Artistic Rationale

Why is science fiction important now, more than ever? For the same reason it has been important, forever.

If you’re an avid reader or watcher of good science fiction then you know this already. If you’ve enjoyed, laughed, cried, gasped, been inspired, at awe, and speechless with good science fiction, you know this well.

No, it’s not the fabulous post-apocalyptic fashion (and it’s fabulous!), or the escapist wonderland it offers (and it is wonderful), and it’s absolutely not because this has all been predicted by science fiction (science fiction is not prophesy!). It’s because we’re just a bit more well prepared, we have another weapon in our arenal, another tool in our belt, to handle the absurdity and madness roaming through the streets in our cities and the boulevards of our minds.

Science fiction handles extreme situations in its everyday, the types of which we’re encountering now, in our day to day. Science fiction creatives wake up in the morning and instead of coffee, pour themselves a cup of finely roasted absurdity. By venturing into the unknown and bringing us along, science fiction stress tests human society and the human mind. How do we – as individuals and groups, as nations and planets and species – act under extreme conditions. First contact, alien invasions, rise of the machines and yes, even world-wide pandemics.

Science fiction uses extreme conditions to discuss taboo topics. When venturing into the unknown, science fiction also handles the unspeakable, the hidden taboos lying just underneath the surface, presenting itself in plain sight under extreme conditions. What should we notice right now? What should we be attentive to? Science fiction will have important insight.
Science fiction imagines the future, and there’s no time like now to imagine the future. We have an almost uncontrollable urge to drown ourselves in the immediate or the apocalyptic – an obsessive-compulsive insatiable feeding frenzy through our (news) feed, or an escape to end-of-days gags and the romanticizing (not to say fetishizing) of the apocalypse. Actively working to countermand these urges, these impulses, putting these pressures and fears at bay, is a Herculean act, yet necessary by us mere mortals. Not by everybody all the time, but take some time to make some time, to do this. By thinking, talking and imagining the future, we give ourselves, our loved ones and our surroundings, even if not completely or wholly, even if for only a minute, the glimmer of hope.

A year or two from now we’ll be living in a different world. What do we need to notice now? How should we talk, what should we write, what should we be doing now, so that tomorrow will be different from yesterday? Science fiction on all its forms and facets is important always, and doubly so now.