Why do you write Science Fiction?

I write science fiction because I like science fiction.

You may ask: What do I like about science fiction?

Well… let me think …

I can best answer with an example rather than an explanation. Behold!


For those of you unfamiliar with The Greats, this clip is from The 5,000 FINGERS OF DR. T, with Hans Conried and Peter Lind Hayes, the only movie (so far as I know) written and directed by Theodor Seuss Geisel (Doctor Seuss to you).

The whammy duel is all the more outrageous seen in context because it is even more whimsical. Mister Zabladowski is the plumber, and neither he, nor the music teacher Dr. Terwilliker, nor anyone in this film is alleged or suspected of having Whammy powers before this sudden eruption of Aaron-Burrian-and-Alexander-Hamiltonesque parapsychological violence. As in Silver Age Superman comics, sometimes things just happen, and the only answer to the question, “Wait! How did he — what is the — why can he — aw, don’t tell me!” is to say philosophically, “You’re overthinking this.”

The good doctor runs a piano school surrounded by electrified barbed wire, employs rollerskating Siamese Twins connected by the beard as goons, and has an army of singing thugs, a dungeon wherein is imprisoned all the musicians of the earth, a disintegration ray, a vault of shovel-ready greenbacks, a winecellar of prime pickle-juice, and a truly Suessian wardrobe.

You may ask: what has this to do with Science Fiction?

Science fiction is fantasy for people who like to overthink things. We are the kind of people who say, “When Bilbo turns invisible, why do his clothes turn invisible too? If so, what about a squirrel standing on his hand? What about a dwarf holding his hand?” We demand explanations, or, at least, fan saves.

You may ask: So what is the explanation for the Whammy duel?

Answer: Obviously, Dr. Terwilliker is a Black Lensman from the second galaxy in Lundmark’s Nebula. Zabladowski is also the plumber who worked on the sink for John Carter, Warlord of Mars, and, like him, learned the secret of the telepathic powers of the Green Men. See? There is a logical explanation for everything. That is what makes this science fiction.

And Bilbo’s clothes are made of unstable molecules, and so turn invisible when he does.

You may ask: So what is the explanation for why Han Solo can do the Kessel Run in under twelve parsecs, when a parsec is a unit of distance, not of time? Surely George Lucas, or someone on the set somewhere, knows as much astronomy as a twelve year old schoolboy?

Answer: You’re overthinking this.