TECH+knowledge+Y – What is science fiction?


(upbeat music) – Most people will tell you
there are as many definitions of science fiction as there
are fans of the genre, and that’s mostly true, but it’s also true that within the science fiction community,
authors, and artists, and editors, and scholars,
and fans have a kind of specialized or secret language almost that we use to broadly
categorize different types of science fiction. And today, I wanna teach
you three key terms associated with that secret language. The first is SF, which is a
shortening of science fiction. SF might be something
like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, or even the recent television
series Battlestar Galactica. This is the best of the
best science fiction. It extrapolates carefully
from contemporary sciences and technologies, it thinks
about their impact on society, and it makes us wonder about our place in the universe as humans. The next kind of science
fiction we talk about is sci-fi. Sci-fi is a term that’s probably
familiar to most of you, but it does have a specialized use within the science fiction community. You wanna think about
something like Star Wars. These are stories that are still full of science and technology, but that perhaps don’t think
very much about its impact on society, or that celebrate
action and adventure over creative and critical collaboration. And finally, the last term I wanna talk with you about is skiffy. Skiffy is a corruption of sci-fi, and frankly, it’s used
to talk about the worst of the worst. So, this is science fiction
that really doesn’t speculate at all about the future,
science, and technology, and it never wonders
about the place of humans in the universe. We can sum up skiffy
in one word, Sharknado. Now, learning all these
terms is a lot of fun and they make for great
cocktail party conversation, but it’s also kind of serious fun. Science fiction is a global
language that allows us to communicate the experience
of science and technology across centuries,
continents, and cultures, and that aligns very well
with the Georgia Tech strategic mission to produce graduates who are global citizens. If we can read each
other’s science fiction and begin to learn about
each other’s hopes and fears concerning the future, we take the first important
steps towards building truly new and better futures for all.

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