This culture of ours saved my life. This isn’t an exaggeration. If not for Ursula K. Le Guin, Madeleine L’Engle, Star Trek, The Wild Wild West, comic books, Isaac Asimov, and Dr. Who, I would probably be dead. I grew up in a neighborhood where the idea of dreaming outside of the concrete, glass, and busted elevators that encroached on my every day was damn near forbidden — it could also get you killed. Dreaming above your station was discouraged as you didn’t want others to think you were better than them. If they were in the shit, so were you. So in secret, I visited fantastic worlds — these worlds kickstarted my dream machinery, inviting me to see beyond what I thought were my limits.
Fiction has a way of doing that. It forces you to imagine worlds so very different than your own — and want to live there.
As I got more into SF (my catchall designation for all the outré things we love), not just as a consumer but also as a creator, I started to see just how amazing this stuff ours is. The potential for SF to affect real world change was absolutely astonishing. But the thing is, most of these changes happen only in the realm of the object. Cellular phones, teleconferencing, mobile digital health monitoring — all these things delivered on the promise of SF. These were delivered in tangible forms. What disturbed was that the human element stayed contemporarily human.