in the definition of science fiction. At times science fiction is still derisorily confused andinterchanged with fantasy, and this is plainly seen in the way books are put together under thesame category in bookstores, and in the way
fill the same shelves as
andPhilip K. Dick flicks in video shops. Debates abound among science fiction purists who oftencriticize mainstream science fiction, and mainstream enthusiasts who maintain that pure scienceis boring, and that science fiction should primarily be entertaining.Audiences and readers right now already have a general idea about what sets sciencefiction apart from other literary genres, but I would like to cite a couple of definitions fromrenowned science fiction writers and critics. Isaac Asimov distinguished this genre from theothers when he proclaimed modern science fiction as “the only form of literature thatconsistently considers the nature of changes that face [human beings], the possible consequences,and the possible solutions.” Whereas for Robert Heinlein, science fiction is the “realisticspeculation about possible future events, based solidly on adequate knowledge of the real world, past and present, and on a thorough understanding of the nature and significance of the scientificmethod.” (Jones, 2000)From this I understand that science fiction texts are stories coherently extrapolated from present scientific and technological facts so that they reflect a society’s dreams, fears of andaspirations for the future. But even as they talk about either dystopic or utopic futures, or havethemes such as alien invasion, time travel, genetic mutation or cyberpunk, science fiction canonly make sense if it reflects the present human condition and take on real world issues. Throughan imaginative exploration of future possibilities, the writer confronts issues that are not at allfictional, such as the inevitability of environmental destruction, the cruelty of oppressivesocieties, gender inequalities, poverty, and so on.
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