In some ways, all pieces of fiction are attempts to understand, shed light upon or otherwise process current ideas and events. Science Fictional ideas, tropes or concepts are merely the latest in a history of tools that seem to express, enlighten or otherwise enrich our responses to the world. If you read something like Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, you see the ways that certain ideas and structures resurface repeatedly in the stories that humanity tells itself about itself. The hero quest, the return from the afterlife, the secondary reality, all return again and again to make sense of current events. Science Fiction memes aren’t much different. They are an apparatus to make understandable events, or to carry out operations on events that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. Being responses to events, occurrences or theories, they are then reapplied to new settings, producing new interpretations or ideas.
And then, from the Archeology of the Future blog:
…Archeology of the Future advances the idea that rather than Science Fiction ideas being more prevalent now in popular culture than in the past , it is that Science Fiction fandom is more watchful and ready to cry foul when the wolf of popular culture snatches an idea from the cosy enclosure labelled SciFi.
The post is a good read and shows one of the reasons I like science fiction besides the stories themselves: it’s fun to talk about the genre. The writer, Mark Brown, offers one of those left-field points of view that makes you take pause and rethink what you believe about sf. For all that we sf fans bemoan science fiction’s “low status”, could it be because we just won’t let it go? Food for thought…