Living Science Fiction


…or the good, the bad, and the ugly of the advancing, technologically and politically charged world.

I feel like I’m living in one of those science fiction dystopias right now. If you had told me that I would live to see a new civil rights movement as politically charged as the African American movement rise from the ashes of ignorance, I would have told you that you didn’t know what you were talking about. Yet here we are with millions of people across the country protesting the assault on homosexuals. I’m living in a time I never thought would exist; it never occurred to me that there could be such a vicious battle between religion and the other or such a divide between our peoples–a divide that has relegated one group of people into the position of “second class citizen” because a majority says it’s right.
In some respects, I don’t know how to take all of this. I grew up making fun of homosexual men while sharing the common masculine mentality that allows homosexual women to be reduced to sexual objects. It was never really brought up that saying “that’s gay” or “you’re such an f*g” were actually derogatory phrases that shouldn’t be said. Yet here I am, looking into the face of hatred and finding myself almost unable to cope. How do you fight hate?
Then only a week or so ago we saw violence spring up yet again between Israel and Hamas. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised and forgive me for being naive, but I don’t understand the necessity for violence from either end–I understand that hatred exists, but it seems utterly illogical and pointless to me (couldn’t they just spend the time ignoring one another?).
But not all is bad, right? Sure, there are those dystopic moments where things really look down, but there are good moments too. We elected the first African American President, Barack Hussein Obama, in the United States, for one. And what about all those fantastic scientific discoveries/inventions in the last year or so? The Australians discovered a genetic link for transsexuality, the Large Hadron Collider went online (and then broke, for now), cell phone use has increased at a massive rate, eBook readers have started to take hold in the market, and Space X, a privately run space company, had a successful launch of its Falcon rocket (which, I imagine, helped earn it a launch contract with NASA). It seems like we’re inching closer and closer to that point where we can send non-astronaut folks into space–hopefully for pleasure.
With our global society grasping so readily at technology, it’s no wonder why it feels like we’re living in a science fiction story. I said at the beginning of this post that it feels like a dystopia with all the darkness surrounding us. Maybe that’s because I’ve paid too much attention to the dark and not enough to the light.
So, despite all the bad, at least things are looking up in some departments, right? The economy might have taken a dive, but other things are rising up from the ashes. Ten years ago I never would have thought that I would have the opportunity to see space with my own eyes; now it looks like it might actually happen within my lifetime. Should I be happy for our successes or concerned over our failures? Can you be both?

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Florida studying science fiction, postcolonialism, posthumanism, and fantasy.

7 thoughts on “Living Science Fiction

  1. I’m unhappy over both. Yay me!

    Humanity could do with stepping back from technology a little. Kids need to do something other than play computer games once in a while. Adults need to stop relying on fragile computers to hold all their information. You need to stop using Twitter so much. :p

  2. Perhaps you should consider doing more than simply following along with the majority, yourself. Ignorance has no place in a writer’s life, mind, or writing, and using comments such as “that’s so gay” is ignorant at best. I would say “racist” at worst, but I can’t, because we aren’t a “race”, but the sentiment is the same.

  3. I think you misunderstood the point of my post. I wasn’t saying that I continue to use those words, but that I had for so long used such phrases and only in the last 10 years been put in a position to consider them. Read my blog before you assume that I am some sort of anti-gay bigot. If anything, I am one of the most intense supporters of gay rights you will ever meet.

  4. Humanity could do with stepping back from technology a little.

    I’m of two minds about that. I’m a science (and science fiction) lover but I’m also a big fan of Thoreau and have a strong attraction to the voluntary simplicity movement.

  5. David: I generally agree. Kim Stanley Robinson just did a talk with Karen Joy Fowler here at UCSC and he talked quite a bit about Thoreau. I think we could do with bringing a bit of the old into our lives. We are too dependent on certain forms of technology, myself included.

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