I was walking with a colleague along the one of the labyrinthine back corridors of a major medical center and he asked me how I got interested in my career field. I told him that as a child, I read a lot of stories about scientists who did important things, solved important problems, and made the world a better place. Being a scientist was uber-cool and I gravitated toward scientific studies in school.
“What kind of stories did you read?” he asked.
“I read action-adventure stories as most young boys will, some biographies too. But mostly I read a lot of science fiction.”
At this point we heard a snort of derision from a nurse who was following closely and eavesdropping on our conversation. She quickly opened the gap as if the conversation had somehow become unsavory.
I call this the Dangerfield Effect after the American Comedian whose catchphrase was, "I don't get no respect!" Paradoxically, generations of scientists, engineers, and inventors have attributed their interest in science and the “science of making stuff” to SciFi stories.
We all want people to love us and respect what we do. Maybe if we told the SciFi derisionists we wrote about sociology, political intrigues, the long term effects of public policy, and the role of technology in social change, we might get some respect. Maybe if we portrayed ourselves as the literary underdogs, or the little group who could... Maybe...? **Sigh** Maybe not. Rodney, I feel for you, man.
6 Tech-based Writing Prompts
5 Books for Aspiring SciFi Writers
…and general SciFi articles.
SciFi Writers – The Shamans of Modernity
SciFi and the Dangerfield Effect
SciFi Authors and Editors as Agents of Change
What Would Your Robot Say?
What Were the First SciFi Stories You Read?
Earth Day – April 22, 2014