by Jamie Beckett
Sci fi is a literary genre that’s long been unappreciated amongst serious readers, and occasionally maligned as unfit for consumption by serious human beings. I’ll make the argument that sci fi is as valid and compelling a form of storytelling as any other. In fact, I’ll go one further than that. I’ll actually give you five great reasons you should be reading sci fi now, and in the future.
And those reasons are…
1: You might learn something. A considerable percentage of sci fi stories are based, at least loosely, on real scientific principles. Sci fi writers tend to be forward thinking, creative types who have actually contributed to your real life as well as to their literary output. Think Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, and Michael Crichton .
2: Escapism. Real life is stressful enough. A good sci fi story can transport you to a place where the IRS doesn’t exist, mortgage payments are unheard of, and the kid’s orthodontist bill never comes. Plus, how often do you get to be a bystander who watches in total safety while an entire plantary system is overrun by invading hordes of extra-terrestrial super-soldiers?
3: You can enhance and redeem yourself. Who do you think first used the term, “cryogenic storage” while hanging around the water cooler at work? It’s wasn’t the high school quarterback, (a.k.a. the janitorial services contractor), or the head cheerleader (a.k.a. mom and dad’s little disappointment). It was the guy who spent his high school years with tape holding his glasses together and a lot of free time on Friday nights (a.k.a. the Senior Vice President of Research and Development).
4: When the movie comes out you can rip it for being, “a pale adaptation of a great story.” Readers are smarter, cooler, and more interesting than non-readers. It’s a scientific fact. Hollywood is largely run by non-readers. These are the good looking people who are too vapid, too self-absorbed, and too dumb to follow the storyline of an actual book. Hence, they make movies that make no sense. Jaws: The Revenege, Speed 2, Fast and Furious? Really.
5: Dr. Sheldon Cooper does, and so does his roommate, Dr. Leonard Hofstadter, and their adorable quirky friends, Dr. Raj Koothrappali, and Howard Walowitz (not a doctor). If that’s not enough to get you to pick up a sci fi story and start reading, well then may you never find yourself in orbit with a malfunctioning zero-gravity waste disposal system. For that matter, a flat tire on a rainy night is no fun either.
Read sci fi. It’s good for you.
Editor’s note: Jamie Beckett is a pilot, a motorcycle nut, an incorrigible guitar collector, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction. He is the author of Burritos and Gasoline, as well as a sci fi story told in five parts. The latter is known as the Lifeboat Augusta series.
As anyone who has ever met him can attest, he’s a little out of step with the rest of us. Thank goodness.