Recently, there has been a resurging interest in science fiction in popular culture (commonly referred to as “sci-fi”). Its enduring appeal throughout the ages has only been growing. This makes sense, as the more we enter into the future, the more we’re able to appreciate its relevance as the core themes of sci-fi seem to become more and more our reality rather than remaining in the realm of imagination.
Science Fiction Day is marked on the 2nd of January which happens to be the birthdate of celebrated sci-fi author Issac Asimov best known for the Foundation series.
The sci-fi genre is not a contemporary one by any means.
Frankenstein, the novel written by Mary Shelley and published in 1818, is considered as the work that was one of the pioneers of the genre. The themes touched upon in the novel are remarkably relevant; a cautionary tale against not just pseudoscience but against scientists who abandon their social responsibilities and the unintended, yet devastating consequences of interfering with the order of nature.
As a genre, its origins are pinpointed during the era of the Cold War when concerns over militarization, the future of humanity, technological development, etc. were on the rise.
Thus the many popular film franchises and television shows like Star Trek, Star Wars, Fireball XL5 films began during this period.
Sci-fi’s allure is often attributed to its creative world-building, innovative plotlines and compelling storytelling. Sci-fi media touches upon a vast array of recurring themes including but not limited to: human fears, alternate realities, futurism, technology, environmentalism, philosophy, religion, politics, and much more.
Science fiction is most often appraised for its subtle commentary on pressing concerns. For instance, 1984, the most famous novel by George Orwell, is time and again invoked as a metaphorical reference in contemporary discussions about totalitarianism and mass surveillance.