For today’s Sci-Fi Concept Tuesday (still working on a better name), I wanted to talk about the sci-fi theme of exploration.
At first I was going to write only about space exploration, since I’m at a point on My List where all the novels seems to be dealing with it. Red Planet, Space Cadet, The Martian Chronicles, are all about space travel.
But then I thought back to some of the earlier novels I read, and I realized that the concept of exploration applies to our own planet as well. In Journey to the Center of the Earth, Professor Otto Liedenbrock is determined to explore the very depths of our planet. And in Lost Horizon, Conway et al are taken to a lamasery in Tibet.
Science fiction is the perfect genre to tackle an exploration story, I think. The very essence of exploration is discovering the unknown and making it known, which is what the best science fiction does. It’s answering our questions and satisfying our curiosity. And this applies to dear planet Earth as well as to the rest of the cosmos.
Sci-fi can also inspire us to explore in real life! Which I think is really exciting. We have a long way to go before space travel is cheap enough that we can explore the entire Solar System, but a human trip to Mars is not that far off.
As Neil deGrasse Tyson says:
“I am proud to be part of a species where a subset of its members willingly put their lives at risk to push the boundaries of our existence. They were the first to leave the cave and see what was on the other side of the cliff-face. They were the first to scale the mountains. They were the first to sail the oceans. They were the first to touch the sky. And they will be the first to land on Mars.”