Science Fiction enables scientific creativity to break free, unrestricted by the laws of nature as we know them, and allows contemporary issues to be explored in radically different environments than the normal trappings. By definition, Science Fiction is a genre that creates alternate scenarios and then watches them play out.
I actually think that '1984' came to pass.
-- Michael Crichton
Scenario forecasting has been a military tool for thousands of years but only in science fiction is the writers' imagination the limit, such as making carbon copies of yourself so you can live multiple simultaneous lives, baby universes created on desktops, or souls downloaded from disposable slaves.
Can Science Fiction predict the future, or prevent it? Physicist/Writer David Brin argues that George Orwell prevented the 1984 scenario by making people aware of it. "We have a society now where we have cameras in the hands of everyone, not just the elites." But best-selling author Michael Crichton questions why the omnipresence of cameras in society in anyone's hands is "a good thing?" MacArthur Fellow Octavia E. Butler thinks we have more pressing things to worry about. "Global warming, for one."
Although the history of Science Fiction writing has always reflected the science of the times, it's perhaps most telling that although the worlds change, the behavior of people -- and aliens -- across each fictional society has remained constant.
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Octavia E. Butler
Author, MacArthur Fellow
Octavia Butler on how she'd like to be remembered.