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An Attack On Science Fiction

A week ago I was contacted, via instant messaging, from a teacher of mine regarding how my summer vacation was going, lets call him Ted. We talked about what I had been doing with all my time, and I told him about taking it easy, watching some science fiction shows and such.

It was at this point that he pointed out how useless science fiction is, that it is a waste of time and no one should give it any attention. He asserted that things like star trek and aliens have no place in this world, especially when there are things like sports.

Now, unbeknownst to him, I had done an extensive paper on the value of science fiction, and what star trek has contributed to society. So when he said sci-fi was a waste, I just smiled.

“Oh, what?” He asked “You think it is worth all the hubbub people have given it? I can give you several reasons why sports are more worth the time of the world. They give you exercise, a sense of teamwork, and belonging. Science fiction cant give you those” At this point he leaned back in his chair, looking quite pleased with himself.

Trying to calm myself from the inner anger I was feeling, I took a deep breath and looked him in the eyes before proceeding. He had no idea what was about to happen, and I took more than a little pleasure from it.

“So,” I began “you think science fiction is a waste of time do you?”

“Indeed”

“So how do you explain the technological advances achieved because of the inspiration star trek gave people? How about Martin Cooper? Because of a star trek episode he created the first cell phone. Or how about how the modern hypodermic needle was inspired by star trek?”

“Eh…” (His canadian was showing)

“Oh, but that’s not all there is. You said people that play sports get a sense of teamwork. Ok, that may be true, but so do gamers who play science fiction games with each other. Those online ties are so powerful that many games have been branded as addicting.”

He was about to start talking again

“Oh no, Im not done yet!” I interrupted “You say that science fiction in all its ways are useless? How about the millions of jobs it has given people? Whether it be writers, directors, filmers, or actors, many of them have jobs only because of science fiction related media. And lets not forget the multi-billion dollar merchandise selling business.

“But lets not just talk about science fiction, lets address these sports you admire so much. According to a study done in 2007, over 45% of the beer consumed in the united states was due to sport related activities. Whether it be the super bowl, the Olympics, a local game, or just monday night football. Now consider how many people have gotten killed by being drunk, or by a drunk person, who was one of that 45%?

“But hey, I can talk about other things. Lets take a look at the drugs. Because of the massive pressure to perform, there has been an incalculable number of people taking performance enhancing drugs. This includes the professionals and amateurs.

“But lets get back to sci-fi. What of the above things can you attribute to science fiction? What is so bad about it that you make it out to be the devil? I want to know why it is you think is do damn bad about sci-fi!”

I have received no reply.

-Trenton Stahl

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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  1. SMD
    February 25, 2009 at 1:03 am

    You gotta love biases against SF :). Cool story.

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