When some people think of Science Fiction, usually they think of outer space, robots and computers.
However, Sci-fi also encompasses other sciences as well–biology, genetics, oceanography, and Social Science.
What is Social Science? I’m glad you asked.
Essentially, this is an umbrella term which covers anthropology, psychology, sociology, political science, communications and economics. These are the sciences which deal with relationships between humans and the world around us. There are many others that can fit into this list as well. However, each has to do with the study of Humanity in some way.
In Science Fiction, many of these Social Sciences are actually integrated within the stories. Sci-fi doesn’t just deal with the potential futures of technological advances. Sci-fi also shows us the possibilities of our future as a species.
Gene Roddenberry showed us that by putting aside our differences here on Earth, humanity could come together to reach the stars. Jules Verne did much the same, as well as showing us the downside to continued warfare. Neal Stephenson is currently one of the biggest advocates for stories of a more positive spin on the future of Humanity (no more Zombies, please).
Orson Scot Card shows us in “Ender’s Game” and “Ender’s Shadow”. how our fears can lead us to Genocide, and how our compassion can lead us to new revelations and relationships with other species. T.L. Evans has shown us that even in the future, there could still be fractured political parties vying for power behind the scenes, xenophobia, and persons who are willing to rise above for the good of all mankind.
Join me over the next 5 weeks as I delve into a little of what each of these authors/visionaries has introduced us to regarding The Human Condition.
And just to get a discussion going, which side of the fence are you on? Do you believe Humanity is heading toward a dystopic future, or one more akin to Gene Roddenberry’s vision of our future? Will we destroy ourselves, or will we spread out among the stars and bring humanity to a better future?
Tell me what you think, and at the end of this 6 week series, one lucky commenter will win a $25.00 Amazon Gift Certificate.
Join me next week when I discuss Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek vision.
Until then, here’s a bit of sage wisdom from Isaac Asimov.
“Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today, but the core of science fiction — its essence — has become crucial to our salvation, if we are to be saved at all.”
― Isaac Asimov
- Ender’s Game, movie based on Orson Scott Card book, opens at No. 1 (bizjournals.com)
- Star Trek – When Sci-Fi Becomes Reality (urbantimes.co)
- Bill for compulsory science fiction in West Virginia schools (guardian.co.uk)
- And Martians Shall Save the University (newrepublic.com)