Anyone who knows me well knows that the fantasy genre was my first love. From books like Harry Potter to films like Pan’s Labyrinth, I have loved fantasy in various forms since I was nine. However this year, I have learned to enjoy sci-fi almost as much as fantasy.
Until now, I used to avoid sci-fi. One reason was that I put all sci-fi into the “doom-and-gloom” box after a forced reading of George Orwell’s 1984 in high school creeped me out and bored me. The other reason was that I believed that sci-fi couldn’t entertain or relate to me as well as fantasy.
The thing that would start to crack my preconceived notions of sci-fi was the film Back to The Future. I saw it for the first time sometime between my first and second year of college, but it didn’t really sink in until last year. By this time, I was becoming aware of the large role technology was playing in my life.
I could read electronic books, find an entire community on the web, and carry hundreds of songs in a portable device! Technology was different from how it was ten years ago and I couldn’t help but imagine how it could evolve further. One memorable thought occurred when I went with my mom to pay an electric bill.
We had gone to the electric company’s drive thru, where there was a clear tube that would woosh the bills inside. As my mom placed the bill inside the tube, I said, “We need to teleport people like that, except without the tube.” My mom laughed and replied, “Like something from Back to The Future?” I told my mom yes as I thought of a car that teleported you instantly after you punched in an address and went up to certain speed limit.
By Christmas last year, I had said things like that so often that it caused me to receive the Back To The Future trilogy on DVD as a gift. Since it had been a while since I last saw the films, rewatching them during the holidays felt like watching them for the first time. After this, I made a New Year’s resolution to find one sci-fi book I could read without complaining.
Since I made that resolution, I have found not only books, but also sci-fi films and animated series I have enjoyed. My favorite books include Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed, Thelonius Legend’s Sins of The Father, and the anthology Steamfunk! Besides Back to The Future, other favorite films are Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, Jennifer Phang’s Advantageous, and Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim. Finally, my favorite animated series include Steven Universe and Cowboy Bebop.
In addition, I have a deeper appreciation for certain interests I already had before exploring sci-fi. The most impactful music I’ve heard is Janelle Monae’s Metropolis saga. In fact, I recently did a blog post about how the sci-fi aspect of Monae’s music relates to misfits like myself. Other things that I appreciate more include the animated series Static Shock, the television shows Power Rangers and Heroes, and the magical girl-mecha manga Magic Knight Rayearth.
Together, the sci-fi aspect of everything I have enjoyed so far have helped pinpoint specific aspects of sci-fi I enjoy, which include time-travel, giant robots, androids, and a little bit of superhero stuff. While I don’t love sci-fi enough to read a sci-fi series, I am now willing to give any interesting sci-fi media a chance. If it also happens to crossover with fantasy, then that’s even better.