What a thing to behold: 2014! I found it a bit startling to reach 2010; by now these high numbers seem almost normal. Some born in this millennium are already teenagers and aren’t far from voting age. For those of us born back in the fitties, it can be a little eerie.
When Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey came out in April 1968, I was in seventh grade and already a hard-core science fiction fan. Back then, 2001 seemed so far off that anything was possible. We first walked on the moon just over a year later in July. (My beloved Star Trek had been on the air since September 1966!)
I even remember when George Orwell‘s 1984 seemed very far off!
A couple of weeks ago I started writing about a high school English teacher of mine and ended up writing about how I got into theatre (pretty much accidentally). That post turned into the story of finding a completely new direction I never knew existed. In one way or another, that new direction has been part of my compass ever since. At first it was an intended career, but it turned out my career followed a direction discovered much later.
In that post, I mentioned that I would write about the intended subject another time.
It is now another time.
I recently asked the question, “What is Art?” Answering that one is a real challenge, and the answer may be entirely subjective. This time I’m asking a question that is almost as difficult: “What is Science Fiction?” The answer may turn out to be just as subjective, and just as much of a challenge, but I’ve always thought the tough questions are the most interesting to explore.
I may, or may not, be an artist (but I know what I like!), and suffice to say I have only dabbled in art over the years. Science fiction, however, has filled my life as long as I’ve been picking my own reading material. I suspect that, overall, my fiction reading (and I read a lot of fiction) is at least 80% science fiction. It could be more. Most normal fiction leaves me disinterested, no matter how insightful it might be. I live in the real world; I want stories that take me far, far away, be it conceptually, spatially or temporally (if only temporarily).
Only authors that bring something newly invented to the table really hold my interest.