Why do you read science fiction? Do you read science fiction purely for entertainment, or do you want something more from science fiction? I’ve always expected a lot more from science fiction then maybe I should have, and that might be unfair to the genre. I never wanted SF to be merely escapism, although I’m afraid that I spent most of my adolescence avoiding reality by reading science fiction. I always told people I thought science fiction’s #1 purpose was to promote manned space exploration. I thought it’s #2 purpose was to inspire the creation of AI robots. It’s #3 job was to warn us of dangerous futures. In other words I thought science fiction should be a kind of cheerleading to build new technologies and an oracle to warn society about paths we shouldn’t take.
Reading science fiction did inspire me as a kid to think scientifically and made me want to be a scientist, but I didn’t have the academic discipline to succeed with that dream. The failure to become a scientist has always been a major regret of mine. I often wonder if I’m wrong about science fiction and that it’s nothing more than good clean reading fun. Because if that’s not true I might have to grade science fiction rather harshly.
Filed under: Science Fiction