Science Fiction Intro Livaudais
What is Science Fiction? • Science fiction is a writing style which combines science and fiction. • It is only limited by what we presently know about the basic physical laws of nature. • It evolved as a response to fantasy.
Sci Fi Author’s Definitions The author Theodore Sturgeon said, "'A good science-fiction story is a story about human beings, with a human problem, and a human solution, which would not have happened at all without its science content'"
Sam Moskowitz, fan and biographer: "Science fiction is a brand of fantasy identifiable by the fact that it eases the 'willing suspension of disbelief' on the part of its readers by utilizing an atmosphere of scientific credibility for its imaginative speculations in physical science, space, time, social science, and philosophy"
What do these stories all have in common? • Setting: the future • Advanced technology: genetic engineering, intelligent robots, experimental medicine • Concerned with outer space: aliens, space travel, other planets and solar systems • Paranormal Phenomena and the Occult: ESP, telekinesis, psychics
Why SciFi? • Makes us consider the emotional, psychological, and physical effects of futuristic ideas, conflict and change. • Encourages us to keep an open mind to consider unlimited possibilities. • Provokes questions regarding other forms of life, thereby bringing our own into perspective. • Stimulates curiosity and the capacity for invention. • Presents the reader with moral and ethical dilemmas that correspond to the real world.
Major Themes in Science Fiction • Person versus Society • Person versus Technology • Self- Knowledge – understanding humanity or what it is to be human
The Higher Purpose of Science Fiction • Social Criticism: • Makes a serious comment about the real world • Questions Morality: Often contains a warning for humankind • Makes us examine our own world and practices: Dystopian / Utopian Society
It’s all about the “What if” • Authors chose to write in the science fiction genre because it allows them to reflect upon different scenarios in the future, based on what’s happening today. • Science fiction allows us to investigate our society’s fears, dilemmas and concerns if we take a certain course of action, or if we keep doing things the way that we are.
Fortunately, you don't have to be a "techie," or have a degree in quantum mechanics, to write for this genre. Good science fiction, like all other forms of fiction, is about people. It examines the human condition, perhaps in a whole new landscape, perhaps from an "alien" perspective. But it has to be about people, or readers will have no frame of reference, nothing to relate to. Even if there isn't a human anywhere in your story, you're human, and your readers are human. To create that all-important empathy between reader and character, you'll be describing your aliens (or robots, or artificial intelligences) through human perceptions.
Science Fiction: The Literature of Ideas by MargGilks, Paula Fleming, and Moira Allen • Science fiction has come a long way since its early days, when Isaac Asimov defined it as "that branch of literature which is concerned with the impact of scientific advance upon human beings" (Modern Science Fiction, 1953). By the 70s, the genre of science-based ideas had grown; it wasn't just concerned with science, but with consequences. It asked "what if?" What if a world existed in which this or that were true? Pamela Sargent dubbed it "the literature of ideas."
Sci Fi Elements in Childhood’s End • Setting: the future - the beginning of the 21st century -50 years later, the middle of the 21st C • Concern with Outer Space: -Aliens -Humans have been to the moon; haven’t yet traveled the whole solar system • Advanced Technology: -advanced communications, speedy travel • Paranormal Phenomena -ESP and psychic experiences, the Ouija board, The Overmind