Is There Room for Science Fiction When We're Living in Science Fact?

26 March 2019

A guest post by Kathryn Evans, author of Beauty Sleep!

Science is all around us, all the time, and it has all the best stories - from killer mice to potential life on distant planets. Our phones know where we are going before we do. We can get a health diagnosis over the Internet and fight wars from a cabin miles from the combat zone.  We live in science FACT, so is there still a place for Science Fiction? 

Living in a world where science moves at the pace it does, makes it all the more relevant in fiction. Though it’s hard to imagine something that hasn’t yet been invented - we’re even nudging the reality of time travel- we can be innovative in how we use science to give power to the stories we’re telling.

In my new book, Beauty Sleep, I wanted to look at how social media affects the way we view ourselves and our bodies, and how that affects our mental health. I also wanted to tell a cracking thriller of a story with interesting characters and relationships. So I froze my main character in 1986 and revived her forty-ish years later.

Laura is a pre-tech girl in a future world - it’s familiar to us but it’s not familiar to her so we see it through her eyes. That new lens provides a new perspective. Plus I could play with the relationship dynamic of having a best friend who is suddenly many years older than my protagonist.  I could play a little bit with what the future might hold for us, as well, all if we continue on the path we’re on.  How far will we go to look like our filtered photographs? Will we all start to look the same? Will parents be expected to track their children’s whereabouts? 

The resurgence of science fiction in hit shows such as Black Mirror are evidence that, no matter how innovative our daily lives, science fiction is here to stay.