Why SF is not so “Out There”

An Editorial by Derek Newman-Stille

I often hear from people that they can’t suspend their disbelief enough to enjoy SF, and I always find that amusing because… the real world is more bizarre, weird, and unbelievable than most SF authors could dream up.

We have all come from star dust in space that has spun off into a planet and eventually come to be turned into our bodies by, among other things, at one point in time being a puddle of goo from which all life originated. We are all mutants of that pile of goo, weird, freakish beings that have been changed physically over centuries due to being bombarded with cosmic radiation. That mutant goo also created, at one point, giant lizards, flying lizards, fish as big as a bus, mammals that can fly, swim, crawl above and below ground, and walk. And, if you need to see something really alien, look at the depths of the ocean….

We fuel our cars and machines with a shiny black liquid that comes from decomposed dinosaurs and other ancient dead things. We live in a world where every time we think we have found the smallest particle of matter… another smaller one pops up to surprise us.

And if none of that convinces you that reality is a science fictional, fantastic, magical, horrific place… I am compelled to point out… the platypus.

If you think that the Weird out there is far fetched, take a look at the Weird down here!

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6 thoughts on “Why SF is not so “Out There”

  1. Diane Tibert says:

    My problem is I slip into other worlds too easily, but I’ve always dreamt big.

    I think the problem (the other people’s problem; I don’t think my world slip is a problem) is people are taught to think of the concrete. “Don’t be silly,” we’re told. “That could never happen.” Then you read about a guy in the states on a new drug who began eating a homeless person, and you think “Don’t be silly; that could never happen.”

    • You are right. We are often taught to think in really limited ways and to limit our understanding of possibilities and ability to embrace new ideas. The ability to slip into new worlds is a great thing for an author to have, not to mention anyone who does any creative work. I think a lot of people could learn to think outside the box a bit more.

  2. The platypus! Yes, that is definitely the weirdest land animal alive on this planet. Another blogger recently posted links to some of the most bizarre sea creatures that looked so alien, one has to wonder if something that strange exists elsewhere in space. If we look at how quickly our technology has advanced over the past couple of decades, it isn’t too far-fetched to think that space travel could be possible once our understanding of the laws of physics expand, too. That’s just my opinion, of course. I’m sure there are those out there who won’t agree with me. 🙂

    • Yes!! Sea creatures are so incredibly odd. I always think to myself “wow, that came from our oceans, it looks like it came from another planet” and shortly thereafter “I am never swimming in the ocean again” 🙂

  3. As soon as someone says they “can’t” enjoy something because it is too far beyond their imagination, they have proven to me that they have no imagination. I am not as snotty as I sound.
    –Julie

    • I totally agree with you. I am always astonished when someone says that something is beyond their imagination and always think to myself “wow, what else aren’t you imagining.” Our world is so diverse and interesting that normally when someone tells me that something is outside the scope of their imagination, I often worry that they are somewhat narrow minded.

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