Science fiction is based on what we know…

I was talking to a friend the other day about sci-fi’s visions of the future. We are limited in what we can imagine by what we know. Does that make senses? As an example, if you look in really old sci fi, like Doc Smith and Isaac Asimov, you’ll see many things that came to pass in our time, from blasters to city-planets, etc. But navigation is still an issue. In the Foundation series, they are traveling in spaceships but still have to stop to do hours of navigation by hand on paper before going faster than light. Nobody dreamed of advanced computers, GPS, or the like.
So it is with modern sci-fi. You can only project out or imagine what you know, to a degree. Plenty of what us sci-fi writers produce will probably look nothing like what rcomes to pass in the future. I imagine fighter ships with pilots, even though today we have unmanned drones all over the place. In my mind, drones (as has been shown on TV) are still vulnerable to jamming and hacking, so the only solution is to put a human (or humanoid) in that cockpit. Years from now, maybe ships will be piloted by bottled up copies of fighter pilot’s minds while the actual person plays solitaire a thousand miles away. Who knows?
The point is that there is a familiarity to writing that way. I think people might be a bit put off or confused by writing that was simply too far out. With no basis for reference or comparison, the technology would overpower the story and instead of caring about the characters, you’d be left trying to puzzle out how that brain teleporter zaps my consciousness into another person’s body when I want to travel to another planet. We want people to care about the story, so the large strokes are familiar. Ships still have crews, people talk to each other instead of using telepathy, soldiers use blasters instead of microwave pain rays or bullet that seek out a person’s pheromone profile.
Just some thoughts, you understand, but try it yourself. Think of your favorite old sci-fi novel, and look at what came to pass, plus also what showed up in real life that the author never in the world imagined. It’s fun!


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