Saturday, July 26, 2014

Why write Sci-Fi? We are the future.

I have come across several articles arguing which genre of fiction is best.  I think all genres have their place and the arguments are often poorly founded.  However it is my personal belief that Science Fiction is (in general) the best kind of fiction to have written.  Why?  Well it is quite simple.
Do you know how many inventions that are common place today were created because people were inspired by Science Fiction stories they had read?  There are many, and I will give a classic example: the Star Trek Communicator.

Back when Star Trek was broadcast there were no cell phones or anything of the kind.  Manual typewriters were still commonplace and phones were very basic indeed.  The closest thing at the time was a car phone.  It was very expensive, large (hence needing a car to haul it around), and limited in range.  You could not drive very far past the tower before the signal was too weak.  If your car had a problem, unless it was in the city, the phone was useless to call for help.  Of course there were exceptions but this was the general rule.  Also there were not many channels one could use making congestion a problem.  Not to mention if someone was closer to the tower, they could supersede your call.  Similar to having your favorite radio station "swamped out" by a closer one at almost the same frequency.

Now we have cell phones that fit in your pocket, and the power requirements is greatly reduced since the signal does not need to reach as far (there are cell towers every 2 miles in a normal cell network).  Where did the inspiration come from?  If you compare a modern day cell phone to a original Star Trek communicator they look similar.  Although late 1990's models often have more in common looks wise, Dr. Martin Cooper, inventor of the first hand held mobile phone credits Star Trek communicator as being his inspiration for the technology.

However Star Trek was not the first with such a idea.   Arthur C. Clarke in a 1959 essay wrote about the future where everyone will communicate instantly with one another though simple hand held devices.  Sounds like today doesn't it?

In short, many of the Science Fiction dreams of the past became today's reality.  Science Fiction pushes the limits of what we believe is possible, and many times inspires the scientists and inventors that, eventually, make it happen.  This is why I write Science Fiction, although I doubt my stories will ever inspire someone to actually make a new technology possible. 

But then again if you believe, anything is truly possible.

Don DeBon is the author of Italian Fever, Red Warp, and Soulmates.  Currently available on  Nook, iBook, Kindle, Smashwords, Oyster, Scribd, and Kobo.

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