Dreams into Reality: The Underpinnings of Science Fiction

Science Fiction has been around for a bit. There’s a few examples of some ancient stories, and one can argue (it’s a reach, if you ask me) that ancient mythology pretty much filled the role for the ancients, what Science Fiction fills for us in the present day. The “science” behind speculative fiction and fantasy is decently well known; built on a basic knowledge of physics and the material universe, authors usually create a world where plausible technology and possible futures are populated with likeable (or at least interesting) characters.

The world created in the far future of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series is a universe we recognize, even if it is set light years away and centuries ahead of our present time. We recognize ourselves and our world in these future stories the same way we can recognize and relate to the epic of Gilgamesh  or the Iliad. We recognize and appreciate the human endurance and the unique human experience regardless of the setting or fantastical element.

Strife, and striving for something better is usually that singular element in a good story. Man versus man, man versus environment… It all breaks down into man trying to achieve something better for himself, against the odds. A good author fills us in along the way. In Science Fiction, we see advanced societies that have already progressed beyond our wildest dreams, but still have conflict.

The sword becomes the lightsaber. The solar system a mere colony.

Even dystopian Science Fiction like Philip K. Dick has a glimmer of hope. Arnold beats up Richter and all is well in the world. The Man in the High Castle produces enough lucid videos to defeat Hitler.

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