There’s nothing wrong with fantasy, and fantasy can set up moral dilemmas as well as science fiction: power is power, and decisions about how to use it can be fascinating whether it’s a new scientific discovery or a newly discovered supernatural ability. But, ... There are so many pressing questions that would also make for fabulous entertainment. What will it mean for space travel, something we once thought of as a scientific frontier and an escape hatch for humanity, to become a luxury tourism industry? What will it mean to be human as we’re increasingly integrated with our technology, perhaps to the point of having smart implants, like Ender Wiggin in Speaker for the Dead, or a bunch of the characters in Kim Stanley Robinson’s forthcoming 2312? How will technology, medical advances, and the ability to augment ourselves exacerbate our class divides?I love it. If they follow up, I might actually end up watching non-sports TV again on a regular basis. Until then, i'll stick to my books and Dexter. Unless anyone out there has any good recommendations?
These questions are imminent, not theoretical. And they all lend themselves beautifully to television devices. You could do an office comedy about running a space tourism company, or a drama about corruption in the industry and an interstellar land grab. You can have chatty, snarky AIs as characters, or show humans growing overly invested in their technology—Apple clearly means for us to attach to Siri, and as she works better, I can see that happening. When there’s this much potential available, there’s something kind of unfortunate about turning away from the possible and the probable to the purely fantastical. Fiction doesn’t have an absolute responsibility to help us work out our problems, but it’s an incredible tool for helping us think through them. For a network with the motto “Imagine Greater,” that ought to be an exciting prospect.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
More SciFi in SyFy, Please
I haven't watched anything by SyFy in a while, and Alyssa points to what might be the reason why: they're showing a lot of fantasy to the exclusion of SciFi. She makes a compelling argument that there's a lot of interesting science fiction to be presented: