Essay 1: What is Science Fiction?

Essay 1: What is Science Fiction?2021-05-16T16:01:37-05:00

Science Fiction’s Metaphor

Science Fiction’s Metaphor

     Ursula K. Le Guin’s definitions for science fiction are interesting and compelling. She mentions that science fiction is a “metaphor […] drawn from certain great dominants of our contemporary life—science, all the sciences, and technology, and the relativistic and the historical outlook”.  In this sense, it’s like any other form of fiction, yet, at the same time, it conveys something new. Science fiction, as its name specifies, needs a scientific fact. In the end, we can take this fact to an incredible context, but it is still science. In other words, it’s something we can grasp from our normal understanding of science, an extension of what we’ve discovered to this day.

     I define science fiction as a disguise. Science Fiction is a tool to disguise reality and question ourselves.  Just like a metaphor, it hides something and pretends it is something else. […]

By |February 12th, 2021|Categories: Essay 1, Paola E., What is SF|0 Comments

Who is Dionysios: A Metaphor and The New Birth of Tragedy

Friedrich Nietzsche used to call a balance between Apollonian and Dionysiosian culture in his early work The Birth of Tragedy, which was a representative work of his early life. If our traditional literature including poems and prose should be called an Apollonian culture, then Science Fiction should be the Dionysiosian side. In The left hand of darkness, Ursula Le Guin wrote that “Apollo blinds those who press too close in worship. Don’t look straight at the sun.” Based on that, Science Fiction is a balance of power as a Dionysionian power — insane, madness, irrelated to the true world, messy imagination of an inexisted world. 

But wait, that is not all. Someone has mentioned the Sun in some other way — that Sun will no longer be represented by Apollo — instead, that is the Sun which people are […]

By |February 9th, 2021|Categories: What is SF|1 Comment

What is Science Fiction?

Science fiction presents contemporary concerns through surrealist and fantastical metaphors. Stories of aliens and warfare, of technology and advancement, of utopia and fallibility hardly describe visions of pure fantasy. Instead, these plots reconcile existing strife, or at the very least, anticipate the pains that lay in the future if current trajectories are left unencumbered.

The original version of H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds manifests an alien invasion at the heart of the British Empire. Superficially, the tale was not out of the ordinary. Popular literature of the day envisioned the foreign powers attacking European homelands, and public perceptions swayed with these narratives. Fears of coming war were well-founded, and in many ways, the tripods’ attacks on southern England forecast the gruesomeness of the next century.

Yet, science fiction’s grandeur also provides cover, enabling authors to subtly consider ideas that are even less palatable to the masses than global warfare. […]

By |February 9th, 2021|Categories: Connor, Essay 1, What is SF|0 Comments

What is Science Fiction?

When I think of the physical and biological sciences, I assume they adhere to rigid protocols. Which, to an extent, is true. However, many of science’s biggest discoveries were produced by people questioning and pushing the boundaries, creating a new paradigm. I view science fiction as a way for everyone to exercise that same imaginative inclination. Ray Bradbury’s explanation of literature acting as a safety valve for violence runs parallel to that idea. 

Bradbury believes that literature lets us release the tensions of everyday life by allowing us to channel our instinctive thoughts into a fictional scenario. In that way, science fiction lets us respond to science and technology. Rather than leave the science to the scientists, “fiction” is how we come to terms with those “what-ifs” in the science and technology that surround us. Science fiction lets us explore the science we […]

By |February 9th, 2021|Categories: Essay 1, Lupita O., What is SF|0 Comments

What is science fiction?

As Ursula Le Guin asserts in her introduction to The Left Hand of Darkness (1980), science fiction is metaphor. She writes, “What sets it apart from older forms of fiction seems to be its use of new metaphors, drawn from certain great dominants in our contemporary life—science, all of the sciences, and technology, and the relativistic and the historical outlook, among them. Space travel is one of those metaphors; so is an alternative society, an alternative biology; the future is another. The future, in fiction, is a metaphor.”

What I love about Le Guin’s description is it describes exactly why I’m fascinated by science fiction: it offers the ability to examine truths through channeling new and inventive ways of exploring human progress and the imagination. It’s the reason War of the Worlds has moved society via three distinct mediums (and multiple adaptations), producing entirely unique experiences from the same well-known story. […]

By |February 9th, 2021|Categories: Katie M, What is SF|0 Comments

What is science fiction?

What is science fiction? 

Science fiction, from both an academic and escapist perspective, exists as a sort of catharsis. By blurring the lines between present and future, science fiction and the creation of science fiction narratives pacifies our need to know what comes next. Through film, comics, novels, cartoons, and everything in between, science fiction is a prescriptive genre. Through metaphor, science fiction allows us to look at the past, look at the present, and then look at the speculative future. The speculative future provides readers or those who engage with science fiction a vehicle to travel to an imaginary place and a lens through which to look at the place we all exist in now. When we travel to speculative futures or universes, our present becomes easier to look at and understand.

I think science fiction also inspires many schools of criticism and allows for […]

By |February 9th, 2021|Categories: What is SF|0 Comments

What is Science Fiction?

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 […]

By |February 9th, 2021|Categories: Katie H., What is SF|0 Comments

Moira, What is science fiction

Science fiction is a picnic basket and a pair of glasses, holding and looking at technology.

It is a narrative mode in which technology plays some significant role in the universe of the story, if not in the story itself. Here I refer to technology by its broadest definition: as the application of research to social and industrial life. The research can be real or imagined, formal or informal, from within the story or from the story’s writer. The same can be said for social and industrial life. Under this definition, “technology” gestures to many things: a material (consider the protomolecule in The Expanse), a category (consider gender in The Left Hand of Darkness), a process (consider gene editing in Seveneves or the anarchist experiment in The Dispossessed), a machine (consider the ansible also in The Dispossessed), or even a side effect (consider fallout in A Canticle […]

By |February 9th, 2021|Categories: What is SF|0 Comments

What is Science Fiction

When I think of the question “what is science fiction,” I try to approach it first from a literal perspective. Science fiction – a fictional creation that is based on the knowledge of science; or to phrase it without using the word “science” or “fiction,” a fabricated composition rooted in the systematic study of behaviors of the natural entity. But this definition seems limiting to the genre of science fiction in many ways. Although it does provide a baseline understanding to what science fiction could be.

In my opinion, beyond the element of “science” and “fiction,” the genre also includes a few other key elements, including imagination, the evaluation of the current science, and its effort in trying to understand the future. First, all science fiction partake an element of imagination, specifically, the imagination of the possibilities and potential of current science and technology. And I believe this element is key […]

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What is Science Fiction?

What is Science Fiction? 

Science Fiction is a genre of fictional art that comes in the forms of books, movies, etc... It often incorporates underlying larger themes in its portrayals. Science fiction resembles the stories that were passed on like fables, myths or even perhaps superstitions, like “The boy who cried wolf”. This fable has moral purpose to its story. It resembles Science fiction in the sense that it requires the audience to read between the lines. Science fiction more often than not attempts to predict the future considering past or current social events.  

In addition, Science fiction usually has a plethora of scientific, technological advances, time travel or life on earth sort of elements included and delivers on stories/ performances that are leave the audience pensive but also entertained throughout the process. Like for example the shows […]

By |February 9th, 2021|Categories: What is SF|0 Comments

What is Sci-Fi?

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” ~ Arthur C. Clarke.

Science Fiction, to me, has always been closely associated with Fantasy, in its endeavor to take us beyond our current reality. On a surface level analysis, I view the main difference between the two to be that the former posits a *more* realistic situation than the latter in many cases. Some kind of scientific explanation is posited to illustrate the unknown. 

The best example that comes to mind is in the Arrowverse. The various meta-human powers of people like “The Flash” or “Black Siren” are clearly explained with scientific reasoning, which is  differentiated with people such as Damien Darhk, whose magical powers are classified as “mystical” (no real rhyme or reason behind them) as opposed to “scientific.” 

That aside, I know there are some realistic fantasies which have built in magic systems or […]

By |February 8th, 2021|Categories: Shane, What is SF|0 Comments

Into the Unknown

I believe that science fiction and fantasy are two different languages explaining the same kind of concepts. A simplistic overview posits that science fiction deals with the future, while fantasy deals with the past. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth is his own imagining of the history of England while Robert Heinlein enjoyed exploring different militaristic societies adapting to the wonders of space. But this reductive binary does not cover the nuance and complexities both science fiction and fantasy explore through different mediums. In my view, I would argue that science fiction (and fantasy for that matter) is about humanity’s fascination of the unknown. The writer C.S. Lewis discusses this in his essay, “On Science Fiction”. He writes:

Thus in Grimm’s Märchen, stories told by peasants in wooded country, you need only walk an hour’s journey into the next forest to find a home for your witch or ogre. The author of Beowulf […]

By |February 8th, 2021|Categories: Kat C., What is SF|0 Comments

What is Science Fiction?

Science Fiction is the ultimate extrapolation of human imagination. In this way, to me, it is a genre that seeks to push the boundaries of what genres can be. An implosion of that which has been newly discovered, acknowledged, and technologically developed, with the sorrows and elations of the human experience, as a way to reflect our anxieties about the possible futures, as we find ourselves in a constant loop of uncertain and frightening temporal presents.
Science Fiction is a synesthesia of what we as humans know, what we think we know, and what we expect to know in the future. A form of fiction that defies physics and science’s fundamental laws, or I should say, repurposes them for its own means and goals as a channel for imagination and creativity. Historically, Sci-fi has been underestimated and stripped of its literary values. Yet, this relatively new form has challenged genre norms […]

By |February 8th, 2021|Categories: Jose A, What is SF|0 Comments

What is Science Fiction?

My conception of Science Fiction exists in a vast borderland, as Rod Sterling narrates in the beginning of The Twilight Zone episodes, “It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of the imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.” This Twilight Zone spans space and time, spans human conceptions of reality, spans human consciousness into and beyond our universal knowledge, and knowledge of the universe. Science Fiction is the future woven on the spinning wheel of the present, and past; it is woven with story threads, colored with energy that brings life into existence, characters into being, and ourselves into the infinite choices of humanity’s woven tapestry.  The human experience is entangled within the fabric of our world. Science Fiction tunnels through that […]

By |February 8th, 2021|Categories: Jo F. (2021), What is SF|0 Comments

What is Science Fiction

As American science fiction writier Robert A. Heinlein once wrote, “science fiction s is realistic speculation about possible future events, based solidly on adequate knowledge of the real world, past and present, and on a thorough understanding of the nature and significance of the scientific method.” As a scifi beginner, I found out that science fiction is hard to define precisely, because it includes many categories. My previous understanding of science fiction means stories related to outer space or advanced technology such as AI. However, recent years I discovered that science fiction also relates to fantasy such as Godzilla and Avatar that depicts intellectuals beyond human beings.

Science fiction, also known as “Sci-fi”, is a genre of speculative fiction with imagination and future themes. It often deals with imaged science or technology upon human beings. It includes topics such as fantasy, horror and artificial intelligence. If we separate the word […]

By |February 8th, 2021|Categories: What is SF|0 Comments
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