Phil for Humanity Phil for Humanity
A Guide for the Survival of Humankind and Helping the World, Society, and Yourself.



Problems with Modern Science Fiction


First, let me state that I love science fiction (sci-fi). I am one of those geeks who watched every single episode of Star Trek, Babylon 5, Doctor Who, etc. I grew up reading Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clark, Robert Heinlein, Jules Verne, and Michael Crichton just to name a few. Unfortunately, Iíve noticed two major issues with modern science fiction that I want to share with everyone.

The first issue is the decline of thought provoking science fiction. I find that modern science fiction, especially in movies, is less concerned with scientific accuracy and more interested in an exciting story and interesting characters with a lot of action. The perfect example is try comparing the book versus the movie of the story ďI, RobotĒ by Isaac Asimov. I like action as much as the next person, but great science fiction is usually more about new creative ideas that expand the mindís limits of imagination and less about the action. I think this has something to do with greed. Companies are more interested in attracting the widest most possible audience to earn more money instead of promoting better quality science fiction that is both thought provoking and interesting.


The second issue with science fiction is what some marketing people call science fiction is not really science fiction. First, Iíll admit that I was never a major fan of the fantasy or horror genres. So when some marketing companies advertise these types of speculative fiction as science fiction, I am more than just annoyed. I know this is not something important enough to be upset over, but it has been a personal pet peeve of mine for as far as I can remember.

It seems that most public relations (PR) groups and firms have no problems calling fiction with no science or even pseudo-science as science fiction. So let me explain the differences between science fiction and speculative fiction.

First, there are two types of science fiction. These types are hard science fiction and soft science fiction. Hard science fiction is fiction based on new or possible future scientific principles or technological advancements, such as time travel, aliens, space travel, robots, etc. Soft science fiction is primarily based on social sciences such as sociology, politics, economics, anthropology, psychology, etc. The distinction between hard and soft science fiction is often blurred together, and their differences are not really important for this article. The point I am trying to make is that science fiction is based on possible, no matter how improbable, scientific and technological predictions.


On the other hand, speculative fiction such as the fantasy or horror genres can include anything with magic, supernatural, mythical creatures, etc. Speculative fiction has no possibility of ever being a scientific reality, since it contradicts reason and science.

In my opinion, the decline of science fiction is increasing at a faster rate than ever before. As science fiction is targeted for a larger audience and thus becomes more popular, the quality is decreasing accordingly.

The only possible solution that I can think of is that true science fiction fans, such as myself, must stop spending so much money on mediocre science fiction. Maybe corporations and especially Hollywood will understand when they start earning less money.

by Phil for Humanity
on 05/15/2007

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