"No matter how much crackpot writers want to fool themselves," this person went on to say, "it isn't grounded in reality. It's myth."
I wondered if this person had a point. So I ran back through the many volumes I'd grown up reading as a child, and later as an adult. Stories by Mary Shelly, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, Stephen King (yes, I consider him a science fiction writer), and many others.
Were all these tales just a colossal waste of time?
The obvious answer is "no." Otherwise, I wouldn't be here, attempting to follow in the footsteps of giants. However, "no" wasn't good enough. I needed to know what was it about Science Fiction that pulled at my strings time and time again.
I came to the realization that what science fiction does that other genres cannot, is set up a frame in which the author can examine specific character traits in the human condition.
Much of what I learned about my life came from books. They force us to slow down, cut out the distractions, and examine, really pay attention to the small details encompassing our nature.
Fahrenheit 451 taught me about the importance of books and freedom of ideas. I, Robot helped me better understand humans by talking about machines. The Dark Tower helped me see the importance of perseverance and wonder.
Unlike nonfiction, science fiction allows the author to manipulate the world in a way so readers can get a glimpse of very intimate truths about humanity.
In addition to the self reflective nature of good science fiction, there is another, perhaps more important quality of science fiction.
Regardless of how unrealistic science fiction might appear to be from time to time (I'm looking at you, Interstellar), it allows readers to look up from their tired lives. To see beyond themselves--beyond their skies out past the possible and wonder, "What if?"
I will end this article with a quote by Louis L'More. He writes, "If we are content to live in the past, we have no future. And today is the past."