Science fiction in the modern world plays a crucial role in providing imaginative contents of the things that human beings should expect at some point in time. This genre explores the likely effects and consequences of the innovations that are scientifically based. This genre is used by people to address current trends in the world and warn them of the possible effects that may be brought by the trends in the late life. The setting of such content is based in futuristic events and addresses issues such as the development of science and technology and the most likely scenarios that could result, time travel, space travel, extraterrestrial life among many other aspects of life. In literature, this genre has been highly credited and is regarded as one of the best creativity that an individual can come up with.
The ‘literature of ideas’ involved in developing a futuristic science fiction cannot be taken for granted as it requires one to go outside the human expectations to come up with imaginary ideas to create the necessary content. In most cases, authors have employed science fiction to address issues dealing with desire, politics, social structure, politics, and discrimination among many more other fields. This genre greatly differs with others in that it depends on pure imagination of things that could happen in the future depending on the actions that people take in the present moment. As a result, it becomes difficult arguing for and against the validity of these arguments. In most cases, the events that take place in such films and novels are superior when compared to the modern day.
Science fiction is used in several fields, ranging from the film industry to the written word. Although science fiction was previously thought to exist in the film industry alone, the recent past has seen several other industries adopting this genre in addressing issues in the society. Woman on the Edge of Time is one good example of how science fiction has been used in novels to address the plight of women in the society and the most likely results of such a plight in years to come. This novel by Marge Piercy falls under the classification of a speculative utopian science fiction. It also falls under the class of the feminist classic since it mostly addresses the most likely position that women will hold in the future. On a similar note, Things to Come is a science fiction British film which has been referred by Christopher Frayling as a major landmark in cinematic design. The film mainly addresses the political and social possibilities at a later date. Burning Chrome is a futuristic story by William Gibson, which adopts the genre of science fiction. According to the story, the future holds different perspectives as hackers have improvised a way through which to hack systems for profit. In a way, all these works adopt the genre of science fiction to address contemporary issues in the society. In a manner, the authors employed science fiction in these works to address certain issues in the society that people have consistently practiced. It may, at times, be used to warn people of the possible effects of the ignorant actions that they take and as a result, people may change their behaviors.
Woman on the Edge of Time mainly addresses a future that is feminist-based. The fantasy of the narrative is based on the current understanding of the gender inequalities in the society. The author, through the text postulates a society free from such discrimination and where all human beings are treated equally regardless of their gender (Piercy, 1976). Despite this fact, not all imagined futures are so sensitive. The novel is based on the communication from Consuelo (Connie) Ramos, who is a thirty-seven year old Hispanic who is released from the detention facility where she was forced to go. This was after she was diagnosed with some mental failure and as such, there was a necessity that she be forced into the institution. The woman’s communication was directed to a certain figure that it is difficult to tell whether this figure was imaginary or not. This figure represented Luciente, who was an androgynous woman.
Within her conversation, Connie realizes that Luciente is not just an ordinary woman. She hails from the future whereas Connie was living in the present world with all the political and social injustices in the world. ‘In the future world, everybody is treated equal. People are not discriminated based on their genders’ (Piercy, 1976). According to the novel, the future that Luciente hails from can be best described as being a utopian state, which is characterized by the fulfillment of a number of goals dealing with political and social agenda that were made in the world in the sixties and early seventies (Piercy, 1976). These agenda and goals were facilitated by radical movements, which had been employing every mechanism to ensure that they achieved these goals. Through this communication, Connie gives us a different perspective as to what the future may hold to humanity if the issues being raised at the present time are constantly pursued. For instance, according to the novel, the world that Luciente comes form does not experience issues such as homophobia, environmental pollution, class-subordination, racism, totalitarianism, imperialism, Phallogocentrism and consumerism. This is very different from what is experienced daily in the world where humans seek to take advantage of each other by practicing racism and gender discrimination. According to the novel, only the death penalty still exists in the future world. However, there is a lot of doubts as to whether Connie’s state of mind is stable and as to whether whatever she was communicating was a reality or it was facilitated by the mental illness she was suffering from. This is because she is placed in a mental hospital once more after hitting her niece.
Despite all the optimism brought by Luciente, Connie understands that a dystopian alternate is another possibility. In such an alternate state, women are highly discriminated against as they are only valued for their sexuality and appearance. Connie fears that this will facilitate plastic surgery through which women will embrace the vice in order to attain exaggerated sexual features in order to appease men. It is this confrontation with the future that gives Connie the mettle to fight on in order to ensure that women are respected in the society.
Similar to Woman on the Edge of Times, William Gibson wrote ‘Burning Chrome’ based on the genre of science fiction. This is a short story on science fiction through which the author intends to explain the possible effects of science and technology and the impact they may have in the future times. In order to achieve this, the author gives the story on two hackers who illegally hacked systems in order to make profits (Gibson, 1986). Whereas Bobby Quine specializes in software, Automatic Jack specializes on hardware. Rikki, who is another character, is a girl that interests Bobby and because of her, Bobby is determined to become wealthy in order to woo her. Although this short story is based on science fiction, the role that Rikki plays in developing the theme can be said to be an overwhelming victory for women in general. This is because she plays a crucial role in motivating Bobby Quinne and Automatic Jack to work hard to become wealthy in order to woo her.
Later when Automatic Jack acquires a hacking software from Russia, Bobby is tasked with trying to break the system of Chrome, a notorious criminal who handles money from crime. Because of their desire to cooperate in order to woo Rikki, the two men decide to assist each other and at last, they manage to break into Chrome’s system. It is, however, sad to see Rikki leave them especially after they did all their best to appease her. She later moves on and joins Hollywood, much to the grief of the two men who had grown to love her (Gibson, 1986). This science-fiction short story has placed some emphasis on the role that women can play in the contemporary world, effectively giving women some credit. Through it, the readers get the feeling that, in the future, women will play significant roles in saving humanity and bringing about equality in several fields.
The move by Rikki to depart the two men and join Hollywood has been presented to be a big blow to Automatic Jack and Bobby Quinne. Thi shows the crucial role that women play in furthering the development of men in various fields. For instance, it was due to the attraction that Bobby Quinne had towards Rikki that motivated him to work hard in order to attract her. In the short story, Rikki is portrayed as going beyond the basics in making her decisions. In the modern day world, women have been consistently accused of loving men depending on the wealth they have. This portrays them as being dependent on the men. However, through the story, we are given a clear picture that such might not be the case in the future where women will always desire to pursue their own dreams. This will bring about equality of the genders.
William Cameron Menzies’ Things to Come is another science fiction-based film that explains how the future may look like and how it may differ from the present by analyzing some of the effects that the current agenda may have (Menzies, 2001). The news of a possible global war ensures that John Cabal, a successful businessman in the city of ‘Everytown’ cannot effectively enjoy his Christmas. Together with his friends, they debate on some of the effects that the war can bring, including accelerating technological progress. In essence, the fact that they were discussing the possible positive effects of the likely war reveals that they, to some extent, wished the war could come about in order to change some of the perspectives that people had adopted. Gender discrimination is no doubt one of the areas that the war could affect the manner that it was perceived.
Later that night, the global war breaks out and almost all characters take part in the war. After, what is interesting to note is the effect that was brought about by the war. After the war, technological progress has taken a new twist and technology that is more superior has been discovered (Menzies, 2001). This is well explained by the plans that Cabal had to consolidate the globe and to construct underground cities that included a new ‘Everytown’ city. In essence, these films are based on the genre of science fiction and the role they have played in the society cannot be understated.
Gibson, W. (1986). Burning chrome. New York: Arbor House.
Menzies, W. C., Korda, A., Massey, R., Chapman, E., Scott, M., Richardson, R., . . . Image Entertainment (Firm) (2001). Things to come. Chatsworth, CA: Image Entertainment.
Piercy, M. (1976). Woman on the edge of time. New York: Knopf.