#IWSG – What’s Great About SciFi

This entry is part 8 of 16 in the series Insecure Writer's Support Group

On the first Wednesday of every month, members of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (open to anyone and full of great resources and information for writers) post their answers to a monthly prompt on their blogs.

Authors benefit from getting an insightful prompt for generating more blog content, and IWSG links all respondents, which is a way for writers to discover each other. Pretty neat!

October 5 question – What do you consider the best characteristics of your favorite genre?

I’m definitely a science fiction fan! It’s a tired phrase, but I really do believe that the best aspect of the genre is the focus on the “what if”. Through imagination of other worlds, times, places, and even modes of being, science fiction is able to run “controlled thought experiments” on everything from human relationships to how we structure society to the nature of the universe and time itself.

Further, I think science fiction is able to explore and explicate certain sociopolitical issues in the “real world” in a different way, by providing some measure of distance from triggering hot-buttons and politicized contexts that may come with loaded personal and societal baggage. (Example: N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy deeply explores, among many other things, the institutions of slavery and apartheid – without ever explicitly referring or directly replicating institutional instances of such in the real world.)

I also believe science fiction is a deeply needed genre especially in the now. In her widely-shared speech at the National Book Awards, one of my favorite authors, Ursula K LeGuin, shared this view:

“Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.”

-Ursula K. LeGuin, 2014

I just love that phrase: “realists of a larger reality”. It’s a quality I look for when I read, and strive to aspire to when I write.

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  1. Agreed! One of the coolest things to me is how you can trace what was at the forefront of cultural concern in a given era by looking at what the Sci Fi authors were writing. So interesting.

    Happy ISWG day!

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