Intergalactic journeys, super-intelligent robots, aliens, mutants, enhanced humans, ray guns, advanced weapons, alternative histories, time travel, mind control, telepathy, future evolution are all results of fiction, to be precise Scifi or Science Fiction.
Science fiction is one of the complex genres in literature with a wide range of sub-genre and themes. With this complexity its hard to define what it is. Pioneers often mention Science fiction as a”literature of ideas.”
One of the simplest definition for SciFi was given by Issac Asimov. He said, “Science fiction can be defined as that branch of literature which deals with the reaction of human beings to changes in science and technology.”
The rapid increase in technological innovation and new inventions during the first half of the twentieth century combined with the urge of humans to know what will be the future promoted science fiction literature to rise into popularity. It started to occupy all kinds of media from print, films, radio, televisions etc.,
Many mainstream scientist and science communicators turn towards science fiction as a tool to promote Science. In the wake of this move, Carl Sagan, wrote: “Many scientists deeply involved in the exploration of the solar system (myself among them) were first turned in that direction by science fiction. And the fact that some of that science fiction was not of the highest quality is irrelevant. Ten year‐olds do not read the scientific literature”
“One of the great benefits of science fiction is that it can convey bits and pieces, hints and phrases, of knowledge unknown or inaccessible to the reader … works you ponder over as the water is running out of the bathtub or as you walk through the woods in an early winter snowfall.”Carl Sagan
Today, National Science Fiction day is unofficially celebrated by many science fiction fans in the United States, as a celebration of the official birthday of the famous science fiction writer, Issac Asimov. His popular works includes “The Foundation” series, “The Galactic Empire” series and the “The Robot series.” He is considered as the “Big Three” science fiction writers of his time, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke
~ A Crater on Planet Mars got his name
~ 5020 Asimov is an asteroid, named after him
“And because today’s real life so resembles day-before-yesterday’s fantasy, the old-time fans are restless. Deep within, whether they admit it or not, is a feeling of disappointment and even outrage that the outer world has invaded their private domain. They feel the loss of a ‘sense of wonder’ because what was once truly confined to ‘wonder’ has now become prosaic and mundane.”Issac Asimov, 1967
Science fiction is a medium to communicate science and it is here to stay for the years to come till the humans lacking his ‘sense of wonder.‘
Sciteum, feels proud in celebrating the National Science Fiction Day and Issac Asimov’s birthday today.
*Image credit: David Revoy(CC BY 3.0)