Fake Sci-Fi

An extremely pervasive flaw in sci-fi worldbuilding: adding advanced technology, but not accounting for how it would change society. In fact every popular sci-fi universe does this to some extent. Let's look at Star Wars for an example.

The Star Wars universe features interplanetary travel, ships that can engage in cool-looking space battles, robots that are apparently people, and human cloning. But how has their way of life changed? It hasn't. There are still farmers, childbirth pains haven't been solved, wars are still fought with infantry, and in general, they seem to have less automation than we do now.

Here are some things that could probably be done given the other technologies we see:

This is actually such a big obstacle that I can't think of a single sci-fi story that's really solved it.

In my teens, I came up with a story (that I wrote 7 chapters of) with a workable but kludgy solution: the human soul's "death detector" is a lot touchier than it is in real life, and so any sort of tampering with someone's brain causes their soul to leave their body (death) permanently. That solved the problems of elimination of pain and genetic enhancement. As for computers implanted in people's brains, they couldn't actually be implanted for that reason, but they did have little wrist-mounted devices called companions that were a vestige of it.

But that was still really unsatisfying.

I think there are good ways to do this by embracing the implications of advanced technology and exploring the conflicts that would still arise, but they're anything but obvious.

This page was last modified 2022-01-03 16:57 (UTC).


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