So, this 'blog is primarily dedicated to the discussion of all things fantastic. I prefer it that way, for I dearly love fantasy, and as I discussed in the last post, I dearly love the myth that fantasy drew from. However, I felt a need to write a brief comment on fantasy's cousin science fiction.
I say cousin, but they aren't really cousins, although they are often lumped together. Part of this, I believe, comes, perhaps on the speculative nature of them both. Some of this comes from a sort of blurring of the lines in movies such as Star Wars, which has blasters and starships, but is in all its particulars, except for set dressing, a fantasy film. Space fantasy to be sure, but fantasy. Even more thorny are shows such as Star Trek, which is more scientific than Star Wars, but which is still, in terms of real science, not very scientific. This is all to say, that just as fantasy runs the entire gamut from high to low, swords and sorcery to epic, so there is also a spectrum for science fiction, based primarily on the grounding of its speculations in actual science. At the far end of the spectrum, closest to fantasy are films and books such as Star Wars. At the opposite end is the hard science fiction, preferred by thos great science fiction authors such as Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov.
I enjoy the whole spectrum, unlike, my wife, for example, who prefers fantasy almost to the exclusion of science fiction. Some of my favourite books have been science fiction, especially books by Clarke and Heinlein. My wife is not alone, however. Fantasy, especially juvenile fantasy, is very trendy right, likely in the light of the successes of books series such as Harry Potter. It is interesting to me that one may read Harry Potter and his companions, good and bad, and still not have to worry about losing your high school status as a "cool kid" (this is a gentle ribbing to all those "Mormon Mommy 'Bloggers" who loved Twilight, but would be horrified to hear it described as fantasy), but Asimov and Heinlein are still the domain of the geek.
So, I have certain geek tendencies, although social awkwardness is not really one of them, my wife would hasten to add. Regardless, science is an important part of our world-view, and I personally think that science needs science fiction. After all, every religion needs its myths.... In all seriousness, I suppose the primary purpose of this post was to encourage my readers who love fantasy (and if you don't, you are unlikely to read me more than once)to branch out a little bit and try some science fiction. I'd start with something accesible, like Clarke's brilliant 2001: A Space Odyssey or if you like a little bit of philosophy with your reading, Heinlein's Starship Troopers walks an excellent line between a discussion of the rights of citizenship and a rollicking adventure yarn. To my readers who already read science fiction, let's read some more.
Excelsior (ad Astrum.)