Visiting the Science Fiction exhibit at the British Library is one of my favorite parts of the trip thus far. The exhibit seemed to have an agenda: proving the worth of science fiction. It explored the different sub-genres of science fiction in how it connects with real life. One of my favorite quotes was from China Mieville, who wrote one of the books we read for this summer course. He said that there is something unreal about reality, and that science fiction allows him to explore this concept much better than realism does.

Reading 1984 was one of the pivotal moments of high school. Orwell’s imagined world, based on our own, opened my eyes to aspects of society that I’d never considered before. I firmly believe that science fiction is an excellent way to explore social and culture concepts. We understand things in terms of their opposites; looking at the societies found within science fiction novels can help us understand our own.

In some ways, Shakespeare’s plays are a kind of fantasy. In Midsummer there are fairies, and in Much Ado About Nothing, there is a society that barely resembles our own. Yes, that society is our ancestor, but to the majority of the population, Shakespeare’s time is as real as Captain Kirk’s. In a sense, all of our stories and narratives have an unreal element, which is what allows us to see our reality more clearly. I think that discounting a genre because it is popular is as foolish as calling the lower classes more sinful because they are poor. My feminist roots grew from reading science fiction and fantasy. Reading of worlds where women had their place beside men led me to expect the same in this world. For academia to ignore it is to ignore part of human nature.

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