Is Science Fiction Important?


Wanda and I just sent off a grant last week- besides being in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign, we are always looking for other outlets for funding! But in the world of documentary grant writing, there is a question that’s almost always asked: Why your film is an important film to make? What is this urgent issue that needs to be discussed right now?

I’ve struggled with the idea of why this documentary is “important”- because let’s be honest- time travel (and science fiction while we’re at it) is a “fun” topic to think about. You can lump it in as “fancifiul” or not rigorous in thought compared to more pressing issues like global warming, political dilemmas etc.

But ultimately, science fiction has value because it promotes an interest in science. 

Stephen Shankland/CNET
I got to see Neil Degrasse Tyson talk in Seattle earlier this month. He brought up this valid point about how talking about science and science fiction can really help make science a cultural priority, which in turn, inspires us to make technological advancements.Tyson believes that investing in science and education can strengthen a country; and the fact that the U.S. was one of the most prominent countries in the 20th century had a direct correlation to the scientific push that came during World War II. He believes that nowadays, the U.S. is hopelessly falling behind Europe, China, and other developing countries.Of course there’s a debate going on in the U.S. over what subjects should be taught the most, but teaching more science doesn’t have to mean teaching less art or philosophy. The beauty of science fiction is that it touches on all these things.

I get that science and science fiction are two completely different things- but if you look at the advances in science and technology, they are often preceded by descriptions in works of science fiction books and movies. And we shouldn’t forget that!
It lets us reflect upon our history, it allows us to take a step back and examine cultural issues from today, and it makes us think about the future. So yes, maybe time travel isn’t important, but science fiction and bringing up ideas in science fiction, is. I’m going to leave you with a sappy, inspirational quote now from my man Leonardo:
If you haven’t check it out yet, we’re still in the middle of our Kickstarter campaign! You can check it out here.