There is a huge link between politics and science fiction. Science fiction is based on political decisions and how they impact life. For instance, utopia is a good world, with extensive developments, and citizens are happy and hopeful. In the dystopian world, things are their exact opposite, with citizens being disillusioned and facing a brutal world brought about by wars, economic problems and environmental damnation. Both utopia and dystopia are brought about by decisions of our political leaders.
Science fiction is certainly based on the contemporary political issues in the world such as wars, economics, and technology as well as environmental issues. Science fiction forces us to think about future economic and societal issues, and how it might impact on our lives. It introduces questions into our homes and schools and perhaps ultimately into the political arena. For instance, Mahrab notes the genre of science fiction called solar punk has created a lot of awareness about climate change. It presents the future as scary and grim, to the extent that most people would wish for a positive outcome. It is the wish that science fiction arouses in the population feelings and conversations which informs their decisions, including political decisions. Hence, there is no way that science fiction can be divorced from the political decisions, because in the first instance, science fiction is a product of politics. It is based and shaped on the existing political world. Meadows notes science fiction has always been political in nature, and provides a platform in which fans of this genre can discuss their viewpoints without regards to distance or the preferences of gatekeepers.
Science fiction is also important because of the influence it may have on political issues in the country. Mahrab notes science fiction tends to be loved by people who have received higher education, and who tends to be politically active. This is important because those who are politically active tend to be involved in activism around various courses as well as voting. Somin takes this point further by noting science fiction has the ability to shape society’s perspective on what the future might look like, especially because it is a genre loved by young, educated and impressionable and politically active audience. Owing to the fact that education opportunities are opening up for majority of the population, it means that young voters are likely to play a key role in the political life of United States and United Kingdom where science fiction is hugely popular (Somin).
Aside from the future, science fiction also helps us appreciate the political decisions that our leaders have taken. Some of the works take the audience to the specific periods or events in history. It places the position taken in the limelight and allows the audience to appreciate how difficult a particular position was, or what would have happened had a given position not being taken. Therefore, science fiction is not necessarily based on the future, but can also be based on present or past political situations, and help the audience see those situations in a different light. For instance, “Battlestar Galactica” is a series that is predicted on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (Mahrab). It illuminates the political decisions that President George Bush had to take with regards to erratic civilian airplanes in the air, and therefore helps us to empathize with such difficult political decisions. It puts the situations under which the president had to take decisions into context and therefore help us have a better understanding.
- Mahrab, B.A. The Politics of Science Fiction: Kim Stanley Robinson and the Rise of Solarpunk. 2016. web.
- Meadows, Foz. Politics Belong in Science Fiction. 2014. web.
- Somin, Ilya. Libertarianism and science fiction. 2011. web.