Science fiction, in many instances, is a glorified morality tale: one of good against evil. Of course, us – human beings – are invariably the ‘good guys’, boldly going … with all those nasty aliens out to get us.

But let’s be honest: could the aliens really outdo us in the ‘evil badness’ stakes? I think we’ve got that angle covered.

Science fiction reflects the incessant desire of human beings to escape. It is essentially saying, “We’ve given up on this world. It is a lost cause. Maybe we can make things work in some distant galaxy …”

All of which emphasises that the creators of science fiction are deeply idealistic at heart: they are crying out for us to be heroic in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Which is fortunate, because if we look at how things are on Planet Earth there are no end of seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Can someone call in Buck Rogers? Never mind the 25th century, you are wanted right here, right now, mate.

But I fear that Buck won’t be answering the phone any time soon. Nor will Flash Gordon. Nor will Captain Kirk. I guess that just leaves us … eek.


The most wonderful thing about science fiction has been the imagination at the very heart of it. The idea, as human beings began to explore space, that no frontier was beyond us, for instance. Which reflected a more hopeful period for humanity, just after the Second World War.

In the 1950s and 1960s they imagined the wondrous things to come in the year 2000 …

The trouble is that we are still waiting for the year 2000 to come, and we will have awhile to wait, I fear. You can conceive the most spectacular future possible, but any change in actual human behaviour has always been torturously slow.

For great visions of the future to be realised they have to be aligned with the great mass of human behaviour. And the great mass of human behaviour, right now, is not aligned to any great vision of the future. Until it is, it will be more of the same.

Perhaps, only the aliens can save us …

© Phillip A. Klein March 2008

Published in: on March 17, 2008 at 10:32 am  Leave a Comment