Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Stolen Jewels and Science Fiction

Originally posted on the ARe Cafe on Jan. 20, 2014

La rêve d’étoiles.
That phrase has stayed with me since I first read it in a Star Trek novel decades ago: the dream of stars. I think it perfectly explains my fascination with science fiction. It is mixing wonder with the wonderful, the unknown with unending possibilities. Is space the home of human nightmares, the monster in the darkness? Or is it a stage shrouded in mystery, waiting for the curtain to go up and the spotlight to blaze on the start of new adventures? 
My earliest memory of a special childhood treat is those times my dad let me stay up late to watch the after-midnight Star Trek reruns with him in the ’70s. I saw Star Wars when it was released in the theater of the military base we were stationed at. (That opening scroll across the star field is pretty jaw-dropping for a six year old.) I first saw an adult man wipe tears from his eyes at a screening of E.T. The Extraterrestrial, proving it’s all right for everyone to feel and share emotion. And while George Lucas may have been thinking “space western” when he created Star Wars, Joss Whedon really brought it home with Firefly and Serenity.
Some of my favorite authors write science fiction: Robert Heinlein, Piers Anthony, Anne McCaffrey (science fiction with dragons!), F.M. Busby, Robert Buettner, Kim Stanley Robinson, Linnea Sinclair, Orson Scott Card, Lara Santiago, Annabel Wolfe, James White (Sector General books), Suzanne Collins, Frank Herbert, Tanya Huff, James Alan Gardner, S.L. Viehl (who writes the Darkyn series as Lynn Viehl) and J.D. Robb.
My interests aren’t limited to science fiction – I enjoy romance, suspense, fantasy, urban fantasy and more, too – but I often revisit Ender and the Battle School (Card), Gillaine and Mack (Sinclair), Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr (Huff) and Jaxom and Ruth on Pern (McCaffrey).
Now that technology is catching up with what authors envision on paper, science fiction on TV and the big screen is attracting a larger audience than ever. Science fiction films have broken away from the cult status of Blade Runner and Total Recall and given us the likes of Avatar, District 9, Elysium, Man of Steel and the new Star Trek franchise. The Outer Limits, the original Star Trek series and The X-files led the way, and we’ve reached the point where a growing segment of television funding is given to shows like Chuck, Fringe, Almost Human, Intelligence and others. 
Science fiction can be set in a place far, far away or as close to home as one wishes, finding life in a future limited only by our imaginations. I prefer to think of space and that future as full of the hope and wonder implied in la rêve d’étoiles.
It’s good to see the dream is spreading.

NOTE: Congratulations to Loray for winning a copy of The Family Jewel!