We 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.
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. :)