For a long time in my life, science fiction was simply a genre of movies and books to me. I did not take a particular interest in it, but it represented fun, wonder, imagination. I knew that it often presented a fictional world in the future with technological advancements and drastic shifts in lifestyle, but never thought to dive deeper to draw a connection to the world I am currently living in.

More recently, I have found science fiction (and speculative fiction) to be a large source of inspiration for my own work; it has helped me parse through current events and wrap my head around the world around us. As Ursula Le Guin states in her introduction to The Left Hand of Darkness, “science fiction is not predictive; it is descriptive.” Indeed, the most meaningful insights I have gained from reading science fiction novels are not about how this world would or could turn out to be, but more about how people continue to live life and foster relationships with each other in a changing environment and in a different society. By describing an alternative world, we see more clearly what is at the core of our actions, feelings, and thoughts. Whether it is about aliens, space/time travel, new planets, or cyberspace, the reality of the people living in that imagined world gives us a deeper understanding of our own world.

While appreciating the precious relationships we form with those around us, we also learn to recognize our own flaws through science fiction. Of course, there are plenty of examples of didactic stories on utopias and dystopias, but even the more subtle fictional accounts prompt us to think about what is truly important to us as a society and what direction we want to move forward in. Given the current chaos in our world around information technology, I hope to find a brighter future for ourselves by browsing through and studying science fiction.