16
Dec
10

ify:5 why read sci-fi

I actually don’t remember why or how I began reading what is called science fiction. I was limited to books from the public library, but I did see Buck Rogers in the serials played before the Saturday morning movies. Yea, we laughed at Buck Rogers, and the strings holding up the model spaceships, and the stuff that spewed out as ‘rocket exhaust’ and fell to the ground. Gad-zooks – we knew there was no gravity in space 🙂 Still it was fun, just like the early comic books were fun and amazing at the same time.

So I must have gone to the library and begun searching the very limited sci-fi section. I also read every Hardy Boy book the came out, and the ultimate book series Nancy Drew. Boy, did I want to grow up and meet a girl like that!

I didn’t know that sci-fi was not considered literature, it was just fun. Eventually I found authors that I enjoyed and the stories and the characters became a bit more real, and the themes more consistent. Then I saw some of the authors on the news, talking science and learned that writing was a 2nd career .. they were Ph D’s – trained and working in the fields of physics, cosmology, engineering, chemistry, computers, etc.

It’s like I’m taking a home study course in bunch of disciplines (there is real science there) and wondering how these technologies might effect society’s future. In the late 60’s there are very few computers in the entire state of Missouri, Dick Tracy’s wrist device is way in the future, but I learn IBM 360 Assembler while in high school. I take a programming class 1st semester of college, and get hired as a graduate assistant the next, and the news if full of exploits on the “space race”!

So the years begin going buy, and I wonder how many of the fictions I’ve read in these books will become “sci-fact” during my lifetime? And wonder .. could the world disintegrate to the visions of “1984” or “Brave New World”?

Years and then decades wheel by, and I’ve see lots of fiction become fact, seen cultures and countries react in eerily similar ways I’d read about decades earlier, everyone has a computer, our population explodes as resources recede, the computers are connected on the web, and you can strap your smart phone to your wrist if you wish.

Our society accepts Political Correctness as status quo just 20 years after 1984, and the warnings of earlier sci-fi themes are still being ignored. Fishing quotas in the oceans ?, political skirmishes across the planet for water supplies? … the list goes on.

I still wonder how much of the ‘future forecast’ I read will happen and be enjoyed,
but I’m also worried about how much of those forecasts will be ignored,
because the more that is ignored. the more that will have to be endured.

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