthroughs of 2014: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_in_science
This is an era of runaway tech, of pocket supercomputers, robots, drones, clones, GMOs, cyberattacks, deep AI research, 3-D printing, increased life expectancy, where the blind can see again, where the paralyzed can wear exo-skeleton suits and walk again, where we have declining resources, overpopulation, you name it. This century is coming at us roaring, full speed ahead, guns blazing and what is the only type of literature which takes this type of thing seriously? Sci-Fi. Speculative fiction. 1984 – Orwell’s sci-fi novel written in 1948, which now seems to have hit a little too close to home with its similarities to the NSA. Brave New World and Huxley’s vision of genetic engineering and euphoria-based substance abuse. And there are countless others if you dig around, clarion calls from writers past. shouting warnings, shining their beacons for future generations, trying to light the path ahead. This is not the realm of geeks, nerds and dorks anymore, just like computers aren’t either. No, this is the realm of Now, the realm of possibility, and the Literature of Ideas–as some aptly refer to Sci-Fi as being–may be the only place we can get any type of perspective on this crazy world, this bizarre epoch that we are living in.
Hell, it might even help to point us in the right direction as we continue screaming into the future with no brakes, roaring at the speed of light…