From what I have read in school and since exiting the public education system, Speculative fiction falls into two broad spectrums. The first being social commentary and the second being what ifs. The social commentary bits are based on both conscious and unconscious pattern recognition twisted over a framework of fantasy. While the “what ifs” fill in the framework around the social commentary.
Over the Christmas season, I was inundated by commercials for Google Home and Amazon Echo, which brought back vivid memories of a story I read as a freshman in high school. The short story focused on a smart house. The name of the story is lost in the back of my mind and if I found it again I would probably cry. An autonomous house and time act as the main characters of the short story. The antagonist, a disaster, left only shadows of the family burned into brick walls.
The story was written at the height of the cold war and was a work of both speculative fiction and warning to humanity about warfare. Specifically, it warned of the dangers of any arms race and the story reminded us of our mortality in a “safe” world.
From a social commentary perspective, the story speculated on “keeping up with the Jones’s” while ignoring the greater world around you. Sounds a bit like America today. How wrapped up in yourself do you have to be to not know that there are people around you that hate your culture enough to kill so many people in one go?
The what if in the story was pretty evident, “What if a bomb hit and the people were outside, what happens to the house?” Inside the house, a pet is slowly dying from radiation poisoning and starvation. The house ran baths, cooked meals, did dishes and burned to the ground because no one refilled the water tank.
What if the house is completely autonomous? We are well on the way to an autonomous house: blinds on timers, coffee pots that brew before the alarm clock goes off, locks that don’t need keys, machines that talk back and control the lights, it goes on and on.
#SpaceTalk and #scifi
Speculative fiction in regards to space exploration…
We have tricorders… They are called Cellphones.
We have been to the moon… Chack out sci-fi novellas from the early 20th century. LibriVox and Youtube are great resources for public domain sci-fi audiobooks.
Speculative fiction of today…
Mars! So many people want to go to Mars and/or go mine the asteroid belt.
TV is filled with scifi and speculative fiction… I don’t watch much TV, mostly I walk through the room and hear tidbits that inspire me.
What kind of engine will we need? What shape hull would give us the ability to travel farther?
Are people willing to be Guinee pigs for cryo chambers?
How badly do you want your children to know peace?
Will we forget to listen to what is going on around us?
Will we forget to talk to our neighbors, both locally and across the ocean or borders?
What kind of activism can you participate in to make positive changes today for a better future?
What actions today will make your life more wholistic?