Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Social Advances in Science Fiction

The magic in science fiction writing comes not just in the technological advancements or newfangled gadgets that many writers use in their stories, but instead in the introduction of a world where societal norms that are too outrageous for today are "normal" for the day that is being written of. Robert Heinlein was a master of this form of science fiction. He was able to paint pictures of a society where sex in all it's manifestations was not a taboo subject for adults to talk about.

Master storytellers like Robert Heinlein knew what they were doing when they crafted their stories. They knew what they could and could not get away with, and even then they sometimes tried to get away with more than they could reasonably expect and their editors would call them out on it! They couldn't say certain things because they were not popular at the time and publishing houses are risk averse - meaning most of them prefer not to print smut and sell it to everyone from high society on down to John Q. Public. My question is - what can we learn as a society from what masters such as Heinlein wrote of in their future - our Present? There is a lot that can be learned and I will dive into different topics each month. Subscribe if you enjoy my posts by entering your e-mail to the right. I would love to have you along for the ride!

Best Regards,

Dan Reed

Syn-thetic Family

What's this about a Synthetic Family?

Let me tell you a story about a story.

In Robert Heinlein's book, "Friday" - he envisioned a world where test tube humans were created in a lab with genetic modifications to make them smarter, faster, and stronger. They were raised differently from normal humans, making them of course a second-class person, albeit with first class skills and abilities. Our Heroine Friday is one that worked for "The Company" as a courier. Sounds a lot like the CIA to me, but it's science fiction - have to draw comparisons, not come out and say things. Friday hid the fact that she was a test-tube baby from almost everyone except the Company. She married into an S-Class Marriage, a form of plural marriage, usually run by a matriarch. Some people thought that the "s" stood for Sex, but actually it stood for things such as Security, Sociability, sanctuary, and safety. In fact, Sex is probably the least of what the S in S-class family stands for - there being no point in forming an S-class family just for Sex since it's so easy to get.

I find the idea of an S-Class family very invigorating. Plural marriages are frowned upon in the United States mostly for religious reasons and just like Gay marriage are illegal in most, if not all states. Heinlein also referred to the S-Class marriage as a "Synthetic Family". If gay marriage is to become normal, which many people in the United States hope to see someday - should not then there be the option and opportunity for residents of the United States of America to create (S)ynthetic Families for mutual (s)ecurity, (s)upport, (s)uccor and (s)afety?

I see no reason why not.