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Science Fiction? What's The Point?

I have friends that enjoy Science Fiction. They're not as big a fan as I am, but we are able to have sane, thought-provoking conversations. We also enjoy occasional time together to watch a SF movie or TV show.

Then there are the others.

I recently had a short, quick conversation with a non-SF fan friend of mine. Here's how it went:

Me: "Why don't you like Science Fiction"
Friend: "Science Fiction?"
Me: "Yeah. What do you have against it?"
Friend: "I don't have anything against it. Don't we have enough science? Why do we need Science Fiction. Honestly, what's the point?"
With that response, I was completely caught off-guard. So the conversation abruptly ended and the topic changed.

Later, I got to thinking about my friend's question. Just what is the point of Science Fiction? To be honest, I'm not completely sure how to answer that. Without a doubt, Science Fiction is great entertainment (well...most of the time). But there has to be more to it, right? Well, let me say one thing that I am adamant about: without Science Fiction, our world would be a much, much different place.


Consider how many scientists, from physicists to geneticists to astronomers, have been (and will be) influenced by the many different SF creations we've had in the past. Just visit some of the great institutions known for scientific advancement, like MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and ask around. They'll tell you. These people have said if not for not for watching or reading Science Fiction when they were younger, they wouldn't be asking the questions they are now...which, in turn, leads to new discoveries, new technologies, and even new branches of science.

Science Fiction is surely an entertainment medium, and there's nothing wrong with that. But the most important aspect of it is that it showcases possibilities for a better future which inspires people to strive to create that future.

As they say, "Today's Science Fiction is tomorrow's science fact."

So, to answer my friend's question, at least partly, no we don't have enough science. And that is the point of Science Fiction.

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