I know a lot of people who don’t like fiction in general, and some who don’t like science fiction (sci-fi) in particular.
I’ve heard the genre of sci-fi scorned as cold, escapist, and downright evil. Personally, however, I have found that many scifi stories are compelling studies on the brokenness of humanity, the ways we try to fix ourselves . . . and how we all somehow know deep inside that it will take something greater than us to set us free.
Science fiction is actually a study in irony
“Science” fiction is often the turf of atheists and others who declare that humanity (given sufficient time and technology) can build/think/formulize its way out of any problem. AND YET it’s a genre which demonstrates the limitless ways we are broken and how our technology might be used to enslave or destroy all of us. While appealing to our desire to find immortality . . . sci-fi repeatedly demonstrates the dreadfulness of a fractured personality that might live forever.
And think of it. Nearly all sci-fi stories have a “spiritual” element, a faith or belief in some unverifiable, un-provable (unscientific) thing that is ultimately necessary to save the characters from their worst-case scenario (as in Star Wars). Adding to the irony is that all the best-loved science fiction stories involve robots, androids, or aliens from other worlds that desire to be human—with all the emotion and fragility that entails (I Robot and Star Trek would be classic examples). Those who eschew the “illogical” nature of human emotions, will feast on sci-fi stories that show us the horrors of an existence devoid of it.
In short, Sci-fi continually shows us the scars of man’s imperfections and limitations, yet recognizes that there is something ultimately valuable in the midst of our humanness.
Methinks that many of the crusty science fiction lovers out there are inwardly longing to escape humanity’s ills and to touch eternity—and they somehow know that human solutions won’t be the answer, that there is something beyond nature or what we can touch, calculate, and prove. As far as I am concerned, that’s a great place to start a journey.
[Jesus was . . .] Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am . . . Self-help is no help at all. . . . What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?” Mark 8:35-37 The Message
God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. 1 Corinthians 1:28-29 NIV
Currently blogging on technology—prior to the publication of Breaking the Silence (a scifi book on love and life in the future) by Stephanie Bennett.