This essay from i09 yesterday on the perception that women don’t like science fiction got me thinking...which is never a good thing. I agree wholeheartedly with the author that a significant number of women like science fiction and are passionate about it as a genre. So my question to the nay-saying pundits is not “Why shouldn’t I like sci-fi,” it’s “Why the hell wouldn’t I like sci-fi?”
Seriously, think what the world would be like without science fiction. Without it, we never would have:
...gone to the moon or built a space station or created the space shuttle. Without years of sci-fi novels and books behind us, how would we ever have been able to recruit astronauts? Seriously, which question makes the recruiter’s life easier. This one? “Would you like to spend years learning difficult principles in aeronautics, math and physics, then get shot into space at a million miles an hour while strapped to thousands of pounds of explosive fuel with no guarantee that you’ll ever return from the icy expanse of emptiness above us – oh and by the way, you’ll have to piddle inside your space suit?” Or this one: “Remember Tom Hanks in ‘Apollo 13?’ You could totally do that.” Second question wins, hands down.
...experienced the single greatest movie shot of all time: the Imperial Cruiser flying low over our heads in “Star Wars.” If you’ve ever seen “Star Wars” in the theater with that glorious sound blasting in your ears from all directions, the bass tones nearly making your seat vibrate, as you sit back, slack-jawed and watch that thing seemingly pass over head for second after second after second…well then you know what I’m talking about and you know the world would suck without it.
...invented special effects. From the earliest films like George Melies’ “A Trip to the Moon” in 1902, science fiction and special effects have gone hand in hand. How would we have had the technology to fake the moon landing without first making films like “2001: A Space Odyssey?” Think of how far animation has come. Or CGI – would we even have CGI if George Lucas and Industrial Light and Magic hadn’t given us a taste of glorious space battles could be in the “Star Wars” trilogy?
...had hot guys in tight pants shooting pistols...who weren’t cowboys. Now I think this is something every red-blooded American woman can get behind. Imagine a genre-less world without “Firefly”’s Captain Reynolds, without “Star Trek”’s Patrick Stewart, without “Doctor Who”’s David Tenant, without “Star Wars”’s Harrison Ford, without William Frickin’ Shatner, for God’s sake! It’d be like a world without Christmas and puppies. A world without cupcakes even! It would have been bad. Very bad.
...had any collectibles. What would childhood have been like without action figures to collect and trade or strap to small rockets and shoot into the neighbors’ gutters? It would have sucked. My girlish childhood was spent mixing genres – could Princess Leia live inside my Lincoln Log Cabin constructions? Sure? Could my 16-inch Chewbacca rip the arms off my neighbor’s Barbie? More than once, that’s for sure. Could my Captain Deering make brownies in an Easy Bake Oven? With the proper supervision she could. That's how cool those toys were.
All kidding aside, though, science fiction appeals to both men and women because it is all about possibilities. Would people have invented iPhones without first seeing tricorders? Or three-dimensional fax machines without first dreaming of transporters? Science fiction is all about where we could go as a people. Why tether our dreams to reality, to this planet when there are so many other places our imaginations could take us? The mundane, the Earth-bound and the “real” drags us down enough each day. Give me some good, old sci-fi to ease the pain anytime.
Plus, dudes, there are space ships!