Five Good Reasons To Take Science Fiction & Fantasy Literature Seriously

1.  Historical research:  In historical fantasies and science fiction that involves time travel or alternate dimensions, authors will many times include evidence of deep research about history.  Reading it as part of an exciting story makes for a painless way to learn about major wars or important figures.  One note of caution, though; sometimes it's tough to keep straight what's real and what's fictional!

2.  Scientific research:  Much of science fiction and science fantasy includes plot devices that are based on real scientific facts and theories.  Many authors are also scientists who enjoy using their writing as a vehicle to introduce or explore theoretical work.  Many times, what is introduced as fiction in a novel will later become fact as technology catches up with the imagination.

3.  Social significance:  This reason to read is especially true of speculative fiction which has at its heart the exploration of humanity and its reaction to the environment in which it is set.  Authors can postulate the characteristics of the world to come by creating their own variable sets.  Many times, this is used as a warning against a particular societal ill.

4.  Paradigm busting:  Because fantasy and science fiction deals with worlds that are often beyond the laws of nature that apply to our own, people who read from these genres are allowed to see the real world from a fresh perspective.  This both heightens creativity and nurtures the mind's ability to bust through existing paradigms.  This can be quite an asset in problem solving or work that involves coming up with designs for new products or procedures.

5.  Writing quality:  Although often considered frivolous to the outsider, those who read science fiction and fantasy know that the writing in most of these books is anything but frivolous.  The people who write in these genres are scholars, visionaries, and inventors.  They not only create the same sorts of believable characters as found in other novels, but they also give birth to entire universes, political systems, cultures, magical laws, and new life forms.  Their task is great and their talent must be equally great in order to take the reader to an entirely new part of one's mind.

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Spring Lea Henry