FROM IMAGINATION TO REALITY


Yesterday I started reading “Nineteen Eighty-Fourby George Orwell. In only the first chapter I’ve been able to see the amazing inspiration this novel and author have had on modern science fiction movies and our society. The images that his amazingly descriptive writing invokes are stunning. In the first few pages, I’ve seen the visuals from movies such as “V for Vendetta”, “Equilibrium” andAeon Flux“.

Two days ago, I watched a program on the Science Channel about the prophetic stories of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, the Fathers of Science Fiction. These men had fantastic imaginations, were intelligent enough to pick the brains of learned men of science, and created machines of their future that they didn’t necessarily live to see come to fruition. As a matter of fact, H.G. Wells died angry at the world because we had used nuclear weapons for destruction. He had foretold with his novel “The Time Machine” the use of nuclear weapons which would decimate the world. He did his very best to show us the fears of the future. While Jules Verne showed us the potential wonders that were to come.

The sad thing is, though, Wells gave scientists the idea for creating the H-bomb. So one could postulate that, if he hadn’t written about it would it have taken scientists longer to figure it out? Would Hiroshima have been bombed? The world will never know.

Jules Verne predicted that we would go to the moon in his novel, “From the Earth to the Moon”. He even described how we’d get there. Most of what he wrote about has come to pass or is in the process of doing so. He was the first to suggest that people would venture to the bottom of the ocean to explore and live there in “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Science Fiction has been used to give voice, to the world at large, of possible things to come. If you look at many of the technological advances mentioned in the Star Trek franchise, you’ll see how far we’ve come. Kirk’s communicator became our cell phones. The computers on the desks of Captain Piccard and Data became our laptop computers. Dr. McCoy and Dr. Crusher used Hypo sprays to give people shots. These hypodermic injections actually exist. They shoot up under the skin instead of into the skin.

So what’s my point, you ask? My point is that Science Fiction has opened the doors to so many of the most amazing technological advances of our time. Imagination and curiosity have fueled our desire to ask, What If?

Brilliant men such as Verne, Wells, Huxley, Orwell, and Roddenberry have stoked the curiosities and imaginations of so many scientists over the past seventy years. They also warned of the potential for devastation and destruction. With science fiction there has been balance which shows us who we truly are and what we are capable of: good, bad and baboon-butt ugly.

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