Cowan Palace: Sci-Fi Thoughts and Imagining the Future

This week Ashley Cowan shares some feelings about the sci-fi genre.

Looking for an escape from reality? In a land where anything is imaginable? You’re not alone!

Theater Pub’s newest production THE PUB FROM ANOTHER WORLD offers you a chance to experience the infinite possibilities of science fiction with the timeless art of the theater. Which, let’s be honest, is rather rare as the impressive imaginings of the genre can be hard to capture live on stage. But this is Theater Pub we’re talking about here! It’s full of magic! And beer!

But seriously, what’s up with sci-fi? And why is it worth exploring? Well, for one thing, it’s relatively tricky to properly outline as the number of subgenres associated with science fiction continue to populate. But just to give you some food for thought, here are six reasons sci-fi is important:

1.) It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment science fiction became the category it is today. Some believe it grew out of the scientific revolution while there are those who consider it a result of human history as it’s often used as a reflection to explore a variety of cultural and social progressions.

2.) It’s everywhere. It’s not just in literature anymore; pop culture has developed sci-fi into a genre found in television, movies, video games, and even theater. Science fiction provides a creative outlet to further question our human relationship with the world surrounding us. As scientific developments continue to boggle the minds of citizens everywhere, the sci-fi genre grows as well.

3.) Science fiction opens a door of opportunity. It allows us to explore the inquisitive nature of “what if”. Often operating in accordance to basic scientific rules, works of this genre take the principles one step further by incorporating imagined technologies. What is potentially exciting (and possibly terrifying) is our fictional tales of today may be the scientific realities of tomorrow.

4.) Beyond science though, the root of the genre lies within the human condition and putting it under a different microscope. Facing unexpected tribulations is something we can all relate to; and the stories involving people just like us who are forced to survive the complicated twists and turns of solid science fictional antics often prove to be the most rewarding as they provide a glimpse into what may be next for mankind and how we’ll handle it. Science fiction has become a means of expressing feelings of change and a tool for thinking about the future. We can envision a world that may be different than our existing one by meeting current challenges and honestly identifying our opinions on them.

5.) Thinking about the development of science fiction, it’s interesting to imagine what the genre meant throughout various points in history. As we’ve used storytelling as a means to connect for centuries, the imaginings before modern advancements like electricity would be vastly different that those of today. Some say science fiction is a product of ancient mythology and it’s a fascinating concept to envision what impossibilities that once filled their thoughts have become a part of our day-to-day life.

6.) Have I mentioned the subgenres? They are endless! Here are just six of the big ones:

·      Hard Science Fiction: it’s the most hardcore of the group using a base of the smarty pant sciences like chemistry and astrophysics.

·      Soft (and Social) Science Fiction: this one deals in more psychological elements. Usually, the main focus is on the emotional content of the characters.

·      Time Travel: if you were a kid in the Cowan household then this one may be for you. We were raised on The Time Machine (both the book and film), which is said to be where the term “time machine” originated. Since then though, it’s become incredibly popular as a means to explore the concept of our actions in relation to their true consequences.

·      Alternate Reality: this category operates on the idea that perhaps our lives are comprised of several different possible existences and allowing those to play out in altered ways can yield endless stories.

·      Fantasy: this magical subgenre can be a big one as it combines elements of supernatural powers with some of the more common sci-fi themes.

·      Horror: made for those who appreciate gore and a good jolt. Sometimes graphic, sometimes frightening, this subgenre can assume a variety of scary stories.

As you can see, science fiction is a pretty big deal. So unless you have a time machine ready, mark those calendars for this Monday, May 20, at 8pm and watch some of these ideas come to life. You’ll laugh, you’ll be amazed, and you’ll get to escape to a place where monsters can enjoy a drink with a unicorn, superheroes and scientists can share a laugh, and where anything is possible.

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