(Just a note for anyone who’s confused – we’ve gone to a T/Th posting schedule for the summer. Don’t cry – it’ll be okay.)
We’re going to be looking at science fiction in depth for the next few weeks, so I thought I’d get things started a bit early.
Science fiction. The “science” is the important part, right? That’s what separates it from the other genres. That’s what makes it important and different.
Yes, science fiction gets its genre name from the fact the many of the original stories involved science and technologies that had yet to be explored – space travel, time travel, robots, smart houses, hoverboards (you LIED to us, Back to the Future. And the Jetsons). But what science fiction does, even more than that, is put society into the future, where things have been extrapolated from the present (both technology and culturally), and see how we, as a species, react to these changes.
Science fiction is, and always has been, a commentary on the human psyche.
And that’s why, perhaps more than any other genre, science fiction needs heart. Because the human reaction is such a necessary part of most science fiction, we need to be able to identify with the characters. We need to care about them, understand their reactions to the new and the weird, and wonder if we would react the same way in the same circumstances.
Science fiction writers/producers/whatever don’t necessarily need to be rocket scientists, but they do need to understand people.
Think about your favorite scifi book, movie, TV show. What drew you most to it? Was it the strange new worlds? The weird alien species? The mind-boggling physics?
Or was it the characters?
Did you tune in each week to see the science, or to see how people reacted to the science?
And perhaps some of the most interesting aspects of true character-based science fiction is how even the aliens can have human characteristics.
What’s your favorite science fiction whatever, Squiders? Is it the science that drew you in? Why or why not?