WT&TT: The Unexpected Utility of Science Fiction (reblogged)

Really interesting. I think I like sci-fi and just about any type of fantasy because of the ability to explore the “what-ifs” safely, usually in such a way as certain things are imagined as better than they are today (and if not, then the things which should change – then and now – are usually illustrated starkly).

do have an “overactive imagination”, but I usually like to maintain a positive-realist outlook, curbing my sometimes-weird wonderings when they get too out of hand. Of course, I’m more successful some days than others! Maybe that’s why I don’t like gory horror stuff….

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Disaster, Worry, and the Unexpected Utility of Science Fiction

By Karina Sumner-Smith

A few years back, I took a new job at a new company in an unfamiliar area of town. After settling in—finding the kitchen and washrooms, claiming space for my massive mug, attempting to find a better chair—I started my usual planning for the apocalypse.

Where, in this office, were the exits? Were the doors easily barricaded against the undead; were the halls, or the stairways? Where could one hide if zombies got inside? And where were the air vents, anyway?

“What are you doing?” one of my new co-workers asked on my second day of (apparently not-so-unobtrusive) poking into corners.

“Oh,” I replied absently, “just finding escape routes for when the zombie hordes attack.”

There was a pause.

“Well?” she asked at last. “Will we be safe?”

“Nope,” was my honest reply. “We’re all totally screwed.”

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It’s no surprise that writers are good at coming up with stories. Creating stories—or if not full stories, then at least scenarios—is a critical part of the skill-set, and one that gets honed by constant use. Yet this is also a skill of worriers and those with “overactive imaginations”—categories, all, into which I fit neatly.

Worrying, wondering, asking “what if” is something that we all do, at some level. What if I don’t get this job? Should I call him back? What was that noise? Can you even imagine the reaction if I’d gone in there with ketchup smeared across my face?

It’s just that a lifetime of reading and writing genre fiction seems to have shaped the scenarios that my brain presents. On top of all the everyday worries and thoughts of any adult, others slip into the mix.

Read more by clicking on the linked heading above.

 

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