Surprised By Science Fiction

Ronald D. Moore’s update of Battlestar Galactica is the go-to show for many who like science fiction and many who usually won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. During the run of the series, people in the latter group have written articles, blog posts, or reviews expressing shock that they actually like a science fiction series. Well, they like this particular science fiction series — much to their confusion. Meanwhile, that other science fiction, that’s still weird/scary/full of actors covered in prosthetics, and not worth their time.

Why this blinking and stunned reaction to the idea that science fiction can offer layered, brilliant drama, that it can be really good?

You’d think the word would’ve gotten out about science fiction by now. Yet a compelling piece of science fiction with universal appeal (prosthetics or not) often gets treated as if it were the one saving grace of a tattered genre. A lot of the reactions to those works, instead of blowing away the preconceptions, seems to instead reinforce them – oh, this one’s not like other science fiction. This one’s actually cool!

How much more cool does the genre have to offer up before this stops becoming an event? It shouldn’t be news that science fiction is entertaining and resonant.

Battlestar Galactica is one example of terrific science fiction. So are a lot of other series I could mention right now (and probably geek out over, with a lot of hand gestures). Sometimes, as with Battlestar Galactica, one particular work happens to become an ambassador. Why so much doubt that there’s more where that came from? The ambassador’s an introduction, not the final word.


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