According to Ursula Le Guin in her introduction to The left hand of darkness, a writer of science fiction is supposed to “take a trend or phenomenon of the here-and-now, purify and intensify it for dramatic effect, and extend it into the future” (1). I could not agree more – science fiction has the ability to place a (somewhat distorted) looking glass in front of the reader or spectator. In this destabilizing mirror one finds life as it is, as well as what it could potentially become, warped and reflected back on itself. Science fiction is less of a fiction and more of a science; an uncanny ability of the artist to grasp reality and show society’s potential from a fresh, often unsettling, standpoint. As Ray Bradbury in his 1970 interview on violence, laughter & sadness so beautifully puts it: artists “take a hold of a piece of reality and say ‘this is what it is’ (1:40min).”

Last week, we spoke a lot about the “what ifs,” and I do believe that those “what ifs” are the fundamentals of science fiction – taking the familiar and defamiliarizing it. The possibilities are no longer limited, and “thought and intuition can move freely within bounds set only by the terms of the experiment, which may be very large indeed” (Le Guin, 1). This is why science fiction as a “metaphor” is so important: it forces us to push the boundaries of our experience so that we may delve into something larger than ourselves (4). Science fiction is about world-building and creating alternatives to how we perceive things to be; “reality is too much with us,” and thus the art of science fiction can elucidate our contemporary reality and become a powerful and influential part of our everyday lives (Bradbury, 2:26min).