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Why waste the time?

26 December 2013

lensmanWhen I was younger, many an adult (not my parents, because they were cool as hell) didn’t understand why I was way into Star Trek, Larry Niven, Asimov, and pretty much any other science fiction I could get my hands on.

That crap’s all made up, they’d think (or sometimes say). Why waste your time on stuff that isn’t real? Why not get into something that actually exists?

Again, it wasn’t my parents who said this. But a few teachers did, and some random other adults who saw a nerdy, scrawny kid who was all about imaginary spaceships and made-up aliens. Many of them couldn’t understand why anyone would care about science fiction, because none of it is real. None of it will help you prepare for life in the real world; a job, bills, traffic.

Now, of course, if some of those teachers are still around, they might have noticed that the world today bears more resemblance to the science-fiction shows and books of the 1980s than they ever thought it would. Instantaneous communication, world-spanning computer networks, and tiny, powerful computers we all carry around with us every day would have seemed like sci-fi in 1983. Today, they’re almost mundane.

I think the world has made my point for me, but just in case it hasn’t — science fiction isn’t, and never has been, a waste of time. It’s the way we start looking at things differently, the way our scientists figure out what it is they want to do next. Warp drive, transporters — they might exist some day just because a kid watched a lot of Star Trek. Mars colonies and artificial intelligence are right on the horizon; stuff that adults in the 80s never would have thought possible.

Read sci-fi, everyone. Know what the future is bringing. And hey, why not write some of that future yourself?

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