Sunday, July 09, 2006

Infinities of Potential

Jennifer asked what drives us to Science Fiction a few posts below. I thought that was a good enough question to wax philosophical.

It's the possibility that drives me. My folks took me to see Star Wars when it first came out in theaters (probably because they couldn't find a babysitter, LOL!) and Star Trek the Movie. We watched reruns of TOS whenever they came on. But my folks aren't big readers. In junior high, though, my friend Sarah (to whom I will always be in debt) introduced me to her older brother's dog-eared trilogy of Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series. That did it for me. From then on, I sucked up everything by McCaffrey, and whatever came through the library's SF shelves (most of it pulp SF from the seventies that I barely half-remember).

I loved the possibilities inherent in SF. What I remember of the pulp I devoured in junior high broke through boundaries for me. I read stories that mentioned things that were considered verboten in other literature (this I found out later) like alternative lifestyles, drug use, sexual and gender role shake-ups. SF took the aspects of society we take for granted and pulled them apart. Put them under a glass and examined the whys and whats both in and out of context. Thanks to SF, I learned to do the same. I broadened my horizons and gradually came to understand that even though everybody I knew in my suburban subdivision of Generica, USA was pretty much the same, there were still in existence other ways to be. That understanding has shaped my worldview, and extends deeply into every aspect of my life. And if I have the chance to open someone else's mind like that--then by the Gods, I'll jump at that chance.


MK Mancos/Kathleen Scott said...

You grew up in did I! We probably went to the same school. : )

It's funny but when watching those reruns of Star Trek as a child I never once thought it weird that Uhura was a woman of color, or that Spock was a different humanoid altogether. They were just people. People who traveled to other worlds and rubbed elbows with cultures who lived and breathed and to me were every bit as real as the one's in our neighborhood.

I loved that! Never missed it. When TNG came out in the eighties (I'm thinking I was already in college by then) I was in heavan. Because once again I could travel to distant lands, far from the maddening crowd on earth and finally touch the stars. What adventures! What fun!

When DS9 started...I knew I wanted to live there. How cool would that be to live on a space station? I'm currently writing a novel that deals with life on a space station and the planet below. No, it's not Bajour or Cardasia, but my hat is definately off to those brave souls who sought out new lives and new civilizations, who boldly went where no one had gone before.

May sci-fi never go out of favor with audiences.

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

I agree with MK, that sci-fi blurred the lines for me. I don't see the pointed ears or scales or decorative brow ridges. No matter what races the characters are, they're still people and ultimately the stories are still about human interraction and what makes us tick no matter what we look like on the outside.

Lynda K. Scott said...

SF Rules! LOL, okay, that's my opinion. I've been in love with SF for--oh, sheesh--most of my life. I was a Trekkie before the term became popular. Any show or book that even hinted it dealt with outer space...I had to have it or see it.

For me, it was the sense of adventure...probably because space (and our oceans) are truly the last frontier, the last place where men and women can be bold while establishing new homes, new territories, new lives.

I like to think that my books reflect that sense of adventure, that boldness of spirit that typifies the 'always questing' aspect of our human nature.