Truth In Science Fiction (or Fantasy) 14 August, 2023 – Posted in: Articles, Science Fiction – Tags: Opinion, SF
Truth is becoming a tricky thing. An avalanche of information assaults us on a daily basis. With all this ‘information’ it has become nearly impossible to find the truth about anything. Once reputable news sources are now mouthpieces for sale. Journalistic integrity is non-existent. And where journalists used to tread where angels dared not, they now face harsh reprisals for not conforming to company ‘standards’.
Fortunately, there are other avenues of truth available. Science fiction has had a long tradition of commenting on current affairs through the guise of storytelling. It is a back channel to free expression because the larger media culture overlooks it. There have been science fiction stories since the 1950s that have ripped apart specious ideologies under the noses of those espousing those ideologies.
Science fiction, and to a lesser extent fantasy, allow paths for truth when others face suppression. In a time where reasoned thinking is giving way to emotional rhetoric, this channel needs to come to the forefront once more. Science fiction will undoubtedly rise to the challenge.
The truth about science fiction is that it has never been about the future. Its true focus has always been on the here and now. By taking today’s problems and examining possible outcomes science fiction has created a method for pointing out the flaws in processes both social and technological. This quote sums it up nicely:
“A good science fiction story should be able to predict not the automobile but the traffic jam.”-Frederik Pohl
Science fiction looks at long-term outcomes of various aspects of life now. Something most decision-makers fail to take into consideration. The state of the world requires us to shift our focus from what feels good today to what will make things better in the future. Science fiction is the perfect way to do this. It has done this successfully for nearly a hundred years.
Therefore, science fiction will need to continue in its importance of highlighting the ignorance and thoughtlessness of the now. The truth in science fiction is that its true power is in the hope that the future will be much better than the past, or the now.