My trip to the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle yesterday inspired this week's Geek in Review:
While it was truly thrilling to see artifacts from the final frontier and beyond, the museum was more than just a collection of cool things: it was an affirmation of why I and so many other people around the world love science fiction, and why science fiction, whether written by Jules Verne in 1864 or directed by Ridley Scott in 1982, endures with a relevance that transcends generations.
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If you look at the first season of the new Battlestar Galactica, it's clearly all about 9/11 . . . or maybe it's just a cool space opera. We don't have to work too hard to see what Make Room! Make Room! -- which was made into the film Soylent Green -- is all about, and 1984 and Brave New World are as horrifyingly relevant today as ever. When my wife and I watched Children of Men (an absolutely magnificent film, by the way) she turned to me about an hour into the movie and said, "This is scary, because it's so plausible." She was referring, of course, not to the infertility, but the surveillance and xenophobia . . . predicted and written about by George Orwell nearly sixty years ago.
These are but a few examples of the real power that science fiction has to address current events in a context that's safe and acceptable for most audiences, while speaking very seriously about them to others. They illustrate why SF endures and resonates with casual and hardcore fans. Whether it was written one hundred years ago, or just published last month, SF can give us warnings about the future, hope for the future, or just blissful escape from the present, into fantastic worlds that are light years away – but as close as our bookshelves.
I'm at Paramount right now, publishing this via the magic of "post in the future." Hopefully, I'll have some cool pictures and stories when I get back tonight. Until then, do you have a science fiction book that you absolutely love to share with people? Let's pick something new and something older. I'll start: Old Man's War by John Scalzi and Foundation by Isaac Asimov.