Science Fiction is not limited to the future. Much of what we see in films and read in books of this complex genre are not just possible, but are developing behind the veil of common knowledge. Advancements are being made at such an exponential rate, it is be difficult to keep up. Tech giants have turned to biology in an effort to solve the impending data storage problem by purchasing and utilizing DNA strands to archive this data. Although they are still working out the kinks in this project, it is visible on the horizon. This is one result as the scientific and technological fields blend into an enormous force of progress.
LOOKING TO NATURE
In everything we do we look to nature for inspiration. The human body is no exception to this. There have always been comparisons between computers and the brain. Some of the most advanced robots look like us. Just as scientific research has been aided by technology, biology will be assisting technology. It is impossible for the imagination not to grab onto this concept and run away with it with a fervor that matches the growth in these fields. We want to create, by any means necessary.
Of course, we do not know everything. The limitation of invention is directly related to the limitation of our knowledge. Creativity fills in the gaps. As we explore the unknown, we devise ways in which to understand and relate to the ever prevalent advancements. This is where fiction comes in. It is a way in which we can take the edge off, for us to become at ease in the face progress. Many are not so adept at coping with change. It is up to the artist to place these developments squarely in a medium that can provoke thought instead of fear.
THE BIRTH OF SUB-GENRE
Among all the genres, Science Fiction is one of the most complex. Because of this, sub-genres have been created to split it up into more digestible segments. Bio-punk is the latest sub-genres to emerge and is incredibly relevant today. It is a process of assimilation. Utilizing art and entertainment, we are gently eased into the future. While the realm of the impossible remains, it is combined with the possible and the current so as to prevent a sense of whiplash. This gives us the chance to truly examine our own value systems and to set boundaries on what we should and should not be as a society. Humanities must co-exist with science and technology in order to avoid a dystopia.
The advancement of civilization is not something we can control, but our knowledge of it is. As science and technology become more and more transparent, we are able to learn more and are thus given the tools to cope with change. However, it is just as important to take a breath and chill. Below are some suggested materials that are both thought-provoking and entertaining. On the road to progress, it is essential to enjoy the ride as much as possible.
Unwind Dystology Series by Neal Shusterman:
This series deftly explores thought-provoking issues, such as the value of a life and what it means to be human. In a dystopian future where those between the ages of thirteen and eighteen can have their lives “unwound”, three teens risk everything to uphold their values.
Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan:
In a future where death has been made nearly obsolete, the acts of suicide and death take on new meaning. After suffering a brutal death, former UN envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been “resleeved”, meaning his consciousness has been put into a new body. Initially labelled a suicide, he begins to suspect that his death was the result of a more nefarious intent. As he begins to put the pieces together, Takeshi finds himself in the middle of a deadly conspiracy. This gritty, fast-paced novel will keep you firmly planted at the edge of your seat.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro:
This lyrical and atmospheric novel explores the reunion of three friends. Once students of an isolated private school for clones in the English countryside, Kath, Ruth and Tommy embark on a nostalgic journey into the past and must face the difficult truth of their lives together in the process.
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi:
In a near future where food is scarce and calories are the new currency, and where the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant, Anderson Lake exploits this dystopia for his own gain. As an undercover Calorie Man, Anderson combs the street markets of Bangkok in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct. It is here that he encounters Emiko, one of the New People - genetically engineered beings that are creche-grown to serve the decadent whims of the wealthy.
New Crobuzon Series by China Mieville:
This is the series that served as Mieville’s big break into the genre, deeming him a bold and original new force and sealed his reputation as one of the edgiest mythmakers of the day. New Crobuzon is a city-state in the fictional world of Bas-Lag and is heavily featured in the first and third installment of the series, and serves as a plot device in the second. Mieville’s unique style transports you into the fascinating, unconventional and gritty world he has created, complete with unusual and intriguing characters whose roles drive the intricately written plot.
Perdido Street Station
Gattaca: This cult favorite explores the ethics of eugenics and overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds to fulfill one’s dreams.
Blade Runner: Forced out of retirement, a former Replicant Hunter is tasked to pursue four Replicants that have escaped the colonies and returned to Earth. Rick Deckard must confront the implications of his position as the question of ethics and what it means to be human haunt him throughout his mission.
Jurassic Park: An audience favorite, this film is a true spectacle in special effects and animatronics, while master film-maker Steven Spielberg creates a sense of both awe and terror. In turns suspenseful and thought-provoking, this compelling story explores cloning at its most frightening level.
Spider-Man Homecoming: A more light-hearted take on the genre, this fun and colorful film is full of adventure and excitement, fitting snugly in the Marvel Cinema Universe without getting bogged down by franchise building.
Orphan Black: Both contemplative and suspenseful, this popular television series deftly balances character development, a quickly moving intricate plot, relatable experiences, and questions of the ethics and morality of cloning.
Whitney Taitano, Circulation Desk Attendant