My first short story was about a psychologist employed at a research facility in Southwestern Colorado. His employer was funded by the government to research ways to manipulate a human’s perceptions of his own reality through drugs and what was known as the Dream Room, basically a 30×30 room with wall to wall 3D screens and interactive 4D holographic images. The patients were put into the room and then shown whatever series of images the researchers thought would work best to manipulate the patients’ perception of reality.
It was garbage. I thought it was brilliant at the time though. And the last line, “Her smile faded over and over again, forever.” Well, I thought it was gold. I may let you read it sometime.
That’s science fiction. I didn’t think it so at the time, but everything I write is science fiction.
Is it a preference? A moral imperative? An uncontrollable urge?
I think it just happens that way. It’s the language by which I communicate difficult ideas to people I think may have more difficulty coming to terms with them than I do. Do I think I’m smarter than my readers? Absolutely not, and that’s why I prevent myself from writing some days. I’m afraid my readers are more intelligent than I am.
Consider H.G. Wells and Jules Verne – who some consider the Fathers of Science Fiction. Their works weren’t about the technology presented, it was about mankind and how he would react in the presence of such changes. Would he change? Or would he stagnate and impede the progress of his species?
You should read The Sleeper Awakes by H.G. Wells.
To me, science fiction is not about the setting, the characters, the technology. It’s not robots, aliens, spaceships, lasers. A work, to me, qualifies as science fiction if it poses a question that we have yet to answer as a species – that one day we must answer as a species.
The truth of our present is not in our past, it is in our future. Our worth should not be based on what we have done, but what we have the potential to do.
There is no greater commentary on both our past and present than our possible future.
We equate success to wealth, power, and fame – not vision, creativity, imagination.
We waste a great deal of time defending the traditions of generations long past as the road map to our future. We concern ourselves with where we sit in comparison with the rest of the world, and where we came from, when our lives should be dedicated to progress – the forward motion of our species into the frontier that lies just beyond where we’ve become comfortable existing.
The human species’ worst enemy is the human species we were yesterday.
We have allowed this idea of permanence to pervade and infect our culture, whether social, civil, military, corporate, or spiritual. We find contentment and then vehemently protest the movement away from that comfort zone. That … is … stagnation. We find our cash cow, and then rail against the cash machine. We inherit a prime location, and we won’t part with it for FEAR that we might not find something better.
I listen to a lot of news radio and I’m disturbed by the amount of paid advertising the oil corporations are putting out there pushing and pushing for continued support of their livelihood, regardless of its effect on the environment, more advanced initiatives, cleaner technology. It sickens me. It is the equivalent of the horse trader sabotaging the steam engine. The pickaxe maker spreading rumors about the dangers of mining machinery. The abacus entrepreneur swearing that the calculator causes cancer. The Flat-Earth believer stoning Copernicus. The monotheist tribe slaughtering the polytheist tribe.
The Promethean flame evolves, and we must evolve with it, eagle be damned.
That is why sci-fi.