"A science fiction brings the future nearer". Do you agree?  hey i want to know about science fiction and how it helps to develop technology. Please help me....

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maadhav19 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If I can still add my 2 cents -

I think there are different aspects to scifi as a genre. Some kinds of scifi do intend to portray quasi-realistic "what if" scenarios - what if there were a colony on the moon? for example. Others use fantastic events or settings to develop an adventure, or to tell a story that is essentially character-driven. And most scifi falls somewhere in that spectrum.

So I suppose some of the more fantastic types of scifi - say, something like Frank Hebert's epic "Dune" - is a lot of fun to read, but has little to do with science and the imagination and effort it takes to develop scientific ideas. In someways, we might be inclined to view it as something akin to fantasy as a genre, or "speculative fiction." On the other hand, something like Arthur C. Clarke's "2001: A Space Odyssey" anticipates some relatively realistic scenarios which humans are more likely to encounter and have to deal with. Along these lines, some types of scifi lit do present not just technological advances, but potential events - like meteor impacts, or meeting aliens in a First Contact type situation. In these cases, I suppose it's the intent of the author whether the scifi in question should be taken as a realistic response or whether as merely the setting for an interesting story. In the latter case, we might also include such enre items as alternate history - what if the South had won the Civil War?  

Finally, I'm a huge fan of scifi of all kinds. But I'm not sure that scifi really advances science - scientific discoveries were made long before science fiction developed as a literary genre. I sort of think that when Einstein said that "Imagination is more important than knowledge," he meant somethgn different than what is often seen in the more fantastic and/or character-driven type scifi. Maybe, maybe not.


marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your question is a bit ambiguous, but I'll try to answer it as best I can.  While it is true that science fiction books and movies stimulate our imaginations and provide us with marvelous entertainment, many of the concepts and ideas are unrealistic, and in all likelihood, never will happen. 

Take the idea of transporting man through space or time.  It involves taking us apart molecule by molecule and beaming us to another place or time and expecting us to be and look like we were before.  There've been scientists who've tried to invent such a system, but as of yet, to my knowledge, it hasn't been done.  And, to be truthful, I'm not sure I'd want it to be done either, at least not to me!  And, I don't like the idea of people just popping in or out at random! 

Now, to address the concept of going backward or forward in time:  The past is gone forever, the future is yet unwritten, and there's only today. Though I've often foolishly wished I could go back and change something I did or said in the past, I realized the events of the past have made me what I am now.  And, I also realize that if I altered the past, I would also alter the present and the future.  If we build upon the experiences we've gained in our past, we have to realize that we're shaped by it and have shaped others' lives as well.  Aren't there things in the past that we've experienced that are memorable and that we'd never want to change?  If we went back into the past and changed one word, deed, or thought, the whole world would be different and I'm not sure I like that idea at all!

As for light sabers, photon torpedoes, cloaking devices, and warp speed, scientists are working on them right now and they seem a little less far-fetched.  


missjenn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think this is an interesting question as well. Science fiction does project ideas about the future, but I also think that it largely reflects some negative aspect of the present or modernity as a warning or call to action for the viewer about the future. For example, from filmssuch as "2001: Space Odyssey " to the "Terminator" series, the issue is technology and robotics. They both show us a futuristic world, and if you think about what those movies did show as "special fx" and "futuristic technology" we have most of it now. The futuristic world it showed provided a seemingly realistic glimpse because there are a lot of things we see day to day in these films, but in the end, the advancing technology takes over.

I think that yes, science fiction does bring the future closer to the reader but I also think it makes the present stand out more.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a vague topic, but I am intrigued.  I am a HUGE sci-fi fan, and have watched Star Trek, Star Wars, and other shows which involve space travel, other worlds, robots, etc.  It always amazed me how the films use "new" types of laser weapons, communications, or even methods of travel which seem both fantastical and impossible only to hear or read later that those very items are being created.  Communicators on Star Trek are illustrated in walkie-talkies and the "push-to-talk" versions of cell phones.  Who knows?  One day, we may have a button on our clothing which allows us to speak to others with that same clothing feature.  Lasers are being used in all sorts of ways in today's society--they are medical tools, used for security measures, etc.  All it takes is an idea...the invention follows with enough money to back it up.

rskardal eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a couple famous examples of this. Arthur C. Clarke foresaw satellites and their impact on communication. People often credit George Orwell for foreseeing the helicopter. However, if it's a competition between him and Huxley, it seems that the latter has been more "prophetic" in his ability to foresee our reliance on drugs to control our mood, though I admit that it is not a perfect fit. Last but not least, Orson Scott Card arguably foresaw the importance of the blogosphere in Ender's Game.

So perhpas it's disturbing that William Gibson has recently admitted that the future has caught up with him. His fiction is no longer set decades in the future. It's roughly set in the present.

kmcappello eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I agree with previous posters that many of today's scientists and inventors may have been science fiction fans as kids. Another possibility is that more than one person conceives of an idea, but one chooses to express it in fiction, the other tries to actually make it. It depends on where your talents lie. I am astounded when I re-read science fiction from the past and discover how close to the truth "fiction" actually is. For instance, Ender's Game, which was written by Orson Scott Card in the seventies, was already anticipating everyday technology like the internet, chat rooms, 3-D simulators, even game consoles like the Wii.
lynn30k eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I do agree with this statement. I have loved reading SF since I was a child, and it always increased not just my sense of wonder, but my sense of "I wonder if...." I became a scientist myself, and now teach special ed/science. Another poster mentioned "Ender's Game"; another example of SF coming true is robots. They existed in literature long before they did in reality. When Michael Crichton wrote "Jurassic Park", it was very far-fetched. But go to the 60 Minutes website--they did a segment on Jan 17 about similar things becoming reality.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I can't prove that it is so, but here is why I think it is...  Science fiction shows ideas -- visions for the future.  As people read science fiction, they think about what new sorts of technologies could be invented and they react to the technologies that the authors make up (they say "wow, I wish someone would invent that").

Some readers inevitably become scientists and perhaps some of them use the inspiration they got from what they read to help them invent new technologies.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Science fiction gives us a taste of what the future potentially holds for humanity. Will the human race destroy itself, will a human colony live on Mars, or will we fly spaceships at light speed. The great thing about science fiction is that it has the potential to become science fact.

udonbutterfly | Student

I most certainly agree with this statement! Science fiction has really influenced the world of innovation and creativity to create the world today and the world tomorrow. In many books like The Last Book in the Universe and The Giver it talks of children being genetically modified and in today's society genetically coding children has now become possible (see reference 1). Then there is also how the idea of holographs are brought up in movies like Pixel Perfect or Tron Legacy. Japan's entertainment industry actually has success at making the first holographic singer. (see reference 2)

Wiggin42 | Student

Science fiction brings the future nearer because it plants the idea of future technology in an inventor's head whether directly or indirectly. The little shells that people listen to music from Fahrenheit 451 is oddly similar to something we have today; no? MIT programmed their robots with Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics. The dystopian setting in 1984 where Big Brother is always watching isn't all that unfamiliar to us considering the NSA and the fact anything typed on a computer can be traced. The fact is, science fiction has time and time again predicted the future; whether for good or bad. 

sc1f1 | Student

In my opinion it is the aspect of simulation which distinguishes sci-fi explicitly from other genres. Every sci-fi story takes places in a seriously presented world, meaning the storyline has got to be embedded in a self-consistent world.

nusratfarah | Student

I agree with the quote.

I do not know about others, but I, personally, believe that yes, it is true that science fictions can bring the future nearer to some extents. This is an indirect process, but they have the ability to do so. Science fictions, whenever I read, do create a sort of imaginations in the mind. Because, when you read, you visualize at the same time what you are reading. And, I am sure that many others like me do imagine while reading. And it is imagination which is the basis of invention. If you can not or do not imagine about what you want to invent or want to do with something, how will you be able to go for further research? Only textual reading does not develop innovative ideas and master-plans. There prevail many dreams and plans behind all these. Science fictions help especially children and teens think more imaginatively in an innovative way.

thanhthao | Student

"A science fiction brings the future nearer"

Your statement is a bit ambiguous, in my opinion, science fiction  wont bring the future nearer but shows us what may happen or exist in the future.

Years ago, people thought that man could not go to the moon. However, we can buy tickets for visting there if we are rich enough.

Now, "alients" is what we are studying. We can conclude that alient does not exist because we have not discover other planets yet. Now we can see kinds of alients on movies, who can answer: "Is alient fiction?" AVATAR is a fiction movie now, but who can be sure it's not real or does not exist?

'cause of human's curiosity, technology is more and more advanced to satisfy theirs. The human's brain is ultimate and mysterious. We can not know what will be discover by our brain!

sandali | Student

thnxxx all!!! i knw this is rely vague, bt... i wanted facts my essay! on this topic. SO tnx!! and i also hope for more!!!

krishna-agrawala | Student

Scientific development is grounded on hard facts rather than fiction. But then scientific development also involves use of innovation and imagination.

I do not know to what extent people with scientific bent of mind read scientific fiction and to what extent they get some useful ides for their research and development work. But it is not inconceivable that some of the scientists who have contributed to technological development may have received some inspiration from science fiction they have read.

ashiya22 | Student

I would be willing to bet that most people who are now scientists, especially in the field of physics, would have been avid science fiction fans. Because science fiction concerns the realm of "the pretend," young sci-fi enthusiasts are always considering "what might be." Science fiction buffs also tend to be very intelligent -- they think quite a bit about almost everything in life, i.e., they like to break down ideas and analyze them thoroughly. It is just this kind of mind that first likes to "make believe" and ask "what if," and possesses the intellectual ability to become the creator of some of those very things that it has imagined. Since "necessity is the mother of invention," intelligent people will always see the need for a product or concept long before others do. For example, dedicated sci-fi TV watchers of the past conceptualized a device that could record their favorite television shows/movies when they were not able to view them in real time. The intelligences of the past (e.g., Jules Verne) who conceptualized in this way actually became the inspiration for those who, later, with advanced technology available, became the creators of those very ideas. Kind of like time travel -- do the thoughts and actions of one person really affect the fabric of the universe?

sandali | Student

i think it is soo bt .... i need more details. WHY is it so?

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