OPINION: Why Science Fiction?
There are many genres of literature and film I enjoy, but perhaps my favorite is science fiction. Even just saying or hearing the name I immediately am taking a trip down memory lane in grade school. I remember every year at our annual book fair I would save the money I had (literally quarters and dimes) and get a few paperback books. There were always books that intrigued me. I mean books are there to engage and intrigue, but for me, the most engaging books were always the science fiction novels. Regardless of how nerdy this post may be, I do enjoy the many variations of science fiction, and have learned to appreciate them as more than “nerd culture,” or whatever one wants to call them.
The well-known Star Wars series is the first series that comes to mind, as most people would say too. The movie and extended universe novels (though admittedly not masterworks) did leave a long-lasting legacy of bringing the science fiction to mainstream audience. For Star Wars, the work of George Lucas has affected generations of movie-goers. The Star Wars series were not the first movies to explore galaxies far far away, but it did stake the claim of many other science fiction movies, television shows, and novels. Okay, now that my Star Wars rant is over, let’s get into a more modern (less fantasy-like) example of science fiction.
Perhaps my favorite iteration of modern science fiction does not hold as high as a cultural relevance as Star Wars does, but it holds a special place on my personal science fiction list. The Netflix series Black Mirror is basically The Twilight Zone of the 1960s placed in the 21st century and near future. There are no aliens, men in black, or monsters as presented in The Twilight Zone. Instead the theme of every Black Mirror episode is centered on the use of technology in the lives of the people that inhabit these varying societies. The use of technology in the episodes of Black Mirror range from memory implants to (extreme attachment to) social media to genetic cloning. Some topics discussed in the show are nothing short of disturbing yet at the same time eye-opening. Some episodes have happy endings, others have some ambiguous endings, all of the episodes have the twist in plot that either confirms, throws away, or just straight up confuses. The audience is left wanting more and usually at the end of an episode there are more questions being asked than answered. There are only a few episodes per season, and the wait until the next season is long awaited by viewers of the show. Every time episodes come out, my friends and I are quick to alert each other. We dive into the hour long science fiction madness that is Black Mirror. The series is very well made and I highly recommend it.
Ultimately, the reason why I enjoy science fiction so much is the wonderment that comes with the genre. There are a million different ways to carry on these types of stories. Specifically, Black Mirror provokes a thought of “what if” in my mind. That is the response I feel should be brought up. The speculative nature of science fiction plants the “what if” seed in the minds of its audience. And with that thought in the people’s minds, perhaps they too will observe, question, and craft these stories of eerie intrigue.