Exhibit A That SF is F

A science fiction fan, and, later, writer, I have always maintained that the only really insightful social and political commentary being written is written in the genre of Science Fiction.

My reason for this admittedly outrageous statement is that, first, the art of story telling is the art of exaggeration. Telling an un-exaggerated and balanced and even handed story is the task of newspaperman, if they seek to the serve the truth rather than serve up the party line, that is.  To examine a exaggerate a social or political trend, you mus exaggerate it, so as to make the latent characteristics plain.

The only way to exaggerate a latent political trend is to ask the question “what will happen if this goes on?” and then write up an extrapolation.

The only way to engage the soul of the reader instead of merely his cool and remote intellect, is to cast the extrapolation as a fiction. “If this goes on” must take place in the future, and therefore must be science fiction.

I will hold up WE by Zamyatin, NINETEEN EIGHTY FOUR by George Orwell, FAHRENHEIT 451 by Bradbury, ANTHEM by Ayn Rand, BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley as examples, and perhaps even NAPOLEON OF NOTTING HILL by Chesterton. In film, the oldest and seminal film of SF was written to make a political and social point: METROPOLIS by Fritz Lang.

But one thing I never expected to see was those whose fame rests on social and political commentary get involved in the geekfest fanboy debate over trivia in a sciffy film of our little beloved ghetto of a genre.

Here is Bill Whittle, who has written essays and make speeches as fine as anything I have ever read or heard, talking about whether Han shot first.

Independent of whether you agree with his point (and if you do not, why are you reading anything I am likely to write?) independent of that, what fascinates me about the time in which we live, is that the fanboys have won. We are all geeks now. The ghetto wall is broken, and science fiction has captured the popular culture.

Which is as it should be.

Science fiction is mainstream fiction. SF is F.