Advancement of Technology and Science and Its Influence On Science Fiction Novels




Advancement of Technology and Science and Its Influence On Science Fiction Novels


The rapid pace of technology and the advancement of scientific
understanding in the past one hundred years are at the backbone for the
distinctly twentieth century genre -- science fiction. Such rapid advancement
in these fields of technology have opened up literally worlds of possibilities
for the future. One hundred years ago the possibility of simply flying from
city to city may have seemed nothing more than a distant futuristic dream to
most. While a mere sixty years later the impossible was achieved -- a human
being on the moon. Since technology has brought as much change as it has in the
past one hundred years the next hundred should be entirely incomprehendable to
us. Who knows what to expect? "The modern discoveries and applications of
Science throw deeply into the shade the old romances and fanciful legends of our
boyhood" (James 8) observes James. Technology has made what was once thought
impossible, plausible and weather or not technology is directly incorporated
into a science fi ction story as an obvious vehicle, the author knows that it is
always present in the mind of the reader. It is this plausablilty of what
conventionally should not be acceptable that has led to science fiction\'s
increasing popularity over the years. As James explains, "much sf is concerned
with the future and with the possibilities presented by scientific and
technological change" (James 3). Truly, humans exploring and even colonizing
other worlds, the plot of many a science fiction novel, has to many become
inevitable. The successful series of Apollo moon landings in the 1960\'s and
the knowledge that we already possess the technology to send humans to other
worlds leads many to believe that it is only a matter of time. Even such a
notably respectable news source as Newsweek has detailed the future maned
missions to Mars (September, 23 1996). When I look forward to the future I can
hardly imagine the changes that will occur as a result of new discoveries in
science and new technologies. With so m any possibilities for the future,
science fiction is able to capitalizes on this by showing the audience entirely
new worlds and alternatives to our own.

Technology presented in science fiction stories most commonly serves a
very important role in the stories plausablilty to the audience. While this
does not mean that technology is necessarily the focus of such stories it is
often used as the vehicle for which such alternative and wonderous events occur.
Without the advanced spaceship how could the Segnauts have gotten to the planet
Zorgon and defeated the evil empire? In 2064, or Thereabouts by David R. Bunch,
the robotic men and the mechanical world play a secondary role to the importance
of the human traits these half man half machines possess. Despite the fact that
these people have become converted into a part robot for increased strength and,
apparently, longer life the mind still searches for something that technology
apparently has not solved -- the meaning of life. The initial recognition by
the reader that technology in our time and place is continuously expanding
allows for plausibility such a strange and bizarre plot to occur. In Pohl\'s Day
Million the seemingly strange world set one thousand years in the future is so
completely different from earth today because of technological changes in
virtually everything -- even the act of love, which is at the center of the
story, has become completely alien to the audience. (Pohl 166) Despite the
fact that the technology presented may seem strange and unusual to the audience
Pohl draws his ideas directly from modern day science and technology. Gene
manipulation and machine interaction with the body are all currently being
researched and used in the science labs and hospitals. In the case of Day
Million such technology shapes how these people live and interact with one
another.

Science fiction in many cases attempts to better our understanding of
our own world and our surroundings by using technology not as a form of
advancement, as it is commonly seen in many stories, but as a form of
destruction and danger. James states, "You might note that only on sf shelves
are there serious fictional discussions of the possibilities of survival after
nuclear warfare or the consequences of the greenhouse effect or of
overpopulating or of the possible dire consequences of genetic engineering"
(James 3). Truly, the ‘mad scientist\' character itself was spawned from science
fiction. Earth by David Brin deals with a miniature