Science Fiction is defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary as, “Fiction dealing principally with the impact of actual or imagined science on society or individuals or having a scientific factor as an essential orienting component.” Think of movies such as Star Trek or Back to the Future, and books like Life As We Knew it or Ender’s Game.
The awesome thing about science fiction is that while it is somewhat realistic, you can add fantastical elements to it. You aren’t restrained to hard fact. Rather, you can create technology which could potentially exist in the future, or explain phenomena which may happen but haven’t yet.
Science fiction allows you to ask what could happen and run away with it. It’s kind of like a science experiment where you get to decide the outcome. What would happen if time travel existed? Or if a meteor struck the moon, plunging it ten times closer to earth? There are a billion hypotheses out there, but you get to decide which one is true.
As writers, another good outcome of Science Fiction is the themes you are able to get across to your readers. In addition to moral lessons, which are typical of most novels, you can warn of what could happen to our world if we keep doing certain things. For example, WALL-E showed how continued pollution could make earth uninhabitable AND how artificial intelligence can turn against you. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, rewatch WALL-E! No, but seriously, these are important uses to writing.
A key overlap in Sci-Fi is with both utopian and dystopian worlds. These stories are perfect for getting your creative juices flowing. Utopias are idealistic places in which you get to decide what your perfect world would be. Dystopias are often plagued with injustice, captivating the reader with the characters’ turmoil, and hopefully, providing some sort of satisfying resolution in the end. Though I will admit that utopias are harder to write about since they are meant to be “perfect” and thus, it’s hard to have much of a plot.
Science fiction also makes it easier to address issues in our world today without being attacked for our opinions on them. I know that sounds harsh, but it truly is a subtler way to deal with today’s often flawed political and religious systems. The reason being that in Sci-Fi, you can make up regimes or governments of your own, possibly based off those in different countries nowadays, and express opinions on them without seeming like you are trying to convert the reader’s beliefs to your own.
Last but not least, this is the genre of fiction solely for nerds. And I say that with pride because here, unlike anywhere else, you can write to your content about math, science, and all the possibilities they hold, while also delving into an intricately developed and intriguing plot that will have even haters of school on their toes. This is truly where geeks can shine.