Science Fiction and the Human Condition


The most common question I get when I talk about writing is "Do you really write science fiction?" I am asked so often, in fact, that I decided to investigate. I figured that I must not look like a science fiction author. But is there really a "look" that we're supposed to have? I decided to ask the google, and it did not disappoint.

I've attached a photo of myself for comparison. Pretty different right there. I guess I don't really look like a person who puts too much thought into murderous robot gangs, desert zombie attack force teams, or sexy multi-dimensional robot bug fighting twins. Even further, a gay drug dealing robot with a gear for a head, whose first lines are "I don't need to take my mask off to give a reach around", is not something most people would expect to come from the machinations of my mind. This mind is the same mind of the little cuddly quiet girl who loves cafes, novelty t-shirts, and slippers. I guess I don't really give off a science fiction vibe after all.

This leads me to the very next question that is asked every time without fail, "Why do you write science fiction?" The short answer is simple, "because it's cool". I mean, what ISN'T cool about the tagline 'sexy multi-dimensional robot bug fighting twins'? I mean come on! Every word in the tagline is cool.

But you are not here for the short answer. You're here for the long one.

Typically there is a trend that goes along in science fiction, specifically in the realm of robots and zombies. This trend pokes into a really complicated relationship between the body and the soul.

Let's look at zombies, for example. There's a lot of terms to describe these pointless non-cognitive murderous creatures; ghouls, ankle biters, runners, creepie crawlies, deadheads, lurkers, rotters, walkers, flesh bags, etc.. But what are zombies really? We know that they derived from Haitian Voodoo rituals, ie. the Zombi. From there, they were developed into the modernized American sense by William Seabrook in the early 1900's. This enactment of the new and 'improved' zombie featured human-like creatures whom only had one goal: survival through destruction. This asks a very important question: what is a person once the 'soul' or 'human' has been removed? They have no humanity, no agenda, no malicious intent, just drive, and in this sense, the drive itself is to destroy.

In addition to this, we can take a look at Artificial Intelligence. This topic is soon becoming all the rage, especially with the new AI robot named "Sophia" who is now a legal citizen and is looking to becoming a mother. Creepy, right? Robots have the 'human' appearance, without the idea of a soul. They can go rogue, they are a threat to humanity. What is a person who never had the 'soul' or 'human' aspect to begin with? Robots have no humanity, a terrifying agenda, and their 'malicious' intent isn't really malicious to them at all.

So what's my point? Why do I like to write science fiction?

I like delving into the human condition itself, because Zombies, Robots, and whatever the hell sexy multi-dimensional twins are fighting, are not a part of the human condition. They aren't born, they don't grow old, they don't have morality, aspirations, or emotions. Because these creatures lack the human condition, the idea that it's acceptable for us to destroy them is accepted from wall to wall of the comic-con convention center.

But that's not what I like to do. I ask the tough questions, you know that.

I like to attach the human conditions to non-human objects. What happens when the tin man has a heart and the scarecrow has a brain? How do we react as a society? Are the zombies still zombies, or are they something more? We can't continue to kill them because they now have a soul, they are now human... but they're still zombies. What do we do when we give Robots humanity, they are still robots, but they're also people?

I love this scenario because it makes me think. People would absolutely turn against these beings because zombies very obviously aren't human. But... they are at the same time. And that's why I love it so much because once you give a soul to the body the zombie is a person. The robot is a human. The monster is one of us. And they were all along.

#writing #sciencefiction

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