Science Fiction has been my passion for many years now. I first picked it up over six years ago and have since then fallen in love. I wrote my first thesis on the aliens in the Xenogenesis trilogy by Octavia Butler. Revisiting science fiction, because how could I not, I wrote my Masters thesis on cyborgs in He, She, and It, vN, and Saturn’s Children. Not only have I loved from a literary stand point, it has come to be my favorite genre, surpassing fantasy (the favorite of my childhood), and for a few reasons.
From a Literary POV
Academic wise, the study of science fiction, SF, is relatively new. It’s not like other fields of study, the Gothic, that have been around for a while. However, it’s older than you think. For my thesis I had to do hours of research into the evolution and the academia of it. Science Fiction owes a lot of its legacy to magazines where it was published early on. Then it slowly evolves into books later on. Not without exception. Some regard Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, as one of the earliest science fiction texts. But I could literally write a paper on this whole subject.
I do want to mention one part of my SF love that is relevant to why I love it: the SF lens. Science Fiction demands that you look at reading with a new lens. All of a sudden words that we thought we knew take on new meaning. For example, Samuel Delany has a great example when he talks about the reading of “The Metamorphosis: by Franz Kafka. If you take that as just literature, then the transformation from human to bug becomes a type of symbol. But if you read it as SF, the possibilities of it happening open up. He could actually transform. The world does change and we along with it.
And that brings me to why I love it. It opens up doors to new worlds. You may say a lot of literature does that, and you are right. They take us to ancient societies, or fairy lands. But, to me, SF is a little different.
Humans always have a tendency to look to the future. We spend a deal of time looking to the past, but a lot of rumination to the future. Where are we going? What does our future have in store for us? And SF provides a loose answer. It takes the future and shows us. It gives us a view of what our future might look like, to which planet we might go. I would never suggest it is a crystal ball of foretelling (although some devices and events have come to pass), but it gives us scaffolding to bring us closer to the stars. It allows us to record our dreams and our potential, to bring these ideas to print.
In these ideas, we can see visions of our future selves. Through SF, it brings out the best and worst of humanity. It even brings out the non-humans, the aliens. And, what’s my favorite, is it brings out the alien in ourselves. (The alien is one of my favorite metaphors for ourselves). Not only do we see what our world could be like, or our galaxy, but we see what we could be like.
I could go on for a while. I could talk about my favorite alien metaphors, space operas, and SF dystopias. One day, I’d love to. But I want to cap this post here for now. I’ve shared the core of my love of SF and for now, that’s enough.
Why do you love your favorite genre?