Updated: Nov 22, 2019
I thought a decent place to start writing here on Paragon would be to take the first post ever written on this blog ('Why Sci-Fi??') by Nathan, and put my perspective on it, hence the title. So...
I wrote a whole 10,000 word dissertation on the genre back in uni about the amazing, mind blowing settings and environments that stem from the human imagination. Many hours and days were spent thinking of and discussing how film, TV and works of literature reflect our current society and culture. Don't worry, I’m not going to bore you with that long of a post, but I will summarise the science-fiction genre with my thoughts in a few words.
"It’s f***ing cool." -Alex R.
I love the idea that an alternate world exists somewhere where President Nixon asked an omniscient, omnipotent superhero to single-handedly win the Vietnam War in the name of the good ol' U.S. of A; or the possibility that a ‘speedster’ can run so fast that he can literally travel through time. The implications for these concepts alone spawn intriguing characters ripe with backstory, and if you take a moment to think about it, these creative ideas and character origins allow for creative opportunities. Makes sense I know, but not a lot of people remember or appreciate the fact that this means that writers can take their characters down more paths with which to develop the world and the universe around them, and vice versa.
However, back to answering the titular question of this article; like some bad depictions of time travel, this article has had many different outcomes during the draft phase and was initially well intended with a good premise. However, my words and arguments pro the genre have been a bit off the mark and ended up being a convoluted way of expressing my feelings and emotions. I get carried away sometimes and I apologise (kind of), but if you’ll let me I think I can try to actually sum up my love for sci-fi. I think the reason why this genre is my favourite is because I admire, am entertained by, and fully appreciate that the creative potential is literally limitless. The impossible can be made possible, and the only constraint thanks to today's technology is the writer’s imagination.
Great, I did it! Now you know why I like sci-fi, but not what I like specifically. So, what are some of my favourites you ask? Elysium, Chappie, Inception, Interstellar... where would I be without Neil Blomkamp and Christopher Nolan? They have shaped me and my thoughts on the genre, and I dread to think how bored I would be without their unique storytelling in my life. I’ve been so engaged in these worlds, stories, and characters such as: Steve Rodgers, a skinny nonathletic guy in WWII that just wanted to stop the bullies and do the right thing. He got the opportunity to do just that as part of a super soldier program to fight the Nazis. The Doctor (Who?), an alien equipped with a sonic screwdriver to fix and mend, and a time machine spaceship to explore the universe. Notice he has a self-appointed title and job centred on helping those in need. Barry Allen, Peter Parker, Tony Stark... you get the point. They all resonate with me in one way or another, and in my opinion, unlike pure Fantasy it is more likeable because the settings, technology, and characters, albeit a little out there sometimes, tend to be more grounded and believable (most of the time).
Last but not least, another thing I feel compelled to say is that I think if you’re a fan of sci-fi, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (1968) deserves all your respect. Now I won’t lie when I say it is very long, drawn out, and a little too existential for its own good in parts. That aside, if you watch it or have already, you should hopefully realise that it is a critically acclaimed classic for the reason that Kubrick was way ahead of his time. The film is one of the forerunners that trailblazed and led the path for how the genre is portrayed today. Skype and recreational space flights in 1968? Who would have thought? When that film was made they were limited in what they could do and look at what they managed to show. With today’s technology just about near anything is possible to show and ideas once only limited to the imagination can now be pitched and brought to the screen. I for one can’t wait to watch what entertainment the future holds. Now if you don’t mind, I’m off to catch up on my evergrowing playlist and watch BBC’s ‘His Dark Materials'.