“It is often said that science fiction is the literature of change. When a culture is undergoing a lot of changes due to scientific advances and technological developments, and expects to undergo more” (Treitel 1). A large part of science fiction appeal lies in its ability to convince the audience of the believability of the world it portrays (Fuller 1). “Science fiction looks backward as much as forward and its usefulness lays not so much in predicting the actual future as in exploring our reaction to possible futures” (Marvel 2).
Fantasy and other realities are sometimes included in science fiction. In American literature many writers expressed their ideas of future advances in technology, events or future events, society and future societies in imaginative stories, poems, periodicals, films, and television shows. Television shows and movies today have depicted imaginative technological advances “that makes people hope for based on present-day science but haven’t developed yet” (Treitel 2).
For example, in the show “Knight Rider”, Michael Knight works for a government operated business that owns a car named Kit, which has a mind of its own. Kit could drive by itself, think for itself, and talk by itself. At that time a self-driving car was just an idea but now engineers in Germany are designing a truck that can drive on its own. The truck followed the paint marks on the side and middle of the road (Ahern 1). Also Avis Rent-A-Car is equipping their cars with “yellow page” maps. If an individual gets lost, a computerized voice tells he or she which direction to go.
Movies have been known to make a person think; could this really happen in the future or in future worlds? For instance, in The Matrix staring Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne, these two individuals lead the fight to free mankind from the all-powerful machines of artificial intelligence that controls everyone in a dream world. Today, many computer systems are using or testing artificial intelligence on a small scale. Many novelists, like H. G. Wells and Wyndham, wrote pieces that try to predict the outcome of events or the future.
H. G. Wells wrote many successful science fiction novels, from “The Island of Doctor Moreau” to “The Invisible Man” to “The War of the Worlds” and many, many more. “He took the ideas and fears that haunted the mind of his age and gave them symbolic expression as brilliantly conceived fantasy made credible by the quiet realism of its setting” (Nicholson 1). Wells foresaw certain developments in military use of aircrafts in “The War in the Air” and for a long period he acquired a reputation of a future prophet (Nicholson 2).
Some ‘post-holocaust’ stories such as Wyndham’s ‘The Chrysalides,’ portray cultures that understand and control less of the world than we do; the scientific element consists of our understanding of their world, and of the change led to it from our world” (Treitel 2). Writers also use his or her imagination to create fantasies and other realities in short stories or poems. For example, in “The Devil and Tom Walker” Irving created a character, Tom Walker, who bargained with the almighty devil for a messily fortune. Tom’s greedy wife hears of this and seeks out to find the devil.
She located the devil but she doesn’t get a fortune, she disappears. Soon after, Tom journeys to find her but all he finds is her apron with a heart and liver wrapped up in it. Another item that uses other realities is “A Wrinkle in Time” which three children from earth seek out to find their father who has tessered, or wrinkled, to a different world, a world where everything was in rhythm. On the children’s voyage to find their father, they encounter three women who aren’t from this planet and who help them on their voyage.
Then there are poems that create fantasies like “Plucking Out a Rhythm. This poem depicts something or someone setting up a room then a jazz band playing but the only thing is that there isn’t people play the instruments its just clothes in front of the instruments. Many American writers articulated ideas of future advances in technology, events or future events, society and future societies in imaginative pieces. With self-driving trucks, computerized voice “yellow pages,” artificial intelligence, and many other “inventions and innovations that have come to dominate our times appeared first in the pages of science fiction” (Marvel 2).
With predictions for the future, H. G. Wells wrote many novels that came true. Science fiction has also entertained society for many years with fantasies and alternate worlds. Science fiction has helped create the 20th century. I believe that science fiction will continue to dazzle us with more imaginative worlds, societies, and technology. Possibly these imaginative worlds, societies, and technologies depicted in stories will some day come to be.