An Ideal Partnership That Nourishes Both Partners
For as long as I can remember, I have loved science. Not to say I always understand it. A good case in point: a couple of years ago I watched a program about string theory. It looked fascinating. I understood almost 5% of it. Five more repeats of the program and I understood enough to grasp the essentials. By the next day, much of that was gone. But I loved it anyway!
One of the things I really like about science is scientists. As a group, these are good people. They tend to be curious, have good work habits, and take persistence to whole new levels. If things do not turn out as they expected, that is OK. Lesson learned, moving on. It is an admirable approach to life in general. This is skepticism applied properly.
I got attached to science before science fiction, which is backwards for most people. Ever since I was a teenager (a VERY long time ago) I have invested my reading time in history, philosophy, humor, and political commentary. Then, some years ago, my wife read Frank Herbert’s Dune.She suggested I read it.
I did, and I discovered new worlds and a new literary genre. I never looked back. Dune is an amazing piece of work (not so much so for the movie, but I digress). I read everything Herbert wrote (which was a lot) and actually yelled at him for dying. We needed more of his stuff to read! His son and others picked up the mantle as best they could.
I went on to discover other science fiction writers. I went through the classics (Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, H.G. Wells, Ray Bradbury, and others). I found new generations of impressive talent (John Scalzi, Andy Weir). There is serious talent out there, a great many I have yet to discover. We have not even touched on film makers who belong to this club, too.
I appreciate the range of these writers, not only in imaginative scenarios and technology, but also in the range of emotions offered. Some are exceptionally hopeful. Others are so pessimistic as to imply it is a surprise we are not all dead yet, but surely will be shortly. Even with such variety, it is not difficult to see common threads running from the earlier writers, to current writers, to the science community. Foremost is a sense of vision. Not just of what may be, but what could be. That is a very different formulation. I think it is a foundation piece of good writing and of good science.
I am struck by how many scientists who say that science fiction is what led them to science. It captured their imagination and challenged their intellect. A powerful combination, that is. Star Trek and Star Wars were the seeds that grew into much of our scientific community.
This is not so surprising, when you think about it. Much of science fiction has always been good at predicting what is likely coming in the future. Some of these writers have been nothing less than prescient. Others take great pride in working solid science (facts, methodology, etc.) directly into their stories (Weir is an excellent example of this).
For me, science fiction is an honored genre. It is where I most often go when I want an escape, but still want a connection with what is and what could be.
If you have not yet discovered it, do yourself a great favor and jump in. Worlds await you.
If you find this blog worthy of your time and curiosity, I invite you to do two things:
(1) Join the conversation. Your voice counts here.
(2) Share the word about this blog with friends and colleagues. Share a link in your emails and social media posts. Let’s grow our circle.