Ten Reasons We Love Science Fiction

It’s Top Ten Tuesday time again, hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is Ten Reasons I Love X, where X = whatever topic you like.

This week I enlisted my wife’s assistance and here’s what we came up with.

  1. Not bound by present reality. I think sometimes we get so stuck in what’s happening right in front of us that we forget to see the bigger picture. Science fiction provides us with narratives that extend beyond what’s currently known about the universe into the myriad things that could possibly be.
  2. Sometimes it’s scarier than horror. Have you read any of those science fiction narratives about the near future that’s so close to what could possibly be that it’s terrifying?
  3. Helps think about things from a different perspective. I think this is true of a lot of literature, especially when we read about cultures (broadly speaking) outside our own. For whatever reason, sometimes science fiction makes that more palatable to some people. We love when that’s really well done.
  4. Social commentary without being overtly heavy handed. While the heavy-handed part is not true of all science fiction, in Casa Hit-Ham, we typically read science fiction that doesn’t beat us over the head with the point. It’s that subtle nod toward allegory that keeps us coming back.
  5. The simultaneous predictability and unpredictability of the story. I’m looking at you, epic space operas. The journey of the hero is an well-taught archetype, and I love seeing how authors maintain and/or break the expectations of this archetype. (T makes the point that there are people who argue that archetypes don’t account for all stories. True.)
  6. Came by it honestly. As I look back into my childhood, I was naturally drawn to science fiction narratives. But I think it also might be in my genetic makeup (figuratively). I remember falling asleep to Star Trek: TNG, watched loudly by my father downstairs. I didn’t know it then, but he was setting me up to be a huge science fiction fan. T says she’s been watching science fiction since she was little, arguing that horror is a sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy.
  7. Escapism. Do you need more than that?
  8. Aliens and fantastical creatures are fun. Seriously. T says it’s just fun to imagine a world where such things exist.
  9. You’re Going to Mars! Okay, so this is the title of one of my favorite science fiction audiobooks. If I had to guess at why I liked it so much, my guess would be something along the lines of it’s science fiction meets reality competition show, and I might have a thing for competition shows (particularly the ones where people aren’t assholes to each other, and the ones that involve cooking).
  10. Related to social commentary — the “what if?” of technological advancements. Sometimes this also falls under the category of “scary as hell.” I mean, we just started watching Picard, where the entire story is predicated on synthetic AIs going rogue (as so many stories are). What if Siri/Alexa/Cortana/Whatever-Comes-Next went rogue and started sharing more than just data used for advertising?
  11. What if? All by itself. Bonus.

Confession: it was really fun to write this with my wife. It didn’t make it any easier to come up with the list . . . sometimes I don’t think we need to have reasons to like something.

What’s your list this week? Leave it in the comments so I can go visit you (and I promise I won’t do it while I’m in a Zoom meeting).

Happy reading, and don’t forget to be awesome.

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