Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Real vs Imaginary

The general rule distinguishing science fiction from fantasy is the use of plausible science. To make it different from adventure, that science has to play a major part. But what when the story's plausible science becomes closely tied to the present?

A book that references global warming, for example, one that remembers recent disasters from a more distant viewpoint, or one that postulates a different kind of view of recent events...

What about a book that imagines a present where some scientists really can control the earth's magnetic field--thus causing all sorts of supposedly "natural" disasters. The moment recent events were referenced was the moment I suddenly slipped out the story. Did I believe they'd do that? Who stood to gain? And if this one thing could be done, why not also this other? I'm sure the reference was intended to make the story more relevant, but for me it had me leaving the page to examine the present day instead. I'm curious to know, are other readers pulled out of fiction the same way when it's theories drift so close to fact?

Of course, science fiction may written precisely with that intent to make us think. But perhaps I want to be free to think without neon arrows highlighting the author's conclusion. D'you suppose it's really just me, or do other readers feel the same way? I'd love to know.

1 comment:

Cold As Heaven said...

I'm not a fan of science fiction. The only science fiction I've ever read is the Hitchhiker's Guide series (which is good because of the humor), and som e Jules Verne books in my childhood.

But I love complex numbers, which have both a real part and an imaginary part >:)

Cold As Heaven