I Dream of Spaceships

ScienceFictionStories1We all have that friend (or perhaps, we are that friend) that laments being born in the wrong century. They ache for the simplicity of the past, for the castles and the royals who kept them, for the revolutions, for the art, the blues, the poetry and the uncertainty. “I was born too late,” they say, describing their passion for their chosen history, “I missed out on what I love”.

Me? I was born too early.

My passion for all things futuristic was sparked at a young age, by my father. A child of the 80s, I grew up with puppets. Captain Scarlet, Thunderbirds, Stingray – children’s shows about men and women fighting aliens, driving spacecraft and living under the ocean. These characters got to see and do things beyond what I knew was possible at the time – created by people who could imagine things so much greater than what they could see.

A few years later saw me sitting with dad while he watched Star Trek TNG, and I was lost. The future of humanity was so much more exciting than going to school or playing with friends. Watching the crew of the Enterprise encounter new worlds was amazing. Hiding behind a cushion when the sixth Doctor encountered men made of melted plastic was terrifying. There was so much more to see in these places then there was outside our front door. So that’s where I stayed, inside where I could watch and learn and imagine.

Back in the present, things haven’t changed much. I’m currently bouncing in my seat, waiting for a Capcom game called Remember Me to unlock on steam. The game tells the story of a woman who lives in Neo-Paris, 2084, a time where memories can be bought and sold thanks to new technology.

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The Day the Wires Came Down, by ornicar.

I make no secret of my love for new tech, and as I’ve grown older it’s become more than simply wanting to watch, read about and play as characters living in different versions of the future. I’m subscribed to Focus, Wired and The New Scientist. I want to write about the places discussed by the futurists in these magazines. I want to know how we went from seeing props of electronic devices on Star Trek to having Kindles and iPads. I want to know how close we are to the artificial limbs the people of Deus Ex were addicted to maintaining.

Carol Pinchefsky wrote a fantastic article in 2006 which debates whether or not certain personality types are predisposed to their love of this genre. According to a psychologist she cites called Paul Allen, science fiction attracts the critical thinkers of the personality scale. Hardly a surprise, but it does fit (I’m an INTJ, for the record) and it does go a little into explaining why certain people love it while others see it as a put off. Or perhaps it’s simply that my introversion makes me a little more sympathetic to all those alien races people think up.

Whatever the reason, I often find myself depressed that I’ll never be able to become an engineer on the Enterprise or hang out in the TARDIS with the Doctor. Still nevermind, that’s what my imagination is for!

In the spirit of good fun, why not tell me what your personality type and favourite genre is? It’ll make the time go faster while I wait for that damn game to come out. :)

6 thoughts on “I Dream of Spaceships

  1. I’m an INFP, though I don’t put much stock in the whole Myers-Briggs thing.

    I quite like science fiction stories as long as they stick to their own rules. I don’t like it when the story simply throws technology or made-up science at the plot until it resolves itself (or gets trampled down in the confusion) (I’m looking at you, Doctor Who). I also don’t like it when a story breaks its own rules for the sake of a happy, appeals-to-the-masses ending (I could write for days about how much I don’t like the film version of Minority Report (the short story is great though and Philip K Dick is probably my favourite sci-fi author).

    My bookshelf is currently categorized into the sections “Stephen King novels” and “other”, so I suppose my favourite genre is horror, though I’m not a fan of horror films.

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    • Hang on a second, are you saying I am not the special snowflake the Myers-Briggs test says I am? Pfft.

      I think that goes for any genre, following it’s own rules, but in sci-fi you’re far more likely to be picked apart. (Doctor Who is terrible sometimes and Moffat is an arse, but the excuse will always be that it is a ‘kids show’, unfortunately).

      Don’t read a lot of horror, have to say. The only Stephen King novels I’ve read are The Dark Tower series, and that was over ten years ago but I remember them being amazing. I’m not too bad watching horror, but somehow I find it more scary to read.

      Also clearly the best films are the terrible sci-fi/action ones, like The Core. The ridiculousness makes me happy.

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  2. The only era I am really intrigued by is Edwardian or the 1920s. Can’t explain the appeal, but it’s quite strong. I have fantasies of time travel to the 16th century or thereabouts — but,oops, anesthesia and penicillin didn’t exist and The Plague did. Bummer!

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    • Yeah, I could see that being a slight problem! I don’t know what it is really, but I never imagine going back in time. The 1920s though, I wouldn’t mind being able to wear some of those dresses! (May have been watching too much Downton Abbey).

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