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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Picking Up the Gauntlet

Merc over at Toasted Scimitar posted a challenge several months ago that I missed until Amy at Inkfever wrote her rebuttal. Actually, looking at the comments, I didn't miss it but I didn't write something very eloquent either.

So, I present to you:

The Defense of Science Fiction

Science Fiction is the realm of the geek. There are fewer happily-ever-afters in sci-fi. There are fewer gods and miraculous escapes. There's certainly fewer Chosen Ones. It's the genre ascribed to pimple faced boys who can't throw a ball and couldn't get a date even if they didn't stutter.

It's also home to Strong Female Characters! As far as gender equality and equal opportunities go science fiction is still one of the best places to find a strong FMC. These women aren't made stupid to fit a convention. They aren't dumbed down, dressed up, plucked, waxed, or pried. They're handed a gun or a star ship and told to get to it. They don't regularly agonize over their male counterparts, getting attention, or getting a date. And they don't second guess themselves.

Nothing makes me drop a book in disgust faster than a weak-minded female. I hate seeing an intelligent women brought to her knees by an author with a self-esteem problem. Seriously! Having two X chromosomes does not mean the character needs to be depressed, reluctant, or shy.

Science fiction is also the playground of the scientist and the ecologist. Futuristic society is where authors can sketch out their hope for a better tomorrow. Science fiction authors set the example of the ultimate Green future. Or, they can... we don't always do that. Some science fiction is a warning of what will happen if Earthlings don't get their act together.Either way, it's good :o)

Point three- Science fiction is the ultimate hope. The hope for cures to illness. The hope for a future for our children. The hope for faster-than-light travel and a ship with big guns and bigger engines..... heh.... well, maybe not everyone hopes for the last one. But having been stuck at the bottom of a gravity well all your life don't you feel a little bit cheated. Don't you ever look up at the nighttime sky and wonder what beautiful vistas you're missing? Don't you ever wonder what it would be like to traverse the endless night? Don't you ever wonder what it would like to just walk away from the wars and strife on Earth?

Space, and science fiction, represent the end of war as we know it. Most wars (including those being fought today we could argue) are due to a lack of resources. For the most part, it's a lack of space. We can't spread our civilizations out far enough so that we can all live the way we want. When we can travel the stars there won't be a limit to that resource anymore. Hopefully there won't be a limit to any resources. Solar power, water, and futuristic inventions will erase or dependency on fossil fuels and let us explore the galaxy.

That's why I love sci-fi.

There are days I feel like the canary in a mine. I'm caged and cut off from every freedom. But I can sing. And the other birds far away can sing back and tell me of the sweetness of flight. The hope of freedom. When I pick up well written science fiction I get that same hope. That same promise of flight and freedom.

1 comment:

  1. Well said. I'd not spent time thinking of a defence of sci-fi, but what you say rings true for me too. It's hope, it's possibilities - it's the future, and that intimately concerns us all.

    I, too, am a canary - and I, too, will sing.