Egotism, Film & Television Opinion

IWSG: The Power of Scifi

This is an entry for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group, a way for writers to discuss their writing anxieties. It cross-posts on each others’ blogs on the first Wednesday of each month.

In my writing I wander a lot around different genres, but the one that I’m most strongly attached to (as you might suspect from my blog’s name) is science fiction. The thing I’ve always loved about the genre is the scale and sense of escapism. Classic science fiction has always dealt with really big ideas – Isaac Asimov’s Foundation saga is about the collapse of a corrupt empire and the people trying to replace the chaos with something better. Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001 is about how Humanity will cope with contact from alien races who are beyond our comprehension. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is about the creation of a new form of life, and the moral responsibilities involved. Great science fiction takes what could be dry academic discussions and breathes life into them, making them real.

One of the things that I’ve liked about writing science fiction since an early age is the amount of freedom the author has. The society can be moulded according to whatever the story requires (or what the author thinks will be fun). There’s pretty much no limitations.
One of the things I love most about science fiction (whether reading or writing) is exploring philosophies, and how different outlooks impact on actions. For example the characters in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress have a society which strongly values independence, leading them to break away from control by superiors on Earth. And the current series of Star Trek: Discovery follows two groups of near identical people in two parallel universes, shaped differently by a peaceful outlook in one universe (the Federation) and a fascist society in another (the Terran Empire).

In essence science fiction gives us a chance to play around with future history, and to use scenarios that we can’t possibly know to play around with issues that affect our modern day, with a bit of emotional distance. Those are some of the basic reasons why science fiction has always been my favourite genre.

2018-02-07 The Power of Scifi


16 thoughts on “IWSG: The Power of Scifi”

  1. I like reading and watching Science Fiction because the things that are created and portrayed could happen one day. While a lot of the time lines aren’t right, the recent discoveries in science are allowing science fiction to become reality. I recently wrote a research paper on cloning and some of things that are happening feel like they should be straight out of a science fiction novel. Not in a negative way either. Cloning organs so someone doesn’t have to wait for someone to die to get a heart. That’s amazing!
    I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of the things I like about scifi is that it’s like a practice run for the future. Obviously the future will be different to what we imagine, but science fiction lets us anticipate the problems in advance, and develop language for talking about it. It sounds like you’re much more knowledgable about that kind of thing than me though, if you’re writing research papers on cloning! What do you think the big prospects for cloning are going to be? Organs for transplant? Is lab-grown meat classed at cloning?


    1. I think science fiction can be a great reminder of just how big the universe is. The Milky Way’s 100,000 light years across, there’s over 200 billion stars in the Milky Way, the nearest star to the Sun is over four light years away… I don’t think its possible for people living in our era to fully comprehend how big even our galaxy is!


  2. One of the things I love about science fiction is that it is sort of escapism and sort of not. It lets you get away from real life for a while, but afterwards it also helps you see real life in a new way. At least that’s what happens when science fiction is done right.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a really good description. As much as science fiction is often set in a different era or society, it’ll be reflective of the era that produced it. I think Rod Sterling said that one of his main motives for making the Twilight Zone was that it allowed him to sneak in political messages that the censors and the audience may have been hostile to if it wasn’t in a genre as disconnected as science fiction. It can definitely help recontextualise the world around us.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the thought of exploring different philosophies and the impact on the world and actions. I haven’t been brave enough until recently to really explore science fiction, but I am excited where my thoughts are going with it. Great post, David. 🙂


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