"At times I think my coffee and tea addictions truly drive my artistic energy. It’s a small sacrifice for the greater good."

Science Fiction makes people think

Posted: 3/22/10 | Written by Jeannie | Labels: , ,

I’m always fascinated by science fiction writers and their vision for the future. Most of the time they are spot on, and the few times when their ideas are so far out there, it inspires those to reach higher and farther than what is expected. So for this post I bring you two quotes I found while re-reading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Remember this book was published (in shorter form) in 1950

“If the government is inefficient, topheavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it. Peace, Montag. Give the people contest they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, They’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change. Don’t give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with.” (pg 61.)

Remind you of anything?

“…the architects got rid of the front porches because they didn’t look well. […] that was merely rationalizing it; the real reason, hidden underneath, […] they didn’t want people sitting like that, doing nothing, rocking, talking; that was the wrong kind of social life. People talked too much. And they had time to think. So they ran off with the porches.” (pg. 63)
I like the second one more for the fact that people don’t think that often. Not by choice, but their heads are full of music, TV, and movies. We don’t have the time to talk, to think. And without that social interaction, what are we doing with our lives?

5 replies:

  1. Susan Reep said...
  2. F451 was prophetic - the parlor screens with which people could have meaningless interactions? How close are we to that? I rarely see someone with an iPod without thinking the the seashell radios - always filling your ears with something so you don't have time to think. We're getting there.

  3. Jeannie said...
  4. @Susan
    I completely agree. That's one of the main points in my novel "Chicago is Dead" all the tech that we have how do we know when we are actually living.

    The parlor screens are brilliant. In fact they remind me of the LED TV's that integrate into windows. Yes, F451 very prophetic which most SF is.

  5. Dave said...
  6. I love it when a good story makes you stop and think about its implications, especially when it's an SF story.

    I love it even more when the author doesn't hit you over the head with his/her political/social views, but instead lets the writing speak for itself.

    Telling the reader something is one thing. Letting them figure it out from what you've presented is all the better.

  7. Anonymous said...
  8. I love stories that make you think & are though provoking! But sadly, most people don't want to think; they just want to go on living their lives as is.

  9. Jeannie said...
  10. It is quite sad. I've even heard it said that there is no more "great" science fiction because we are living it. It's sad when we stop thinking.

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