As science fiction writers and readers, we tend to think a lot in technologies, and medical advancements, and visitors from other worlds. But there is a vast array of science fiction that surrounds us that I believe a lot of writers have left untouched for a long time: social sciences. Dystopian fiction was popular in the 60s and 70s with the Cold War in full swing, and the obvious excesses of a corrupt government were evident (not that they’re any less so now). Now, people are fascinated with cyber technology and nanobots and all sorts of other modern marvels, and the way of the Dystopian (or the anti-Utopian) writer have fallen a bit by the wayside. [Picture courtesy of happysnappr].
What do science fiction writers think of global conflict? What happens when the world falls into chaos after environmental collapse? Where will the world be if we eradicate ourselves with biological warfare? There’s no grand technological breakthrough that lies at the heart of these types of stories. No, there stories that have been told many times, but they’re present, and they’re modern, and they’re pertinent: they are human, and that is what makes them so profound. Socially conscious writing is important, in my opinion, because it begins to bring back to science fiction what it began as: a way of questioning that which is potentially dangerous. [Photo courtesy of hdptcar].
Man is the greatest weapon the Earth has ever seen, and we work daily to destroy it. Unlike Mundane-SF (and the near-fanatical movement that surrounds it), traditional, socially conscious science fiction ought to teach the reader something; it ought to make them walk away with some new insight not only into the mind of the writer but also into the way in which the world around them operates. And while any good writer makes tech-driven science fiction a commentary about the world around us, those works written with the thought in mind of being there to teach, in addition to being entertaining, makes for great works that bridge the gap between the great literary canon and the small guys of science fiction.